The LPE Kawasaki team head to the Genting Arena in Birmingham for the fourth round of the 2015 Arenacross UK tour. And following podium success for both Florent Richier and Loic Rombaut at the previous two rounds in Belfast, the team were looking to improve further.
The morning practice and qualifying sessions had both Florent and Loic riding well and following the two timed qualifying sessions Florent topped both of his groups to finish overall fifth fastest, while Loic finished fifth in both sessions – 10th overall fastest.
In the Rookie class Jimmy Margetson topped both of his sessions to finish on pole position for the Main Event in the evening.
Before the night time show could take place the riders and team enjoyed meeting the fans during the Pit Party in the indoor paddock at the Arena Pavilian, giving the fans the chance to get up close to both the riders and bikes.
The evening started with the first Pro heat race and as the gate dropped Florent made a good jump down the long start straight and into the first turn. Florent settled into a good rhythm behind Ramette as the pair pulled away from Banks-Browne in third.
The second Heat race saw Loic round the first lap in second place and looking strong until a mistake saw him slip back to fourth at the finish.
Next up was the Rookie final and after qualifying on Pole Jimmy was looking for a good result and aim for his first podium of the tour. Jimmy didn’t get the best start but quickly moved into third place early on and was challenging for second and looking good for a podium.
But his race was cut short when he suffered a bike problem and had to DNF from the race. The whole team was disappointed but the youngster was still healthy and had proved that he had the pace to run at the front.
The third heat of the evening saw Loic suffer a poor start but ride hard to chase through the pack to finish in fifth place. The fourth heat race saw Florent start in second place and move up into the lead, unluckily Florent would suffer a series of issues and slip back to seventh at the finish.
Before the Main Event in the Head-to-Head Florent lost out in the opening round to Ramette and missed out on the chance to gain extra championship points.
In the Main Event Florent started in third place behind Chatfield and Ramette, while Loic was battling in the mid-pack. As the race progressed Florent was pushing the leading pair hard and found a way passed Ramette and into second place. Once in second Florent looked strong and took another well-deserved podium, with Loic working his way up to fifth place at the finish.
Following both Florent and Loic strong results the championship standings see Florent remain in second place while Loic has moved up to 10th place and in the Team Championship. The results mean that LPE Kawasaki is now in second place as the series moves to Newcastle next Sunday afternoon.
“This weekend has been pretty good overall,” said Florent Richier. “In the practice sessions I was feeling strong and comfortable and then in the second heat I was riding well and then had a heavy crash on the last lap, so I was really annoyed about that.
“The Head-to-Head races are not my favourite races and I made a bad start against Ramette and had no chance to pass. In the Main Event I started in fourth and moved into third and then passed Ramette for second place. I’m disappointed that I was unable to win but I’m still second in the championship and I will be pushing for the win next weekend.”
“Birmingham for me started off badly,” Loic Rombaut said. “I struggled in the practice and qualifying to find a good line and gel with the track. Then in the heat races I finished fourth and fifth which was enough for the Main Event but not the Head-to-Head.
“In the Main Event I had a bad starting position and made an okay start and just rode hard and finished in fifth place so it was a good result considered the start to the day.”
Jimmy Margetson commented: “The day went good for me, in the qualifying I was first in both sessions, which came as a surprise to me, but I felt good and confident going into the final.
“Unfortunately in the Main Event the bike gave up! But hopefully next week will go better for me, going into Newcastle with more confidence.”
“Another tough night but we are still well in the game at the halfway point,” said Steve James. “In the Rookies’ final Jimmy was so unlucky not to get a podium tonight.
“He got up to second place but suffered a DNF due to a bike problem so I’m gutted for him but he is still fifth in the Championship and only three points off third so all is not lost.
“Loic got fifth in the Pro Final after riding a bit tight today but still okay and he moved up to 10th in the Championship from 12th so still an improvement.
“Florent got second in the final again, he rode really good and is still second in the Pro Championship only losing one point to Championship leader Ramette, so we are 11 points behind with four rounds still to go.
We also moved up from third into second in the Team Championship so I am really happy with that to be lying second in both Championships.
“I’d also like to thank everyone in the Team, the riders Flo, Loic and Jimmy, the mechanics, Minty, Ian, Ryno, Keatsy, Chris and Ben back at the workshop along with the Pit Crew Ben, Adam and Rob.
“As always they all worked very hard this weekend and we race as a team and when we are up, we are all up and when we are down, we are all down but we work as a team and work together which makes a difference and I really appreciate it.”