Evotech Stevens Honda on track for Red Bull championship glory
The Summer Bank Holiday weekend always is ideal for racing, since the Monday after is a holiday and gives people a rare opportunity to relax. Not so for Evotech Stevens Honda though, as the team found itself in Shropshire yet again for the penultimate round of the Red Bull Pro Nationals championship held at Hawkstone Park.
With extreme weather forecast on Saturday, the team got to work with two great qualifying session results, Joe Bamfield qualifying on pole and Jordan Divall a second behind in fifth.
Albeit off to a good start in the first race and continuing the run in the second, Divall experienced problems later on during the weekend, dropping back and losing touch with the frontrunners, especially once the track became what Hawkstone is famous for, tough. Nonetheless, the first two races were enough proof that Divall has the talent to be at the front, battling with class leader Jake Millward for control. Much to Divall’s dismay, his last race performance cost him a podium position, ending the day in seventh overall.
For Bamfield, the races themselves didn’t go much to plan either. Second in the first and third in the second race on Saturday, things unravelled in the third after a cloud burst stopped him in his tracks for a tenth place. Track conditions much tougher on Sunday, Bamfield was forced to work his way forward in both races after some early-stage crashes, ending in fourth and eighth for a fifth overall.
Sunday also featured the Pro class, in which Neville Bradshaw delivered a stellar performance. Third off the start in the first race, Bradshaw ended the race one position up. In the second race he turned up the pressure even more, taking the lead in the early stages of the race and taking the win. Unfortunately, his position in the first race precluded him from taking the overall win, rather having to make do with second overall on the day.
Commented team principal Matt Hutchins: “It’s been a good weekend, Joe getting in there in fifth place is his best result of the year, he had some good starts and rode really well. Jordan’s made a few mistakes this weekend which dropped him down on the overall, which is a bit disappointing for him. We also had a really good weekend with Neville with a second overall, and extending the championship lead slightly as well, which helps us going into the last round.”
Joe Bamfield (#54): Saturday was good, I qualified pole and got a good start for the first and second race, where I ended second and third. In the third race I crashed and got back to tenth I think. The radiator was bent and I struggled around the corners. The fourth race I crashed again, came from last to fourth, which was good, and in the last race I had a really bad start, crashed twice and managed to get back to I think eighth, so not too happy with it because I got a bad overall.
Jordan Divall (#63): On Saturday in the first race I was fourth, and in the second one I was leading the race until I was passed on the second-last lap, and in the final race I lost my goggles on the first lap and ended sixth. Today was just terrible from the start, in the first race I got a good start but ended ninth and in this one I just rode really badly.
Neville Bradshaw (#272): It was a decent day, in the first race I didn’t have a good start and came back to third, I had a good race with Lenoir and Irwin, and in the second race I started a bit better, and passed quite a few guys in the first lap and made some good moves. Then Irwin made a mistake and I got into the lead and got a good gap. I put some hard laps down to increase the gap and then just cruised to the end. It’s good for the championship and good for the points.
Hard day’s work for a Maxxis sixth at Langrish for Evotech Stevens Honda
Hot on the heels of the second-last round of the Red Bull Pro Nationals at Hawkstone Park, Evotech Stevens Honda returned to Hampshire for the penultimate round of the Maxxis British Motocross Championship. With Jordan Divall not feeling well, it was down to Joe Bamfield and Neville Bradshaw to bring home the glory for the team at the stunning hillside track at Langrish.
Qualifying started with an eighth for Bradshaw, a position he improved on by one place in the super-pole, whereas Bamfield found himself putting in the fourth-fastest time in the MXY2 class.
Bradshaw had his work cut out for him. With a bad start in mid-pack, the South African worked hard to gain a position every lap. By mid-race, he was back in the top ten in eighth, but was unable to progress much further after running into strong resistance from fellow Honda rider Nicolas Aubin. The second race got off the start much better. In sixth off the start, Bradshaw found himself battling for his position with championship leader Mel Pocock and Aubin again, all the while keeping rival Lenoir in check. Seventh place was the end result.
The third race again was a nightmare of a start for Bradshaw. In mid-pack again, he made rapid progress early on but then had to work even harder to pass Yamaha-mounted rival Graeme Irwin, a battle that rewarded him with a seventh place, and a sixth overall on the day.
For Bamfield, the first race was a mess. A bad start was compounded by a crash soon after, leaving Bamfield in dead last, and having to work his way forward again. Relentlessly pursuing his rivals, Bamfield leapfrogged up the pack, returning to the top fifteen with five minutes left on the clock. With two laps to go, Bamfield moved up into twelfth, from where he was not able to make much more progress. The second race was a vast improvement. Starting in seventh, Bamfield found himself making more modest progress with the pace much faster than in the first race. Nonetheless, he was able to make a last-lap move on one last rival to end the race in fourth for a seventh overall on the day.
Commented team principal Matt Hutchins: “I’m really pleased with the speed that Joe has shown today. He has been working hard over the last few months and it’s starting to pay off now. We will work on his starts now and I’m sure we will then see him run consistently at the front. Neville’s had another solid day and has shown some good speed. He’s now in third in the championship going into the last round which is great for the whole team.”
Joe Bamfield (#54): Qualifying was good, a fourth. First race was terrible. I had a bad start and crashed, but went from dead last back to twelfth. In the second race, I had a top ten start and worked my way up to fourth, which was ok.
Neville Bradshaw (#272): Today was a decent day; I managed sixth overall. My riding was really good and I had good speed. I struggled a bit with my starts in the first and last race, but I came through well, and maintained my third position in the championship with one round to go.