First-ever MX Nationals race win for Hammal – Rob Hooper Racing Team Report
Taylor Hammal nailed his first-ever MX Nationals Pro race win yesterday for Rob Hooper Racing Yamaha at a super technical and rutty Landrake circuit in Cornwall.
Images courtesy of Warren Kee
Hammal’s form in recent weeks has been sensational, and coming up against Conrad Mewse who had just finished 6th in the MXGP of Kegums, and double champion Josh Gilbert didn’t faze the 20-year-old.
Straight off the bat, Hammal was fast, with fourth in Qualifying behind Gilbert, Mewse and the Estonian Jorgen Talviku with fellow RHR teammate Sam Nunn in fourteenth.
A customary poor start in Moto 1 didn’t hold Taylor back as within a few laps he was into third behind Gilbert and Talviku, the latter taking a big tumble which Hammal was lucky to miss.
With the Estonian out of the battle it left Taylor to close in and apply the pressure on Gilbert for the lead, and it worked as Gilbert was forced into a mistake giving Taylor the lead. Sensing his first-ever MX Nationals win was in sight Hammal fired in with some super-fast laps, but so did Gilbert and the pace these two were racing at meant they left their GP rival Mewse in their wake. Three intense laps followed with the last lap from both racers being their fastest, matching their front running MX1 counterparts, but with a final burst of speed, it was Taylor who took the chequered flag and his first-ever MX Nationals race win.
In the same race, Nunn was also putting in a good shift working hard to get up to seventh and chasing down sixth only to fall at the end of the moto dropping down to tenth.
The chance of the overall for Hammal was in tatters as early as the third bend of the first lap of the second moto, as a collision with another rider put him on the deck and 15 seconds behind anyone else. In a determined mood, Taylor was soon in the pack and making swift passes, phenomenally getting up into the top ten by the end of lap two, but this fightback was quelled on lap three when another crash undid all of his excellent work, and once again he was in dead last. Showing true grit and determination Taylor never gave up, finishing a fantastic seventh in the race which meant he was once again on the podium with third overall and promoting him to second in the championship standings.
Sam also had his turn in dead last as poor getaway saw him right at the tail end of the field from the get-go, but like Hammal he never gave up finishing fourteenth and twelfth overall.
The teams MX1 pilot Tony Craig didn’t have the best of days after an awkward crash in the first moto left him nursing an ankle injury. Never one to give up Tony still took his place in the second moto finishing seventeenth for twenty-first overall.
Team Boss Rob Hooper was in a jubilant mood after the event saying “The whole team are buoyed by Taylors first race win. He was a bit unfortunate to have been knocked off early in the second moto, but Taylor has ridden great, and his speed is fantastic. He has made the podium and moved into a clear second place in the championship, and you can’t be unhappy with that. Sam has had two good rides. It is all about gaining experience for Sam; there is no expectation to get results like there is with Taylor. So on a team perspective, we had a good day. Tony in typical Tony fashion put on a brave face after a crash in the first race and went out in the second race, and I am sure he is feeling a bit second-hand today. But we are going home very happy.”
“The weekend was eventful for me, grabbing my first race win at an MX Nationals”, said Taylor “which I am made up, and well chuffed with it, to then being rode into on the second corner of the second race and being dead last. In the first race I had a terrible start but then just passed and passed as many riders as a could and got up to second behind Gilbert. He crashed but was right on me for the last three laps, but I managed to hold him off which I was over the moon with. The second race was so frustrating for me as I crashed twice being dead last to come back to 7th. I still managed another podium, so it was still a cracking day. I absolutely loved the track, and it’s definitely one of the best tracks in the country. The Mx Nationals crew and the track guys did a cracking job with it. Massive thank you to the whole team at RHR Yamaha, the sponsors and everyone involved.”
Sam Nunn said of his day “It was step in the right direction from Hawkstone. Two tough motos, but lots of positives to take out from it and we look forward to the next round.”
The team return to MX Nationals duty in two weeks time when the series heads to Cusses Gorse MX in Wiltshire on the 5th and 6th September for round three of the championship.