This weekend the Apico LPE Kawasaki Racing team headed to the Echo Arena in Liverpool for round four of the Garmin Arenacross Tour. The Liverpool leg of the tour marked the first of two Sunday afternoon shows.
Following two back-to-back victories by Fabien Izoird, the Frenchman went into the round leading the series, while team-mate Loic Rombaut sat fourth in the standings. After an early start for practice and qualifying, both riders settled onto the track quickly and posted a few quick times to finish in third and 12th fastest overall.
As the lights went down for the first heats of the night, it was Fabien Izoird up first. When the gate dropped Fabien was able to miss the drama on the first and second turns to take the lead and run away for the win. In the second heat Loic wasn’t as lucky and got boxed in on the first turn and started last. As the race went on Loic progressed to ninth, only to be taken out by another rider with two laps remaining – leaving Loic last.
In the second heat, Fabien and Loic lined-up in the same heat and both riders made strong starts and rounded the second turn in first and second. The pair put in some strong laps to finish with Fabien taking the flag and Loic in second place.
Unfortunately Loic’s second place finish was not enough to see him transfer direct to the Main Event and had to face the dreaded LCQ. When the gate dropped Loic fired into the lead and took the win to transfer to the Main.
Before the Main Event took place, Fabien had to line-up in the Head-to-Head races where he ended up in the Runner Up final against championship rival Daniel McCoy and the win was vital. When the gate dropped Izoird and McCoy battled hard but fair with Izoird taking the win and the two extra championship points.
In the Main Event Izoird made the most of first gate pick to come out of the opening lap in second behind Elliott Banks-Browne, whilst Rombaut was down in 12th after making a mistake. At the front Izoird and Banks-Browne battled hard for the lead with Izoird looking the faster of the two. As the race neared its conclusion Izoird made his move for the lead only to be passed straight back. On the next lap Izoird changed his line in the rhythm section and as a result crashed out of second place and finishing in 10th ahead of Rombaut in 11th.
Despite Apico LPE Kawasaki’s bad luck in the Main, Fabien Izoird left Liverpool with a six point lead in the championship over Daniel McCoy with Loic two points off Coulon in third. The team now prepare for moving into the second half of the tour at the Metro Centre in Newcastle next weekend.
“Today has been crazy because I won both the heat races and then was third in the Head-to-Head,” says Fabien Izoird. “Then in the Main I started well and was in second behind Banks-Browne and was waiting my time as I was faster in the sections. I managed to get passed clean and then the next couple of laps we touched a few times which I wasn’t too keen on. Then with two laps to go I changed lines and crashed over the front, which ruined the result but I still lead the series going into next weekend.”
“Tonight was hard for me as I had to go to the LCQ to transfer to the Main,” said Loic Rombaut. “Then in the Main I made too many mistakes and crashed twice and that is not good enough if I want to be at the front. At least I am healthy ready for next weekend.”
“We had been having a good run of things up until now but the law of averages states that everyone has to have a bad night,” commented Team Manager Steve James. “So I’m hoping this was ours as if tonight is that night I’ll take it because we still leave with Izoird leading by six points and Rombaut is still in fourth place only two points off third place.”
“We also still have a 16 point lead in the Team Championship, although everything has tightened up a bit at the top so its back to work again and focus on the last three rounds. Anything can happen in Arenacross as we saw tonight, so nothing can be taken for granted.”
“Loic had a tough night getting to the final but still showed great speed and still managed to get in the Main Event which is the main goal and an achievement on its own. It just wasn’t to be for Loic tonight with more bad luck eventually finishing 11th but he still scored a valuable eight championship points keeping him in fourth place and he will be back in the hunt next week.”
“Fabien had as usual been on his ‘A’ game all night winning his two heat races and third in the head-to-head taking two more valuable championship points. Then in the Main Event final he was just unlucky as both him and Elliott were having a good battle for the lead, Fabien was the faster guy for sure but Elliott was riding good and protecting his line.”
“Fabien made the pass twice but couldn’t make it stick as the track only had one good line in the corners due to the stones coming up. To make a pass you had to go offline but you lost so much traction in doing so which then allowed Elliott to cut back in front and retake the lead again, which provided the crowd with a fantastic race to watch. Fabien could have just sat back and taken a safe second, increasing his lead in the championship but he is a racer and wanted to win so with a lap and half to go he knew he had to make a pass.”
“He changed his line and went up the inside in the corner before the rhythm section but it was very soft and he caught his foot peg which unsettled the bike and he nose dived into the face of the jump, putting him over the bars and through the air, landing heavily. Fabien quickly got up but the bike had been upside down so it took a bit to fire up. Once going again he managed to finish a respectful 10th and salvage nine crucial points, showing true grit to even finish, due to being badly winded. He used everything he had to get back on and finish.”
“Fabien knew he had to score points to hang on to his Red Plate and he did just that so absolute respect to him for that and he was so lucky not to be injured from the fall. We now live to fight another day and look forward to round five at Newcastle next week.”