Injury and illness during the opening couple of rounds of the Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championship made for a dramatic start to the 2012 campaign for Maxxis Henderson LPE Kawasaki, the official Kawasaki UK motocross outfit, and Rob Hooper's Maxxis-sponsored Apico Suzuki team.
At Maxxis Henderson LPE Kawasaki former British Under-21 Motocross Champion Ray Rowson had to pull out of the season opener at the FatCat Moto Parc near Doncaster due to illness and then broke his leg during a crash at the second round, while Maxxis Apico Suzuki's Lewis Gregory had to miss round one due to injury. On the up side Martin Barr, whose signing was a key strategic move for Maxxis Henderson LPE Kawasaki owner Steve James, claimed a podium.
James has set his sights on achieving that elusive British Championship win, so there were smiles all round when Barr rode doggedly to clinch a superb third place after scoring solid seventh and fifth place finishes at round one. In the final moto the Northern Irishman made a storming start and then caught the leading trio to end the day on a high note.
In the highly competitive MX2 Class the FatCat Moto Parc's sand circuit proved a tough test for Barr's team mate Connor Walkley, who battled hard to make up ground after poor starts and finished in overall 17th, while Rowson, whose energy was sapped by a virus, reluctantly had to call it a day.
Round two at Canada Heights in Kent saw both Walkley and Gregory make good progress. Looking much more at home, Connor went on to post a career best seventh place in the Maxxis series, putting him seventh overall and moving him into 12th in the MX2 Class standings. Meanwhile, Gregory, competing in the MX1 Class on a Suzuki RM-Z450, rode well on his return to racing to pick up valuable points.
After a short lay off Rowson was determined to kick-start his campaign and finished the first race at Canada Heights in 11th, but while battling for a top ten finish in the second moto he crashed badly on one of the downhill doubles resulting in a suspected break in his lower right leg. In the MX1 Class Martin Barr recovered from a couple of setbacks to cross the line in 14th and then posted fourth and eighth place finishes to complete a solid day's work by finishing seventh overall. He is now lying sixth in the standings.
As its popularity continues to grow the Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championship is gaining vital TV exposure which means that, in 2012, Sky Sports 3 and Sky Sports 4 will be broadcasting all the thrills and spills in superb HD format. Fans can keep up with the best that British motocross has to offer across eight exciting rounds right through to the season finale at Little Silver, near Exeter, in October.
For further information about Maxxis motorcycle tyres visit www.maxxis.co.uk