Round five of the Arenacross UK tour saw the LPE Kawasaki Racing team head into the second half of the Championship. Round five saw the action take place inside the Newcastle Metro Radio Arena on Sunday afternoon.
The afternoon show meant an early start for the riders in practice and qualifying, while Loic Rombaut and Jimmy Margetson prepared to head out on track, Florent Richier was in a mad dash from Newcastle Airport to the Arena after winning both Friday and Saturday night in Denmark. In the Pro Class both Loic and Florent qualified well with Loic coming out 4th fastest after the two session and Florent finishing 8th fastest. In the Rookies class Jimmy finished 2nd and 3rd fastest in the two sessions to qualify 3rd fastest for the final.
After a short break before the main afternoon show, it was time for Loic and Florent to line up in the second heat of the day. As the gate dropped Florent produced a great start and started to pull away at the front but a small crash handed the win to Birmingham winner Adam Chatfield, while team mate Loic Rombaut rounded out the top 3.
Next up was the Main Event for the Rookie class and Jimmy suffered a mid-pack start and had to work hard in the opening laps to recover to 3rd place. Once in 3rd place Jimmy started to push for 2nd place and a podium was on the cards until he tangled with another rider and went down. After remounting Jimmy pushed hard to recover to 4th at the finish, and move himself up to 4th in the Championship and just 1 point behind 3rd place.
The second set of heat races saw Florent line up in heat 3 and produce a great and solid start to finish race win ahead of Cyrille Coulon and Elliott Banks Browne, Then in the 4th heat race, Loic shot out of the gate to win by over 5 secs ahead of Chatfield and Harri Kullas in 3rd.
With both riders safely into the Final, they headed to the Head to Head races where Loic finished 3rd and secured 2 vital championship points.
In the Main event Loic started the race well, while Florent suffered a terrible start and was buried at the back of the pack. At the front of the field Loic quickly moved into 4th place and was challenging for third and looking good for a podium until he made a mistake in a corner and crashed, once Loic remounted he pushed hard to recover to 9th place at the finish. Meanwhile teammate Florent was pushing hard on a track that was hard to pass but the Frenchman was able to work his way into a creditable 4th place at the finish ahead of championship leader Ramette and Chatfield.
In the Championship standings Florent remained 2nd but closed the gap to Thomas Ramette by one point, while Loic remained in 10th place, and the Team are still second in the Team Championship with 3 rounds to go.
Florent Richier – The day start well with the Heat race win and second place, but then in the Main event I made a rubbish start. I was riding well and passing people but in a 12 lap final it was hard work and I couldn’t do any better than 4th tonight. So I’m disappointed because I was coming into the event feeling good and could have made some good progress against Ramette, but we will try and get the win next weekend.
Loic Rombaut – In the heat races I got two solid results with a win and a third. Then in the final I made a good start but then I made a silly crash in the same place as Florent earlier in the day. After the crash I recovered to 9th and although I’m annoyed, I’m still healthy and will try and turn it around next week.
Jimmy Margetson – It wasn’t a bad day, qualifying was ok but I had a few crashes and wasn’t that confident with the track but once the night race come I was in a better frame of mind! I got off to a rubbish start and worked my way up to 3rd and made a little mistake and it put me down a few spots so I had to work hard to get back into 4th. I enjoyed it and hopefully will be better next week.
Steve James – The day started so well today, we was looking good for all riders to get on the Podium in their finals but unfortunately it just wasn’t to be, but it wasn’t for the lack of trying. Jimmy qualified 3rd in the Rookies and was looking good. In the Rookie Final Jimmy didn’t get the best start but battled through to 3rd until a tangle with another rider brought him down but he fought back to finish 4th and is now 4th in the Championship only 1 point off 3rd. In the Pro’s today was a bit manic to start with for Flo he was racing in Denmark on Friday and Saturday nights at a SX where he won both nights then jumped on a plane from Hamburg to Amsterdam then to Newcastle Airport this morning with only a couple of hours sleep, it just shows how much he wants to race and challenge for this Title. Loic and Flo Qualified 4th and 8th and then both had a heat race win a piece and a 3rd and a 2nd in the other heats so tonight they was both looking good and riding so well, everything was looking good but as we know too well anything can happen in Arenacross. In the Final Loic got a good start in the top 5 and soon moved up to 4th pressing for 3rd and looked to be a safe bet but he made a silly mistake and went down in a corner and had to start again from the back of the pack eventually finishing 9th. Flo got a terrible start and was last and on a track that is so hard to pass on we thought that was it but he pushed hard to eventually finish a credible 4th, I know it’s not what we wanted but we pulled 1 point back on Ramette in the Championship and Flo is now 10 point behind in 2nd plus Flo still kept a 9 point gap over Adam Chatfield in 3rd. We are still also 2nd in the Team Championship so with 3 rounds to go we are still in the game and it is all still to play for so we will keep up the hard work and keep pushing for the win.