Hawkstone Park provided the backdrop for Evgeny Bobryshev’s first motocross race of the 2018 season. The International also served as Bobby’s debut (outdoors) for his new team, Lombard Express Suzuki with Par Homes.
A bumper crowd poured into the historic circuit, braving a mixed bag of weather conditions, to enjoy a great display of racing from a strong field of MXGP regulars.
The day started well for the Russian as a strong time saw him qualify in fifth place behind his MXGP colleagues Jeffrey Herlings, Max Anstie, Gautier Paulin, and Glen Coldenhoff.
The long start straight, deep sands and tough conditions were a welcome change to Bobryshev, who has been competing in arena’s around the UK for the past month and a half. Evgeny executed his first race start of the year with good form, rocketing up the famous Hawkstone start straight and manoeuvring the first corner in sixth position. As the field completed the first lap the racers were settling into place. With 25 minutes plus one lap of racing to go Bobryshev set out on chasing down the fifth-place man, reigning British Champion Graeme Irwin. At the finish line Bobryshev come home just two seconds behind Irwin.
A flurry of snow showers made for a picturesque scene as the MX1 class lined up for their second race of the afternoon. Bobryshev’s jump out of the great wasn’t so great this time around, however the extended start straight enabled him to make up for this. Despite his bad jump Evgeny was able to salvage a top ten start. This meant that the Russian would have to put his down and work hard to move forward in order to match his moto one performance. Bobryshev made passes on Nathan Watson, Liam Knight, and Mickey Eccles to move up into sixth place. Once again he found himself on the rear end of British Champion Graeme Irwin. Bobryshev was on a roll now and looking to make a move on the KTM rider. However, the position was ultimately gifted to him, as Irwin came together with a lapped rider. This moved the Lombard Express Par Homes Suzuki rider into fifth place. By this time in the race Bobryshev had lost touch with the top four riders. Evgeny brought it home in fifth place, 20 seconds behind Tommy Searle. This gave Bobryshev fifth place overall on the day, a solid start to the 2018 season for the big man from Russia. The MXGP of Argentina will be his next big motocross race.
Evgeny Bobryshev – ‘‘I slept for just five hours last night after racing in Sheffield for Arenacross. We’ve had lots of traveling lately! But I really enjoyed today, luckily we had no rain. I’m starting to feel better and get to know the bike a lot better. We still have a lot of work to do to get me completely comfortable on the bike. At the moment I’m not running my full speed, the speed I want to run. I’d say I’m about 80% right now. I was able to finish fifth today, which is was good. We now have a lot of data and information to takeaway and look at what we need to work on before the GP’s start.’’
Neil Prince (Team Manager) – ‘‘It was good to be outdoors. For the team it’s been the first outdoor race for us. It’s good to see how the bike performs outdoors in anger, we’ve only seen it practicing. For sure we’ve still got a bit of work to do but overall I’m quite happy. If Bobby can get a start- like Tommy did in that last race – he can match their speed. He’s had decent starts, but not great. I think he was about 13th in the second moto and had to come through. But that’s no problem, it’s early in the season, there’s lots of racing to go and at the minute he’s steadily improving. We just plan on riding more and more and getting more time on the bike. We’ve got Wembley this weekend for the last Arenacross, so we hope to end on a high there. We’ll then be focusing on Argentina for the first GP.’’
Report – Toofast Media Group
Images – Elliot Spencer