Dan Thornhill (Cab Screens Deos Group Honda) made his European championship debut on Saturday in the EMXOpen class at the MXGP of Trentino and rose to the occasion by nailing the holeshot in the opening moto and holding down second for the first couple of laps.
“It was good,” said Dan. “A bit different to what I’m used to obviously with the whole surroundings and being at a GP but I enjoyed the experience and it was nice to get a couple of races under my belt.
“I had no expectations. I didn’t really know who was going to be in the class or what the class was even about to be honest – we just sort of rocked up and had a go! Sometimes that’s the best way to do it.”
The 25-year-old – whose GP experience is limited to a couple of wild card appearances at Matterley Basin and Villars sous Ecot in France – admitted that the pressure got to him.
“I was a little bit nervous to be fair. I was pumped to be there but when I went out for practice I started to get a little uptight and a bit stiff and that affected me all day.
“The track’s quite awkward – you have to attack it but at the same time show it some respect and I think riding a bit stiff made it hard work for me. If I was more relaxed it would have come a bit easier.”
Dan ran 7-12 for 10th overall and is aiming to build on this at tomorrow’s penultimate round – the MXGP of Pietramurata – which will be staged at the Trentino track.
“I holeshot the first race and led for about half-a-lap. A couple of the front riders got me early on and then on the third or fourth lap I bent my gear shifter so I was stuck in third gear. Luckily, the way the track is it didn’t hinder me too much but that and the fact I was nervous was mentally a bit distracting.
“Obviously, now I’ve done one I’m looking forward to doing more and hopefully I’ll be more relaxed. It will all be good.”
We’ll be reporting from Trentino tomorrow so stay tuned for updates…