The resumption of racing in MXGP has seen the Hitachi KTM fuelled by Milwaukee team pushed to the limits in order to complete three races in the space of a week, but the team emerged with plenty to show from their time in Latvia, with Conrad Mewse building his form to a crescendo of a sixth overall in the final race in Latvia at the Kegums Grand Prix.
The team’s time in Latvia has not been straight forward, and despite solid preparations for the return of racing, Bas Vaessen outshone Conrad Mewse in the first event, despite suffering from a back injury sustained in his last preparation race before the first Latvia race. The roles reversed for the second races held on the Wednesday with Vaessen struggling with injury and Mewse getting up to pace, skirting with the top ten. In the third, things came together much better for Mewse, while Vaessen struggled to put any laps together.
In hot and sunny conditions, the team adjusted to the revised final layout that has enabled three races to be staged in such a short time. Vaessen’s participation was in doubt due to not being able to find any relief for his back problem. However, Mewse found the track conditions more to his favour and set himself up with the fourth best qualifying time. An average first lap meant that there was work to do to climb from eighth on the first lap, but finding a rhythm, Mewse hit fifth on lap three, and with a cushion in front and behind him took that place at the finish line. Vaessen failed to finish.
Race two saw a better opening lap to get the Hitachi man into third spot before slipping down from lap seven. Battling hard but with his rhythm upset, Mewse couldn’t regain the podium sport, eventually finishing the race in seventh, to take sixth position in the GP and climbing into the top ten of the championship standings. With a three week gap to the next race, Mewse will be looking to consolidate his form, while Vaessen concentrates on getting his back in shape. Vaessen failed to make it to the startline.
Meanwhile, in MXGP last minute signing Adam Sterry managed to get comfortable on his new KTM 450 SX-F and get his head down to deliver results for the team. Progress came in the heat of Latvia, culminating in a 16th and points for the team, who have not raced in the class for a few years.
Conrad Mewse, MX2:“Each of the events in Latvia has been tough, but the good thing is that we’ve learned and made progress during each session. Every time we went out on track we were able to find something to work on and it all started to fall into place by the last two races. We put it together for qualifying which went well and it was nice to finally get two good starts in each race, which put me in a great position in the opening laps of each race. Thanks to the team who put in a big effort all week, and I’m glad I could get some decent results for them. We head off to the next race in a positive frame of mind.”
Bas Vaessen, MX2:“It’s been a tough week because I went into it struggling. It’s been diagnosed as a bulging disc in my spine, so it’s been pretty painful and I’ve been trying to manage it with painkillers, physio and saunas and ice. Even then, it’s been tough. One lap would be OK, 20 minutes just able to do, but anything more than that would really become a problem. I was running OK in the first race on Wednesday, coming from last to around 18th but then another rider clipped me and that was that, that was the best it got for me so it’s been frustrating. I have an appointment with a doctor at home tomorrow so we’ll see where we go from there.”
Adam Sterry, MXGP:“After a rush to get everything ready and not sure if I’d be on the line in Latvia. I was really happy when the team managed to sort everything out so fast meaning we could race. After not racing for so long and on a new team and bike it was always going to be a tough few races. I rode tight but each race we made progress, improving each time and ended up with a 16th in the last race. It was good to get back racing and working properly with the team. We will go back now, work on what we need to and keep on improving every race.”
Roger Magee, Team Principal: “The week in Latvia with 3 GPs was particularly grueling for not just the riders, but all of the Team. It took Conrad and Bas some time to get back on the pace and Bas struggled all week with a bruised disc in his back which ended his week on a low. Conrad put it all together in the GP of Kegums with an excellent timed practice which saw him have a competitive gate-pick for both Motos. He then went on to finish P5 and P7 respectively, giving him and overall GP classification of P6, elevating him to P9 in the overall 2020 MX2 World Championship. I want to thank all of our Team for their hard work and professionalism over the past few months in what has been unprecedented times and uncertainty, and look forward to the rest of the GP calendar.”