Saturday race report: British MXGP
A day that started in bright sunshine ended in chilly winds but with a breathtaking EMX125 race that produced a British hero.
The real Conrad Mewse finally showed up two weeks ago in Spain and today he was the main to beat at Matterley Basin. He passed Natzke, Prado and Renaux to get into the lead only to lose the front wheel before the finish line and wash out.
The Brit remounted in second then proceeded to catch the leader Renaux and pull back an eight second gap to be on the Frenchman’s rear wheel on the last lap! But Mewse just could not find a place to pass as Renaux hung on for a breathless victory while Mewse stole the hearts of the crowd with a simply stunning performance.
It was joy once more for Valentin Guillod in MX2 after he passed Herlings, Jonass and Tixier (on the last lap) to take a superb win. Guillod did a mammoth whip over the finish line to signify his joy in what really was a brilliant ride.
Guillod said: It’s going pretty well since Spain but it is all the work we do during the week. We have found a good set-up and I can show what I can do. It’s only Saturday but it’s always good to win but tomorrow is a new day,
Both Guillod and Mewse are showing just how important confidence is in this sport and after their results last time out in Spain it is like they finally believe they deserve to be at the front and expect to be there now, no matter who is in front of them.
Tony Cairoli did a Tony Cairoli in MXGP, he got the holeshot and controlled the race, he had a two second lead and when Desalle closed in, Cairoli put in the fastest lap of the race with two laps to go to secure the win.
Cairoli said: The start is important, the track is prepared less than the years before, there are not many lines. At the beginning everything was very close but we could control the gap and take the win. The years before the track was more fun to ride, maybe tomorrow with some rain it will be better.
“I haven’t done much testing because after Spain my hand was a bit sore so I took a few days rest. I am already really happy with the bike.”
Shaun Simpson was a solid seventh and had this to say: “It was good, but the preparation of the track is different. Everyone is going more or less the same speed. I was happy with my speed because it’s not conditions I’m known for being great on. My dad and I built a new race bike this weekend and I feel really comfortable on it.”
With rain predicted tomorrow it could be a totally different track facing the riders but for today it was fast, hard pack and choppy.
It was conditions Mike Alessi just could not get used and was off the pace all day, 21st in free practice, 18th in timed but then he lost ten places for jumping on a yellow flag. In the qualifying race Mike struggled to pass Ashley Wilde for half the race before crashing out of 21st and getting back to 21st by the flag, Tony Alessi wasn’t happy with the shock settings but it will take more than that to get him on the pace.
Britain’s fastest MXGP wildcard rider Graeme Irwin got his dream start in sixth but crashed on the first lap then rifled his way passed four riders in two corners (including Alessi and Boog) in frustration before climbing up to 19th but once Boog re-passed the Suzuki man, Irwin settled for 20th. Points are a realistic goal for the British wildcard tomorrow on that performance.
Report: Jonathan McCready