British fans found their voice for teenager Conrad Mewse at Matterley Basin for last weekend’s 11th Grand Prix of the 2016 FIM Motocross World Championship.
A superb start by the 16-year-old rookie meant that it was his Rockstar Energy Husqvarna that the majority of the 37,000 crowd were following instead of team-mate and Pole-sitter Max Anstie in the first MX2 moto.
Mewse caused a stir by running in the top three before finishing fifth and then took a ninth in the second race for seventh overall. It stemmed from an encouraging Saturday performance in what was the teenager’s first taste of home Grand Prix ‘fever’. “Eighth in the qualifying race was my joint-best so far and gave me a lot of confidence,” he said. “The first good start on Sunday is what I have been waiting for all year. I just went along with the front guys and got a bit tired later on – I’m not used to running that pace – going from 13th to fifth is quite a big difference. I managed to keep going and keep the momentum.”
“I couldn’t have done that without the fans going crazy,” he added on the reaction to his position in the running order. “It was such a good buzz and got me going – it took away the thoughts of tiredness. I cannot thank them enough and it is great to race here because I don’t do any British Championship races.”
Mewse has caught attention as the youngest member of the Grand Prix field, and since making the bold move from the EMX250 European Championship (where he dominated the opening round at Valkenswaard) into MX2 to support Anstie in the wake of Thomas Covington’s injury problems. It was a switch that puzzled many – EMX race winner to MX2 struggler – but the outing at Matterley seemed to add vindication.
“The team and I never doubted the move,” Mewse commented. “We always knew it was the step I would have to take to become hopefully a professional rider in the future. The team believe in me and I cannot thank them enough for that. I believe in myself and hopefully we can go all the way.”