Bike it Yamaha Cosworth’s Max Anstie took a surprising and dramatic win at Lommel last week for the Grand Prix of Belgium but the talented youngster had a reminder of the work-in-progress status of development with the 2014 Dixon-race spec YZ250F as he pulled out of the penultimate round of the Maxxis British Championship in Wiltshire last weekend.
With Jeffrey Herlings’s absence in Lommel, Anstie was already a likely podium contender at the GP thanks to his technical ability in the terrain but the big question mark remained over his fickle race bike that has speed, handling and potential but has been riddled with reliability problems over largely electronic issues. There were some ‘alarms’. Anstie had to quickly re-fire the YZ only seconds before the first gate drop in Lommel and then crashed while chasing Jordi Tixier for the lead in the second race.
“My throttle got stuck and the electronics were out of balance a little bit,” he said. “I couldn’t really shut off and I had to work the bike a bit different to what I wanted. My hand slipped off the bar and I was stressing. All I could think was ‘it’s done; we’re going home’ but then suddenly we were racing again. I don’t think I took a breath the whole race.”
Anstie and the British team have worked relentlessly on pushing the rev ceiling and optimising the capability of the YZ250F race engine together with tuning giants Cosworth. Dixon claims another 5-6 horsepower is attainable and Anstie has already commented on the superior handling of the 2014 chassis. Part of the problem with the inconsistency of performance in races has been due to the programme of actually testing while at Grands Prix and this was principally caused by the late delivery of the machines for the winter.
Frustrations of the work still ahead for Bike it Yamaha Cosworth was shown at Cusses Gorse in the south of England where Anstie was able to classify only fourth in the first moto before failing to finish the second and not even entering the third. Throttle and electronic settings were the cause of his concern and thus his retirement.
“We’ve got five weeks now and more development to do,” he said after Lommel. “I know Steve [Dixon] has got a plan to move forward. I want to finish the last two [Grands Prix] strong. There is definitely improvement to be made everywhere.”
“We are making our own prototypes and then going into production and I would say we are 90% there but there are still some things to iron out,” commented Team Manager Steve Dixon. “As I have said before it is tough to race and test but with everything coming so late we had little choice this season.”
“I respect everyone who wins a race because I know the work that goes into it. It is definitely not easy,” said Anstie after one of the most impressive Grand Prix wins of the FIM Motocross World Championship this year. “It takes years of dedication and work. I’ve found a great group of people and a team that all have the same goal.”