RHR Yamaha’s Ryan Houghton embarked on the long journey southwards to Devon, and Little Silver for the 71st Staging of the famous Patchquick Trophy Motocross meeting on Wednesday, and barring some misfortunate he could have been standing on the podium.
40 years on from team boss Rob Hooper having won the trophy, which is reported to be worth in the region of £20,000, expectations were high that Houghton, who has been enjoying a good run of form could pull off a great result.
With third in qualifying and a good inside gate pick for moto 1 all was locked and loaded for the 3 moto battle for the coveted title.
A good start and first bend saw Ryan quickly into the top 4, on what was a tricky racing surface after the track was watered pre-race. By the time the first lap was completed Houghton was up into second behind British Championship leader Jake Nicholls. On lap three though, last year’s winner for RHR Jake Shipton, sliced his way through in the tricky condition’s relegating Ryan to third. Houghton set chase though, and after finding his feet on a track he hadn’t raced at since he was a schoolboy, started to close in on Shipton, but with passing lines limited and lots of back markers to contend with he couldn’t quite get on to the rear wheel of his rival. By this time local hero Josh Gilbert was putting in fast laps and on the penultimate lap he put a move on Ryan and into third, halting Houghton’s chase on Shipton, and giving him a good 4th place finish.
A poor start in Moto 2 was possibly a blessing in disguise as carnage occurred on the first bend, with more than 12 riders all coming down in a heap. Ryan thought quickly and cut into the inside of the melee but he was still well down the order in about 12th place. Some smart riding saw him in 6th when he passed timing for the first time, and by the third lap he was up into 3rd and chasing down Dan Thornhill for second. Again Gilbert mounted a late charge and passed Ryan before mounting an assault on Thornhill with Houghton following, which is the way they stayed to the chequered flag and another 4th place finish.
Moto 3 was on the line with a blink of an eye, and again Ryan made a poor jump at the start and set about making his customary fightback, but was back in 8th as the dust settled on the first lap. Passing was tough, but by lap 3 Ryan was through to fifth and on the back wheel of Thornhill. A pass on Thornhill would mean third overall and a podium position, but whilst trying to gain ground on his rival he stalled the bike and went back to 9th. Whilst working his way back through the pack he somehow damaged his front brake which failed to work and with light fading Ryan pulled in to relinquish his podium chances.
Again it was another good showing for Ryan, challenging again for a podium position against top class opposition. Ryan was, as always hard on himself saying “I was really looking forward to this one and riding on a Wednesday. It’s a track I really like, but I kind of struggled all day, I didn’t feel comfortable on the track at all. I tightened up a bit in Race 1 and got a bit of arm pump. I haven’t rode for a week, and I felt a bit tight but I knew that would happen. In race 2 I didn’t get arm pump but I felt tight and didn’t feel great, so overall it wasn’t a great days racing for me. But we will move on and I am training in the sand this week ready for Preston Docks and the next round of the British Masters, so we will hopefully have a good weekend and continue my great season. Everything is going really well at the moment, it was a bit of an off day today but we will regroup and crack on”
The teams MX2 rider Robbie Dowson will join the squad on Sunday for the Preston Docks round of the Bridgestone British Master’s with Ryan currently sitting in second place in the Pro MX1 standings.