While Kristian Whatley’s RHR Yamaha team-mate, Ryan Houghton, was looking good during qualifying at the third round of the MX Nationals at Hawkstone Park (grabbing himself third in the MX1 class), Whatley was sitting nearly two-seconds further back in ninth.
Whatley was inside the top 15 on the opening lap of the first mixed moto (Pro MX1 and MX2) but he fell down the field and was only able to finish 25th.
The team said in a press release that Whatley was still suffering the effects of the illness that affected him at Preston Docks last weekend. It left him struggling for energy and he didn’t go out for moto two.
Team Boss, Rob Hooper is sympathetic. “Kristian is just struggling so much, it appears to be a health issue more than anything,” said Hooper. “He just looks like he is making everything hard work when he is riding. He just has no strength and no energy.
“His first race was a real low point and he needs to seek medical advice to find out what is wrong with him. There is no point him racing in the physical state he is in at the minute as it is not doing his reputation or the teams any good.
“I really feel for the lad, he really wants to do well this year for the team and himself. But so far it’s been one thing after another. We know how good he can be and he has shown glimpses of the huge talent he is. He just needs things to come right for him.
“He has the team’s full support – we just want him back to enjoying racing and riding like we know he is capable of.”
Hooper was positive about the performance of MX2 pilot Robbie Dowson. “Robbie had a really good first race, mixing it up there with the front-runners of that class. Bearing in mind he is struggling with a shoulder injury a sixth was a fantastic result and effort from him. It was just a shame he crashed early on in moto two and was unable to capitalise on it for a good overall result.”
There’s a two-week break in British championship racing and Hooper feels the break is good news for Whatley and Dowson. “Hopefully this break will be enough for Kristian to get himself fit and right. Robbie could also do with a rest to try and give his shoulder time enough to recover properly, but he is young and fit and wants to race and you have to admire him for that.”