Summer is nearly gone with the Late Summer Bank Holiday weekend rounding out August and bringing on September. However, that does not mean that hot summer racing action has been packed away for the year yet. Kawasaki Motors UK’s official team made the trek to the Welsh border this past weekend to participate in the penultimate round of the Red Bull Pro Nationals at Pontrilas, after which lone team rider Elliott Banks-Browne made the 150 mile journey further south to participate in the annual Ken Hall Trophy race in Hampshire.
But first things first. On Sunday morning, the team faced a very much condensed day which meant five races each for Jamie Smith and Kristian Whatley. Kristian qualified in first in the Open Two-Stroke, and eighth in the Red Bull Pro class, while Jamie qualified second in his 125 Two-Stroke session, and fourteenth in the Red Bull Pro. Elliott qualified behind Kristian in eighth.
Racing saw some fantastic battles between Kristian, 500cc-mounted Luke Hill and 250cc two-stroke veteran Mark Eastwood for the lead in the first two Open Two-Stroke races of the day, but the day’s doubled-up set of races left Kristian clawing for reserves in the final race, ending second, and winning the class day overall. In the 125A Two-Stroke races things were somewhat different. In the first, Jamie crashed twice just after the finish line, losing his kick starter and bump-starting his bike to end in fifteenth. In the second and third races it was a battle between Jamie, Jonathan Pettitt and Lloyd Morgan that had the spectators hanging over the fences. Jamie took victory in the second race, but as with Kristian, he had to concede the first and second places to his rivals in the third. He ended the day overall in fourth.
In the Red Bull Pro, things were once again completely different. Kristian ended the first race in eleventh and the second in seventh for a sixth overall in his class, but he admitted after the day was over that it had been one of the mentally and physically toughest days he’d ever faced. Jamie was run over by the entire mob in the first race after going down on the start corner, and had to concede defeat four laps later with a broken sub-frame and a sore back. The second race went somewhat better with Jamie ending the race in fourteenth, and the day overall in twelfth. Although Elliott only raced the Red Bull Pro class, he had a very tough time coming to grips with the circuit. With the track going from wet and grippy to almost concrete-like in places later in the day, he tightened up after a good start and ended in nineteenth in the first race. In the second race he had to concede defeat halfway through because he was simply not able to hang on to the bike anymore, ending the day in a very uncharacteristic twenty-first place.
Things looked very different for Elliott the next morning though. Having made the journey to Manor Farm in Hampshire for the annual Ken Hall Trophy, Elliott qualified in fifth in the midst of several World Championship regulars. The first of three races couldn’t have gone any better. A start in sixth soon turned into a battle for first with Stephen Sword while keeping Billy MacKenzie at bay. A bad start put paid to another battle up front in the second race, but early progress put Elliott in seventh for the beginning and the end of the race. Knowing that only a top three would do to end on the podium, Elliott concentrated on his start again, coming around in third after the first lap. He remained in third to the end, keeping Scott Columb at bay while trying to close the distance on Martin Barr ahead. The result was a second overall behind Stephen Sword, giving the weekend a good closing and putting his less-than-stellar performance the day before behind him.
With most championships coming to a close in September, the team looks forward to the next month of action. The team will race at Whitby this coming weekend for the final round of the British Masters Motocross Championship.