Thorpe on a terrible day for Searle at Fatcat as Nicholls stays strong in the sand

Just a week after Tommy Searle took a double race win and Jay Hague a strong third place at the opening British championship, it was the Crendon Fastrack Honda team’s Jake Nicholls who fared best in the rough conditions in round one of the MX Nationals at Fatcat Motoparc at Doncaster.
Despite not being a fan of the deep sand track, Nicholls rode with dogged determination despite a bad start and a high-speed crash. In the opening heat he rounded the first lap just inside the top ten then worked hard to catch up to the leading group to finish a well-deserved sixth.
But his standout ride was in the second moto, where he had a very poor start and ended the first lap in 27th place. He then staged an incredible comeback, slicing past 19 riders to seventh place just before the half-way point. He then pushed too hard and had a high-speed crash, but was uninjured while his Honda CRF450R had bent handlebars due to the impact. He got back on in 13th place and once again made his way forward to eighth for seventh overall.
Jake Nicholls on the Crendon Fastrack Honda CRF450R at the MX Nationals opener 
 Nicholls said: “I’m happy with how the day went as I never really enjoy this track. In the first race took a steady sixth and was OK with that. Race two I was really enjoying it – although I never enjoyed a lap here in my life before! I had a terrible start and got going, then crashed with a big flying W over the back of the track and bent the bars as the bike landed awkwardly. It took a couple of laps to recompose myself then I passed some more riders. It shows my fitness is good! I can’t remember last time I rode another track as rough as that.”
The team’s biggest disappointment was Tommy Searle who managed two good starts but then couldn’t capitalise on them due to arm pump and a crash. The opening moto saw him at the head of the pack but then arm pump kicked in and he faded back before pulling out to avoid falling. The second race he also had a great start but clashed with another rider in the fourth corner and re-started dead last in 31st. He rode to the end and had a 20th place finish.
Tommy Searle at speed in the second moto following his crash
 Searle said: “At least I am happy with my starts and that was all that was good all day! I had a terrible first race, got arm pump really quickly and really struggled. I felt like I was a danger to myself.
“In race two again I got a good start, then came together with another rider and went down. I didn’t have much about me to get through the pack. There were times where I just wanted to pull in but I carried on as I wanted to learn. I need to put more work in on these tracks – simple as that.
“But I’m happy to be leaving here healthy as I really enjoy racing at the minute. So we live to fight another day.”
Also having a troubled day was the team’s MX2 rider Jay Hague on the all-new 2022 CRF250R for the Crendon Fastrack Honda squad backed by Hitachi Construction Machinery UK. Hague, who had a very bad accident at the circuit last year, struggled badly with arm pump in qualifying and in the opening moto where he took a fighting seventh place. In the second heat he badly jarred his back on only the second lap and had to pull out due to the pain.
Hague said: “It was really bad arm pump that got me today. And in that first moto I came so close to crashing again at the same place I fell hard last year. So not the best day for me.”
The sand flies as Jay Hague cranks open the CRF250R
 Team owner, triple world 500 champion Dave Thorpe, said: “I was so pleased at Jake’s performance. He rode hard, never gave up and seventh overall doesn’t actually reflect just how fast and determined he was and how much effort he put in. Especially in the second race with the track at its roughest, when he had a bad start then worked his way up to seventh before falling. Then he got back on and came through to eighth. Great stuff.

“But obviously the results are very different to last week where we ended on such a high with Tommy winning both motos. The team put in so much hard work so Tommy’s performance today was totally unacceptable for everyone involved as we know what he’s really capable of. And with a round of the British championship here at Fatcats later in the year, he knows there is a lot of work to be done before then. 
“And Jay had really bad arm pump problems then jarred his back on the circuit which was just so brutal. In fact, credit is due to all the riders – from 85cc up in all the classes – who managed to race on such a tough track.”

Words and images: Adam Duckwurth