Team Zip Yamaha’s & Dirt Hub Feature Racer Harry Walker makes strong European Quadcross series debut
Teenager Harry Walker made an impressive start to his 2018 European QX Championship campaign in Holland last weekend where he posted two top ten finishes and showed he can mix it with some of the sport’s very best riders.
Report by Rob Macdonald – Images courtesy of S.Walker
Team Zip ‘ Atv,s R us ‘ Yamaha-backed Walker, (19 years), the second youngest rider in a quality field of 29, was making his European Championship debut at the deep sand track at Oss, in Holland, he looked completely at ease from the very first practice session.
His strong form carried on into Saturday’s 30-minute qualifying race, which is used to determine the start line order for the two point-scoring races the following day.
After a strong start Walker battled throughout the race with Belgium sand specialist, Jan Vlaeymans, eventually finishing behind him in an impressive fifth place. Notably he finished 13 seconds ahead of the next rider, the highly experienced Italian star, Andrea Cesari Jnr.
In Sunday’s opening 30 minute championship moto Walker gated superbly up the long uphill start straight and rounded the sweeping first turn wheel to wheel with the 2014 European Champion, Mike van Grinsven, from Holland.
The Dutchman soon edged ahead and dominated the race, as he would all weekend long, but Walker was now locked in a big battle with a number of riders, including Vlaeymans again, the reigning European champion, Kevin Saar from Estonia, and Dutchmen, Bart Steenbergen & Ricardo Phoelich
However, with two thirds of race completed, the right hand footpeg bolts on Walker’s machine snapped, forcing him to struggle home and dropping him from a possible 5th to an eventual eighth place finish.
Walker’s hopes of a strong overall place were dashed in race two though after a late switch to his number two Zip Yamaha saw him inadvertently head to the gate without his transponder. Last-minute efforts to get it to him on the line fell foul of strict FIM championship rules forcing him to be eliminated.
Despite that disappointment Walker – the youngest ever winner of a British Championship race in 2017 – still ended the day in 15th place overall and he left with the knowledge that he can he competitive in the six-round European Championship.
Walker said: ”My 5th position at this level against all the sand specialists here, I was very pleased with. Equally the 8th in Race one after giving away 3 places due to the foot peg bolts breaking on the right side was good for me and I bagged 13 point. It’ss unfortunate about the technical infringement I picked up in Moto 2 as I was looking forward to using the full sand set up with the purpose built pep’s I have for deep sand. Everything on the bike was working brilliantly until the mechanical shear. We have a great set up with some terrific supporters and products so we intend to do them proud for 2018”
The series now moves to Castelnau de Levis in France on the 8th of April, a fast, steep-sided valley track, which will be a stark contrast to the deep sand of Oss.
Walker’s season continues at West Meon in the south of England this Easter weekend where he will compete in the opening round of the prestigious NORA MX Pro series, before heading off to France the following weekend for round two of the Euro series.
RESULTS, Oss, Holland:
Qualifying race: 1 Mike van Grinsven, Holland (CRQF), 2 Ricardo Phoelich, Holland (WSP) 3 Joe Maessen, Holland (Yamaha). British: 5 Harry Walker (Yamaha).
Race 1: 1 van Grinsven, 2 Maessen, 3 Davy de Cuyper, Belgium (Yamaha). British: 8 Walker.
Race 2: 1 van Grinsven, 2 de Cuyper, 3 Jan Vlaeymans, Belgium (Yamaha).
Overall: 1 van Grinsven 50 points, 2 de Cuyper 42, 3 Maessen 37. British: 15 Walker 13.