The Highs and Lows! Rob Hooper Racing Yamaha on round 2 of the Maxxis British Motocross Championships
A dry and super-fast Canada Heights circuit provided a different proposition for the Rob Hooper Racing Yamaha Motocross team in the 2nd round of the Maxxis British Motocross Championships.
With the early part of the season close to a full wash out, and with the meeting’s that were held being mud races, the nature of the conditions threw up different challenges to the team who came away from the Kent circuit with points on the board but yearning for more.
For MX1 rider Kristian Whatley it was tough going from the get go with a 14th in qualifying. A good start in moto1 bode well but he dropped back to finish 14th. In moto2 there was some improvement with another good jump that saw him with the lead pack on lap one, but still struggling for a set up he dropped back to 11th in the Race and overall.
“I started the day feeling good, then I had a 14th in qualifying which I was really disappointed with.” said Kristian “I was just really struggling with my set up, I had good jumps at the start in both my races but I didn’t feel good on the bike and dropped back. The second moto we made changes and it felt better, but we have a lot of work to do to get it right.”
A 7th in qualifying for Ryan Houghton in MX1 put him in a positive frame of mind going into the opening Moto. His moto began with a strong start, and by the end of lap one he was with the front runners and up into 6th position. With a fall from Tommy Searle by mid race he was upto 6th before the Kawasaki rider passed him back. With three laps to go Evgeny Bobryshev crashed out, so again Ryan moved into 6th where he stayed for the remainder of the moto. In Moto 2 an opening lap fall meant some early hard charging for the 119 but by the end of lap two he was up into 7th. With other title contenders also fighting through the pack, and struggling with the low sun without a helmet peak courtesy of the lap one crash, he fell back to 9th position which gave him 8th overall, with him in 6th position in the standings after 2 rounds with Kristian in 8th.
The team hero of the day was young MX2 racer Robbie Dowson. Never one to put in a quick qualifying lap, he recorded a time which gave him 25th gate pick which is a huge improvement on the last gate pick from round one. After a cracking start, he was in a collision on the 1st lap which placed him in 21st, but after working his way up to 19th he crashed again and found himself right at the back of the pack. In customary Dowson fashion he picked himself and weaved his way through the pack to score his first championship points of the season and a 19th place finish.
In moto 2 everything came together for the North Yorkshire lad who made a great start which put him in 11th position. Showing good speed and with a comfortable lead over those behind him he rode well to come home in a fantastic 10th place which gave him 11th overall on the day and 5th in the Expert Cup. Robbie said of his result “It was good day for me going 11th overall with a 19-10 score. Both races I had consistent speed but unfortunately in the first moto I crashed. I’m looking forward to the next round and hopefully iron out the little mistakes, so I can have two results around the top 10”.
Team boss Rob Hooper has mixed emotions after the meeting, summarising the day he said “Ryan was a bit unlucky today really. He came off in his second race after a good start and then struggled with the sun after losing his peak. Kristian struggled all day really, his second moto was better but neither races are what you would expect from him. Maybe it’s to do with the fact that this weekend was on a dry hard track, whilst the meetings before when the bike set up was close to how he likes it were in wet and soft conditions. I would say that in MX1 today was a decent day for Ryan but a disappointing day for Kristian. Robbie Dowson though in MX2 turned his day round with a really good ride in his second moto to come 10th with 11th overall so we are really happy for him as he hasn’t had the best of luck so far this season. Summarising, I would say it was not the best of days but not a complete disaster either; everyone has come away in one piece. Kristian will no doubt be disenchanted with his day, Ryan contented with his and Robbie very pleased with his second result.”
The team now look towards the opening round of the British Masters this weekend at Culham.
Photo Credit: Elliot Spencer