The 2013 Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championship kicked off on Sunday 17thMarch at FatCat Moto Parc near Doncaster. The sandy circuit played host to the opening round for the second year, but after heavy rain in the week leading up to the event and Rain, Sleet and Snow on the day meant the conditions were more suitable for Noah and his Ark.
After a dry start to proceedings, rain, sleet and then snow faced competitors in the opening round at FatCat. Elliott Banks-Browne (HM Plant KTM UK) Tommy Searle, CLS Monster Energy Kawasaki and John Adamson (AAA Bikesport KTM) took the honors in a difficult days racing.
The heavy rain overnight meant that the race timetable was changed to a 'wet weather' timetable, meaning that there would only be two races per class for MX1 and MX2, while the MXY2 would have 1 race.
After a delayed start, it was time for the MX1 qualifying session with all three Maxxis factory sponsored Maxxis Kawasaki riders out on track. Brad Anderson was riding for the first time after injuring his shoulder two weeks ago, posted a steady 16th place in the wet and tricky conditions, while Dorren Coutts quickly settled into the session, and produced a number of fast lap times to finish in 6th place. Connor Walkley also produced a steady lap to finish 25th fastest after struggling to get a clear lap. Also competing in the MXY2 class was Ben James qualifying in 30th place for the main race.
After the lunch break, it was time for the opening MX1 race of the season and as the gate dropped both Brad and Dorren made good starts, but drama struck on the opening lap when Brad was hit by another rider, damaging the Oil Cooler and ending his race before the end of the first lap. Dorren continued to ride strong and produced a great race to open his season with a 8th place finish. Connor pushed hard in the opening laps after a bad start and following a crash and pit stop for goggles and gloves, Conner retired to prepare for the second race.
Next up was the only race of the MXY2 class and Ben James suffered a bad start and had to work hard to push forward during the race. The track conditions made it really difficult for Ben as finished the race in 21st place, just missing the points by one place.
The second race of the day saw the track in a bad condition following a heavy rain shower making conditions very hard for the riders. The start saw both Dorren and Brad inside the top 10 and both moved forward reaching 5th and 6th places. Brad would go on to finish in a well-deserved 6th place after struggling with his shoulder. Brad's 6th place was enough to give him 14th place overall on the day. For Dorren the race was going well until he suffered a problem with the bike as the heavy conditions caused the bike to get so hot it stopped but, after getting the bike restarted Dorren recovered to finish in 14th place for 11th place Overall. Connor's day went from bad to worse with another bad start and crashes causing him to lose his gloves, goggles and hand grip as he went on to finish in 24th place.
Maxxis Kawasaki Team Owner Steve James "The first round of the Maxxis British Championship this weekend didn't really go to plan. The weather was really against us but it was the same for everyone else so we just tried our hardest to do the best we could in these conditions. Brad was very unfortunate to have a DNF in his first race, it wasn't his or anyone else's fault, just a racing incident but we really could have done without it! but it's a long championship and we will just have to work even harder to get the points back that we lost today, Dorren showed good speed in the first race today and was riding well but just suffered with arm pump a bit which slowed him down at the end but it was encouraging to see that he can run at top 5 pace, Connor struggled today and just couldn't get to grips with the track but he will come back stronger at the next round, the main thing is we are pleased to be leaving with no extra injuries and looking forward to the next rounds".
Steve's views were backed buy a cheerful Brad Anderson, "Coming into this British Championship I had been really looking forward to it, but unfortunately I hurt my shoulder two weeks ago and could do with a few more weeks rest. Going into qualifying I wasn't sure how my shoulder would be as it was the first time back on the bike and I took some painkillers, braced my shoulder, finished in 16th, and struggled a little. Then in the first race I felt more up for it and I'd taken some more pain killers and then after a mid-pack start another rider hit me on the first lap and damaged the Oil Cooler ending my race, all the hard work with my shoulder and then to suffer such bad luck was gutting. Then in the second race, I got a really bad start and worked my way up to 6th and I was really happy with that considering the weather and my shoulder.
Commenting on the season opener, Maxxis UK MD Derek McMartin was optimistic for the forthcoming race events, "Fat Cat is a testing Circuit for the season opener: last year it was unseasonably warm and sunny, the rain has turned the normally fine sand into an incredibly challenging racing surface for all the riders, and you have to admire them all for getting stuck-in and committed in such poor weather. We are getting behind our Factory Maxxis Kawasaki Team in a big way for 2013, upping our commitment and technical support to give team manager Steve James, Brad and the guys the very best chance of winning".
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