Bleary-eyed from a tough weekend at the 66th Motocross of Nations at Lommel, Route77energy MVR-D Honda made the last trek of the year to Little Silver just outside Exeter this past weekend. Although harsh weather was forecast, things changed in time to leave the hillside venue with perfect conditions for one last chance to make up some more points for both MX1 riders of the team.
Qualifying on Sunday morning saw Jason Dougan qualify in sixth with team-mate Gert Krestinov in eighth, positions that were unchanged after the super-pole.
Dougan’s first race was a roller-coaster ride. Downed at the start, he soon found himself just outside the points, but issues stemming from several more crashes needed a pitstop to rectify, which in turn dropped him back into the back of the pack. Determined to finish the race in the points, Dougan put everything he had into the race and leap-frogged his way to twentieth, then to sixteenth where he was unable to quite reach his rival in fifteenth as the chequered flag waved.
In the second race, order was restored with a great start in fifth. From here, Dougan found himself embroiled in a battle with returned class rival Brad Anderson, reeling him in but time once again running out for a fourth in the race. With the first two races tallied up, Dougan was still ninth overall, putting him through into the super-final race at the end of the day. But here things ended in disaster. First down in the first corner, and then, after a restart, caught up in a crash fest after the second corner, Dougan was forced to retire with a severely bruised hand, ending his race before he’d even gotten started, leaving him in twelfth overall on the day. All was not lost as Dougan moved up to eleventh in the championship.
For Krestinov, the day’s proceedings were entirely the opposite. Off the first race start in front of the majority of the pack, he was forced to settle into a steady rhythm, keeping at bay KTM’s Jamie Law for much of the race. A small opening cost him a position, ending the race in eighth. In the second race, a mid-pack start was soon followed up by a fast and furious chase during which rival after rival was picked off. With a third of the race to go, Krestinov re-entered the top ten, continuing to pick off rivals as he went, ending the second race in seventh for a comfortable seventh start in the super-final.
The super-final’s format and the restart set Krestinov up perfectly for a great start. Eighth around the first lap, he soon settled into a good rhythm and displaced Alex Snow for fourth, wedged between MX1 class champion Kevin Strijbos and MX2 title contender Mel Pocock. The fourth gained in this race together with the other two race results gave Krestinov a fourth overall on the day, confirming his third place in the championship.
Commented team principal Mark Chamberlain: “It’s been so-so in all honesty, but I’m glad everyone’s come through it ok, Gert secured third in the championship so he’s done his job, which we are really pleased about. Thank you to him and the team, the mechanics and everyone else who’s been involved. That’s been a solid year for him. And it’s been a mixed day for Jason, he’s been up and down, had a good second race but crashed out of the last one. He’s ok and in one piece, that’s the main thing. Now we just put our head down for 2013.”
Gert Krestinov (#37): I was eighth in practice, and in the first race I had some trouble with my goggles and I couldn’t see anything, so the goggles came off and I had to settle for eighth. The second race wasn’t all that special and I got a seventh. In the last race I got a really good start, had really good lines and was able to make some passes and get a fourth. I’m sad I didn’t get to pass Strijbos on the last lap, I had him in sight but he passed me back, but fourth was good enough and fourth overall as well. I’m really happy with the season.
Jason Dougan (#17): I went down a couple of times in the first moto and had to make a pit stop, but managed to salvage some points for sixteenth. I had an average start in the second race but came through to fourth and was happy with the way I was riding. In the last moto got wiped out in turn two and bashed myself and the bike up, so DNF. It’s definitely not what I hoped for today, roll on 2013!