With one man down, it was a slimmed-down Pendrich Kawasaki team of three that made the trek back down to the Yorkshire city of Sheffield for the penultimate round of the Garmin Arenacross Tour.
At the wheel was mechanic extraordinaire Dean Mackenzie, next to him Pro and Big Wheel 85 class riders Ed Allingham and Lee Perfect.
Faced with one of the most challenging tracks so far in the tour, Perfect qualified fourth overall with only a modicum of track time and he followed that up later in the evening with another solid fourth place finish in the class final, which also cemented fourth position in the championship.
His older colleague Allingham qualified 21st in the Pro class during his session in the morning, but as with previous rounds, things were not as simple in the evening.
In his first heat, Allingham fought back from the rear to end the race in seventh. In the second, it was also a fight from the back, culminating in Allingham pulling across the line last. The inevitable LCQ saw Allingham end in third with second just out of reach. That Allingham was disappointed with the end result was naturally an understatement, but he promises to be back for the grand finale at Wembley on March 1.
Dean Mackenzie, Team Mechanic said: “Today’s not been too bad, to be honest; both riders did alright. Lee had a big crash in the morning, which knocked his confidence a bit over a couple of jumps, but he got fourth, and we’re pretty happy with that.
“Ed has been getting better every week; he’s done well today. He’s nursing a little injury in his ankle and I think that might have affected him a little bit. He didn’t make the Main but he was riding awesome. Both riders came away healthy and that’s all we can ask for.”
“The day started off not too bad, and then in the first qualifier I came up short on the triple, hit my chest again and sprained my ankle and was just terrible in the second session,” says Ed Allingham.
He added: “For the first race I got it strapped up and took some painkillers, didn’t do too badly coming from last to seventh, but in the next race I fell off and it was just a waste of time. In the LCQ I came from the back to third and just missed it, but I’m getting closer every week, so I’m making improvements, which is good.
“Hopefully at the next round we can qualify for the Main.”
Young pilot, Lee Perfect said: “The morning started off pretty well, trying to find a flow, but then in qualifying I crashed in the second lap and bent my bars, so I didn’t get a lot of track time. I got a good start in the Main, hung in there for two or three laps, and then got arm pump so I couldn’t hold on. That pretty much ended the race and I finished fourth. Hopefully at Wembley it’ll go a bit better.”