A cold and chilly Easter Weekend saw the Maxxis Henderson LPE Kawasaki team make the trip to Valkenswaard in Holland for the opening round of the 2012 Monster Energy FIM World Championship. With the race day taking place on the Easter Monday, Sunday would see MX1 rider Martin Barr take to the track for his sessions of practice and the qualification race.
Sunday morning started well with Martin posting a strong 16th place in Free Practice in the highly competitive MX1 class. Next up was the Pre-Qualification session which determines the gate pick for the all important Qualification race, with the pace on the increase and the track becoming rougher with every session Martin produced another strong lap time for 25th position.
With the day getting on, it was time for the MX1 Qualification race and Martin made a good start and was running inside the top 20. At the end of the opening lap Martin spun the back end out and suffered a small crash losing a few places and then had another crash having to restart at the back of the field. With a lot of work to do Martin pushed hard to recover to 27th at the end of the race.
Monday morning saw dark clouds fill the skies around Valkenswaard as Martin took to the track for morning warm up and scored 8th place and renewed everyone's hopes for the day ahead.
Just after lunch it was time for the opening MX1 race of the season and Martin shot out of the start, missing all drama of the opening laps. On the second lap of the race, Martin was battling with Matiss Karro for 15th when the pair collided and Martin was forced off track and had to restart from the back of the field. With a long race ahead, Martin pushed hard to finish in 22nd and just outside the points.
The second race of the day saw Martin again make a strong start and run inside the top 15 in the opening laps. With the rain coming down Martin had to lose his goggles and battle the sandy conditions and changing track conditions. After 15 minutes it was becoming clear that Martin was struggling with the handling of the bike, due to the front suspension fading and making finishing the race a challenge. Martin soldiered on and finished the race in 20th place for a single GP point and 23rd overall on the day.
Martin Barr 22-20-23rd Overall
Not the best weekend as I was looking to have a good weekend after finishing well here last year. The weekend started with a 16th in Free Practice. I've struggled in the final sector of the track all weekend. In the Pre Qualification session I was 25th and dropped a couple of places but I was looking forward to the heat race. The heat race didn't go to plan as I made a good start but then had a small crash and as I remounted another rider knocked the bike out of my hands and twisted the front end, I recovered for 27th at the finish and I gave a lot of work to
do on race day. In the first race I got a good start and was up in 15th when Matiss Karro put me down and I went through the fence. So I was dead last and came back to 22nd and was disappointed with that. The second race I got another good start but on the third or fourth lap something broke off inside the front forks and it made the bike really hard to ride and push forward. I lost a couple of places towards the end and finished 20th so was disappointed with that.
This weekend has been a weekend of ups and downs, but unfortunately more downs than ups. With the team spending the weekend in Holland practicing in the sand, we were looking forward to a good weekend. It all started off good in timed practice, so we were confident going into the qualification race at the end of the day. Martin got a top 20 start and was going forward but a small crash dropped him down a few places, before crashing again later on, leaving him with a lot of work to do and eventually finished 27th. On race day we started the morning well with 8th fastest in morning warm up which gave us all high hopes for the races. In race one Martin made a good start from 27th on the start and was 15th on the first lap only to be taken out by another rider and crashed through a fence on the second lap. Restarting from dead last Martin worked hard to finish a creditable 22nd place. The second race Martin got out the gate around 20th and got up to 17th and was riding comfortable there for some time until a problem developed with the front suspension and slowed his pace and then the wet conditions meant he had to remove his goggles and would finish in 20th place for 1 GP point. I feel this weekend that like many others, that if we didn't have bad luck we'd have no luck at all! But we will pick ourselves up and iron out any problems we have before the first of the Red Bull Championship in three weeks time, where we will be looking forward to a fresh start.