RHR Yamaha work hard in the heat at Canada Heights – MX Nationals Round 5 Team Report
In the hottest possible conditions the Rob Hooper Racing Yamaha Motocross team took to the track at a fantastically prepared Canada Heights for the 5th round of the Michelin MX Nationals.
Images courtesy of Elliot Spencer Photography
Despite the hot weather, the dust was kept to a minimum, but the action on track was blisteringly quick so there was air of contentment from the RHR camp after MX1 riders Ryan Houghton, and Kristian Whatley qualified in 6th and 7th in the Pro Class. Their MX2 counterpart Robbie Dowson was down in 27th in the mixed Pro group but qualifying isn’t his forte so there was no pressing the panic button under the RHR awning.
Stamina has been the big issue for Whatley at recent meetings due to the stop start nature of his season so far, but his starting ability is certainly not in question as he hit the first turn in the top 5. On top of that he looked both comfortable and fast in that position, so much so that he moved up to 3rd by the end of lap 5 before the inevitable tiredness kicked in and he dropped back to 8th in MX1.
Houghton on the other hand has shown fantastic fitness this season but his lack of gating prowess has been his bugbear and again in Moto 1 he had to fight through from way down in the pack to 7th in MX1.
Dowson made a half decent start in the first race and made some impressive moves through the field, but a fall on the second from last lap knocked him back a few places, finishing a credible 8th in the Pro MX2 class.
In Moto 2 it was another quick getaway for Whatley, but unlike the first moto his pace didn’t drop and he stayed in 4th position for much of the race for a much needed 5th overall in MX1.
Houghton’s tough day continued as he came down on the second bend and had to work his way through the field from dead last. Unlike in Moto 1 though he was flowing with the bike, recording quick laps and making good progress through the field eventually getting to 7th for 6th overall, which was a great result considering the hard work he had to put in to pull off those race results.
It was second moto misery for Dowson as a crash on lap 2 whilst in a good position put pay to his meeting, as he pulled out of the race with an injured knee.
“It was a satisfactory day” said team Boss Rob Hooper “Kristian is starting to look more like the Kristian of old, and to keep the pace like he did in the second moto was very pleasing. I am very happy for Kristian and he brought home a result very close to what you would expect from him. Ryan had a frustrating first race and struggled to get going, but the second race was a different story. He was dead last after his fall but fought back, dug deep and did really well to come through to 7th. Robbie was riding really well in the first moto until his fall and it was unfortunate that he injured his knee and had to pull out of the second race.”
Ryan, despite losing points to Gert Krestinov, continues to hold 3rd spot in the Pro MX1 standings, albeit tied with the Estonian with one round of the MX Nationals Series to go.
Ryan said of his weekend “I really struggled to get into any kind of rhythm in race 1, but I charged hard in race 2 from dead last to 7th, which was real hard on a track with pretty much one line, but I was able to keep a strong pace until the end of both Moto’s so I am really happy with my fitness.”
It is back to Hawkstone Park in Shropshire this weekend for the team, as they line up for round 4 of the Bridgestone British Masters with Ryan holding second in the MX1 championships.