Feature Team Report – RHR Yamaha grind out another good Maxxis result at Duns!
In the mirk and mire that descended on the Duns circuit in Scotland, the Rob Hooper Racing Yamaha team came home with another strong Maxxis British Motocross Championships result.
Images courtesy of Elliot Spencer
The track was in pristine condition as the riders went out for practice and qualifying. As they have been in many meetings this year, the teams MX1 racers Kristian Whatley and Ryan Houghton were joined together in 9th and 10th respectively. Although sore from his crash at last weekend’s British Masters, MX2 rider Robbie Dowson put in a good lap for him and qualified 18th.
With the rain starting to fall the opening MX2 race took to the line, and as they roared from the gate it wasn’t long before Robbie was caught up in an incident which resulted in a dislocated shoulder and ended his day.
With conditions worsening for the first MX1 moto a good start was pivotal, and it was Whatley who fired into the first bend first with a clear holeshot and some early race clear vision. Houghton too was towards the front end of the pack in about 5th, but in the thick of the action he was pushed back to 12th.
Kristian was running a good pace and was holding his own in the top 5 by the mid-point of the race, whilst Ryan was digging deep and fighting his way forwards. By lap 6 Houghton had moved through on his team mate and into 5th position, where he stayed for his best race finish of season in the British Championships. Whatley’s stamina is starting to come back and he held onto a good 7th position as the chequered flag was shown.
That was to be the only MX1 race of the day, as the second moto was abandoned due to the thick fog which filled the track. With visibility poor, the organisers took the decision to cancel the race in the interest of safety.
With just the Moto 1 points to count, Ryan finished a season best 5th overall, with Kristian in 7th, and in doing so Houghton consolidates his 6th in the standings, while Whatley moves up a position to 11th.
“The first race was a really good result for us” said Team Boss Rob Hooper “There were only real good riders in front of our lads, and some very good ones behind, so a 5th for Ryan and 7th for Kristian in tough conditions was very good.
“I was disappointed for Ryan that the second race was cancelled. He could have had another good ride, consolidated his position, and could have made the podium. I just know that Ryan is a rider to grind out a gritty race, and the conditions called for that. Kristian’s start was outstanding and how he does it no one knows, but he held in there and rode very well for the 7th.”
Although happy with his best overall position this year, Ryan was frustrated not to get out on track for the second moto saying “I felt really awkward in qualifying, nothing gelled together, but I knew I had miles more in the tank. I had a really good start in the first race in the top 5, but a rider came up the inside and slammed me, and I came out of the corner about 12th. I got up to ninth in lap one, but stayed there for about three laps. I had rain go down the back of my laminates, so even though I was taking them off I still couldn’t see. So I took my goggles off and worked my way from ninth to fifth and pulled a big gap behind me and was matching the times of those ahead of me.
“It was a really good result. My best of the season in the Maxxis. I am starting to feel really good in the mud, and I felt if I had gated I could have run top three. I was gutted when the second race was cancelled as it was getting even wetter, and I ride really well when it’s real wet.”
With continued improvement from Kristian he said of his weekend “It was another good weekend for me, and I feel like I am getting stronger and stronger! Qualifying went ok for me, I had a couple of riders in my way, but I made one good lap which got me 8th. In the first race I had a really good start and got the holeshot, but I had loads of water behind my tear offs, and kept pulling them off until I had none. I dropped back to 7th and rode my own race to stay there until the end.”
It’s a week’s rest now for the team before they make their fourth trip to Hawkstone Park this year for round 7 of the Maxxis British Motocross Championships. As this stage it looks unlikely that Robbie Dowson will be fit enough to ride in this event.