Brimming with positive vibes after some progress down south, Pendrich Height Services Kawasaki’s merry band of warriors decamped to Merseyside on a very blowy Saturday afternoon for first of two Sunday matinees on the Garmin Arenacross Tour. Although the weather on the way was downright miserable, the Echo Arena was nice and toasty with the dirt looking pretty good.
Sunday morning dawned way too early – the first set of practices started when the sun was just about crawling over the horizon. When the qualifying sessions came around, team rider Bryan Mackenzie put in a time that put him 13th overall with Ed Allingham not far behind in 19th. Youth 85 BW rider Lee Perfect was fourth-quickest in his class.
With qualifying over and bright sunshine out, the team had some time for a breather before heading back inside for the start of the show at 2pm. It all went pear-shaped from there.
For Mackenzie, both heats were a battle from the back after going down both times and landing in the LCQ. There he found himself in illustrious company, with the race stacked with tough rivals. Once again he found himself shut out on the start, but this time he was mid-pack and moving up before the race ended.
“Obviously there’s not a lot to talk about really, because we didn’t make the main event again, but it all just starts from qualifying,” says Bryan Mackenzie. “If you don’t get a good qualifying, then you don’t get a good gate for your heat, and then you just end up getting caught in the carnage and it spirals out of control.
“I was not riding badly today at all, and I think I proved that in my second heat where I had the fastest time in the heat but that was because I was crashed out in the back and had a clear track. My speed’s there, I just have to try and stay out of trouble and keep out front. We might come back with a new plan next week, we’ll see.”
Allingham did not fare much better either. Although he kept himself out of trouble and ended in front of Mackenzie in the first heat, his second heat saw him end the race in the same position as before, relegating him to the LCQ as well. There he found himself chasing after Mackenzie, but his fate was the same as his team-mate, a seat on the sidelines for the main event.
“This weekend started off rusty,” said Ed Allingham. “I haven’t ridden all week again, but as the day progressed I was riding quite well. I just couldn’t get a start to save myself and then always having to play catch-up. But then again, that’s just the way it is – if you don’t get the start, it’s not going to happen really.”
Even Perfect was not immune from mishaps. After getting a good start, he found himself on the ground soon after. After remounting, he fought his way forward to end the race fifth, the best result for the team.
“Practice this morning was ok, it could’ve gone better,” said 85 BW pilot Lee Perfect. “I qualified fourth for the main event, got a fairly decent start but then went into the second corner and went over the berm. I restarted from the back and came through past a few guys and finished fifth overall.”
Team Principal, Mark Perfect added his thoughts: “It’s not gone quite the way as we expected it to go, we’re seeing glimmers of goodness through the riders; I wouldn’t say the series is doing wonders for morale but we’re going to be sharper on the outside stuff and that’s what it’s all about.
“It’s priming us up for the outside season and we’re just looking for sharpness and that’s where we want to be. We’ve never done this before so it’s all new to us. We’re learning as we go, and the guys are picking up confidence as we go. Young Lee again had a bit of a misfortune going over a berm and losing places, but he got back up to fifth, so there’s a bit of hope there for success. We’ll keep plugging away and trying, we’ll never give up, and we’ll keep going until we either get success or we learn from our mistakes.”