So far it’s been a Garmin Arenacross Tour of trials and tribulations for Oakleaf Kawasaki. After Newcastle it was discovered that team rider Tyler Villopoto had injured his ankle, taking him out of contention for the penultimate round at Sheffield. However, another replacement rider was drafted in from the continent, mini-bike superstar Mike Valade.

Whereas team rider Romain Biela soon settled into a good qualifying rhythm for an overall in 10th, Valade found it a little harder to get into a groove, ending 20th at the conclusion of the qualifying session.

The evening’s races got off to a good start for Biela. Fourth in the first lap, he looked to be in a good place to transfer to the Main but then found himself on the floor. After remounting, he recovered to eighth at the chequered flag. The second heat, after the youth races, saw Biela get off to another good start in fifth. Although the second race had gone to plan, Biela found himself in the LCQ, which he won after a stunning four-lap dash.


The final race of the evening saw him work his way to fifth, only to stall the bike at the end of the whoops and see the remainder of the pack pass him by. With the bike fired up again, he rode his heart out, recovering to 10th at the finish.

New starter Valade faired better in his first heat. Although he dropped his bike, he quickly recovered to lose only one place and ending seventh. The second heat saw him hit the deck twice, pulling off the track last and transferring to the LCQ. Unfortunately, Valade found himself on the side lines for the Main Event; despite a great start in third, he hit the deck again in the last lap, sealing his fate for the night.

“My weekend went well, I had good lap times, and I won the LCQ,” said Romain Biela. “In the final I snuck through the pack and gained four positions, but then I stalled in the whoops and it got to me a bit mentally and physically. I finished tenth. I want to thank the team, Oakleaf Kawasaki, for their support, it is thanks to them that I ride this well.”

George Braeger – standing in for Shaun Anthony commented: “Coming into this week without Tyler is a big loss, he started to adapt, and hopefully he’s back for Wembley.

“We drafted in Mike Valade, who is a pit bike champion from France, and we’re hoping for the best. Romain has been riding well consistently. The heat races were hard; Clarke and him went down when things were looking up. In the LCQ, Romain got the holeshot and was gone, that race was his own.

“We were all confident going into the main, he got off the gate well, exactly what we wanted, he was doing lines that no-one else was, he was looking fast, and then unfortunately he stalled it in the whoops. Yes, it was disappointing but we’re positive and still hunting for that win. Romain’s done us proud and we’re looking forward to Wembley!”