Round 2 of the MXGP Championship at Valkenswaard in Holland proved a bitter battle against the weather and track for Hitachi ASA KTM UK, but Conrad Mewse left the sandy circuit with fourth overall in the MX2 class while defending British champion Graeme Irwin continues to find his form in the premier class.
In MX2, Conrad Mewse riding the #426 KTM 250 SX-F is demonstrating the talent that saw him become the 2013 85cc World Champion.
Despite crashing out of Saturday’s qualifying race after 3 laps, Mewse cruised back to the pits with a bike too badly damaged to continue and looking like he had injured his wrist. But with a clean bill of health, the 18-year old came out of the blocks in stunning form on Sunday, topping the morning warm-up session to demonstrate his speed.
In Race 1 it was a show of dominance for the Red Bull KTMs of defending champion, Pauls Jonass, chased home by teammate Jorge Prado. Finishing the opening lap in fourth place, Mewse dropped back to seventh but then upped his pace, taking advantage of a mistake by Hunter Lawrence and working up to fifth place.
Lapping faster than the leaders, a small mistake with 10 minutes to go at the bottom of the hill saw the youngster crash, but quickly remounted without losing a place. He eventually crossed the line in fifth, 25 seconds behind Jonass at the flag.
In Race 2, Mewse was a lot closer to the leaders and after 17 punishing laps in the deep sand, Mewse finished an impressive fourth – just 1.7 seconds behind Olsen in third.
The 5-4 finish saw the Shepton Mallet rider fourth overall at the GP, scooping 30 points.
Carrickfergus-born Graeme Irwin continues a steady start to his World Championship career onboard the KTM 450 SX-F. After scoring points in both motos at the opening round and confident of a top-15 in Holland, from the two bitterly cold races it would only amount to two points for the #55 rider as he finished 19-21.
Red Bull KTM’s Jeffrey Herlings won both outings, chased home each time by teammate and defending champion, Antonio Cairoli, both riding the KTM 450 SX-F.
Graeme Irwin said: “I started off the weekend not so bad, but in the Qualifying race I had a really good start but got taken out on first lap, which put me right back. After getting going, I then had another crash but this time went over the bars and the bike hit me in back. That put me dead last but I managed to work up to 24th and that was the end of Saturday!
“In Race 1 I struggled; I just couldn’t find a rhythm. The conditions were pretty crazy; it was freezing – but no excuses as it was the same for everyone else. I crossed the line in 19th for two points.
“In Race 2 I got an average start but was soon coming up through the pack. I was making a pass for 16th and then made a mistake and washed the front out. That twisted the bike, but I got back up and finished 21st.
“I’m really disappointed not to score points in the second race as I really feel I could have got a top 15. But it is what it is and need to put my head down and do better at Redsand and demonstrate what I know I’m capable of.”
The Hitachi ASA KTM UK team will be back in action next weekend for Round 3 of the MXGP series at Redsand MX Park, Valenciana in Spain on March 25.