Average starts, crashes and a puncture kept Buildbase Honda Racing off the podium at the first round of the Maxxis British Motocross Championship supported by Pro Clean at Lyng on Sunday.
Heading into the series opener at the demanding Cadders Hill circuit on the back of a run of impressive results, hopes were high under the team awning.
Martin Barr posted the fourth-best qualifying time on his CRF250F in MX2 as Lewis Trickett struggled to put in a fast lap. In MX1 Kristian Whatley and Graeme Irwin looked solid, holding down fourth and fifth after their morning qualification session.
Martin made some strong early passes in the first MX2 race and finished comfortably in third but Lewis was forced to pit when a stone wedged his rear brake on, eventually rejoining the race two laps down.
In the second moto Martin picked up an early rear wheel puncture and had to nurse his bike home in 12th, four places behind Lewis who put in a much stronger performance this time around.
“I’m gutted to be honest,” said Martin, who ended the day in fifth overall. “In the first race I didn’t make such a good start but I worked my way up to third by the flag so I was happy with that.
“In race two I made a much better start but on the first lap tucked the front and went down and about two laps later I got a rear flat tyre so I just had to ride round and get as many points as I could. It was frustrating because there was a podium there for me but at the same time it could have been a lot worse.”
Lewis was unhappy with his opening race but could draw positives from a second moto performance that pulled him back to 16th overall.
“I had a nightmare today,” he said. “I didn’t really get a good time in qualifying and then in the first race we got a stone wedged between the frame and the back brake so I had to come in.
“In the last race I had an average start and rode comfortably for eighth. Lyng always seems to be a nightmare for me every year so I’m happy to come away with some points. Canada Heights is next in the championship which is a strong track for me.”
With overall wins in his last two events, Graeme was on a roll on the CRF450R going into Lyng but was left counting the cost of average starts and a number of crashes. The Irishman came back strongly, however, and his 4-6 card was good enough for fifth overall, just five points away from the podium.
“It’s been steady but could have been a lot better – I just seemed to crash all day to be honest. My starts weren’t great and in the first race I went down on the first lap and again halfway through and in the second race I went down again.
“My speed was good enough for the podium and I should have been third overall.”
In just his third event back since breaking his foot, Kristian Whatley is still short on bike time compared to his rivals but he put together solid 5-5 finishes for sixth overall in MX1.
“Qualifying went all right and I ended up fourth which I was happy with,” said Kristian. “In the first race I was into third but dropped back to fourth. I rode a little tense and got a bit of arm-pump and then Graeme got me at the end after I made a mistake.
“In the second I felt really good and tagged onto [Tanel] Leok and Jake [Nicholls] and had a good dice. I felt much stronger and didn’t have arm-pump so I feel I’m getting there. I need a bit more bike time and this three-week break is going to be vital for me.”
Team owner Dave Thorpe admitted he’d hoped for better results but is optimistic of a stronger performance at round two in five weeks time.
“We’ve not quite got the results we were hoping for but Lyng’s a notoriously difficult track so I’m happy that the riders have come away with a good handful of points,” said Dave.
“Martin was unlucky to get a puncture – he rode very, very well to keep the tyre on the rim and Lewis rode much better in the second race – and I know there’s a lot more to come from Kristian and Graeme so we’re looking forward to the next round at Canada Heights.”