Belfast may be SR75 World Team Suzuki boss Geoff Walker’s home turf but the city has always brought our riders mixed luck and this year’s fourth and fifth rounds of the Power Maxed Arenacross Tour was no exception.
Both defending champion Thomas Ramette and his team-mate Cyrille Coulon transferred straight to the Main Event on Friday with solid showings in their heats.
Brilliant starts from both riders saw them running 1-2 for a few laps before Dan Reardon separated them. A small mistake from Thomas allowed Reardon to close and then the Aussie lost his front end and slid into Thomas, causing him to stall.
Cyrille was also held up by the incident but showing his typical resolve fought back through the pack to get on the podium in third while a disappointed Thomas could only recover to sixth.
Another solid showing in Saturday’s quali sessions set the pair up for a good evening show. Thomas rode with class and determination all night to win both his heats but after running fourth in his first heat, a damaged fork guard hampered Cyrille in his second and a sixth-placed finish sent him to the LCQs where he was eliminated following a collision.
Thomas stepped up, stayed focussed and took the Main Event win to lift himself into second in the Pro title chase and give SR75 the lead in the team championship.
“It’s been two nights of mixed fortunes for us in Belfast but that always seems to be the case whenever we come here,” said Team Principal, Geoff Walker.
“One thing that remains consistent is the passion we put into our racing and we saw from Cyrille on Friday night his incredible determination and never-say-die approach to racing as he fought his way to a brilliant podium finish.
“On Saturday he was very disappointed to miss the Main Event but he races with respect for his rivals and can hold his head up high. He’s a tough man and will bounce back.
“As for Thomas, what can I say? He carried the momentum from his win in Birmingham into Belfast and has ridden brilliantly all weekend.
“He was unlucky not to win on Friday night but on Saturday he showed just why he’s won three AX titles in a row and is now just two points from the championship lead.
“I’m very proud of both guys – they always give 100 per cent.”
“My starts have helped me stay out of trouble. Sure, Friday night could have been a lot better for me but winning both my heats and then the Main Event made it an almost perfect night on Saturday,” said Ramette.
“I don’t feel any pressure to perform – I already have three titles – but of course I race to win.
“Now I am only two points from the championship lead so there is everything to play for.”
“Friday was a good night for me,” said Coulon. “I had to make a lot of passes to get onto the podium but my bike was faultless and I felt very comfortable.
“Saturday was not so good and I am sad and a little angry not to make the Main Event in that way.
“But that is racing – sometimes you are high, sometimes you are low – and nights like that make me even more determined to do well for myself, my team, my sponsors and my supporters.”