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Victory for Valk and Podium for Gilbert as Gabriel SS24 KTM kick off their MXGB campaign at Lyng!

Victory for Valk and Podium for Gilbert as Gabriel SS24 KTM kick off their MXGB campaign at Lyng!

The season opener of the ACU DirtStore British Championship kicked off at Lyng, Norfolk for the Gabriel SS24 KTM where heavy down pours throughout the day made for a difficult days racing.

Words by Gabriel SS24 KTM – Images Jess Hurley – JHMX

With both Josh Gilbert and Cas Valk back to full fitness the team were excited for the day ahead. In his rookie year in MX2 and fresh to British racing Cas showed his competition that he is one to watch as he went 2.5 seconds quicker in timed qualification.
In race one he had a top 5 start and quickly found himself in 2nd putting the pressure on leader Jack Chambers but the track caught him out and he crashed. After remounting in 7th this is when the grit and determination from Cas really showed as he made impressive headway and finished in 2nd.

In race two he had another top 5 start and settled in third position when within one lap he managed to pass both Rizzi and Heyman for the lead. This is where he would stay and finish 39.5 seconds ahead of second place.

With a 2-1 scorecard this secured Cas top step of the podium and the red plate for round two.

Cas: “It was a good weekend for me at Lyng, I managed to put in a good lap in time practice to line up in pole position. First race I got a decent start and made my way up to second but a little crash caused me to drop back to 7th but I made my way up again to finish P2. In race 2 I got another good start and got into the lead quickly and managed to make a gap on second place to win the moto and the overall! Really happy to win the first race of the championship and I am already looking forward for the next one!”

Just like his team mate Josh also topped timed qualification in MX1 ahead of Mewse in second and 5 time world champion Herlings in third. With the track conditions worsening due to the excessive rain Josh knew getting the start would be important which recently has been his strong point, however he had unusually bad starts in both races and had to work hard to make up ground.

With the tight one lined track Josh was caught up in a crash 3 corners into race one and had to pick himself up in last place. He started making the passes and moving up the field, with 4 laps to go he was just over 16 seconds down on third and knew it would be a tall order to try for this position but Josh didn’t give up and came up just short at the finish line to finish 4th.
Another mediocre start in race 2 saw Josh have his work cut out again but he made the pass on Barr and Todd to get into third. By this time Herlings and Mewse had made a 30+ second gap and with track conditions causing multiple bikes to seize Josh wanted to make sure he made it to the finish so was cautious not to overheat the bike. A 4-3 finish still meant Josh claimed 3rd place on the podium.

Josh: “Overall a little bit of a disappointing day for me, with only having 2 weeks back on the bike following my injury I guess 3rd on the podium is ok although what really hurt me today was my starts. The first moto I had to come from last to 4th, close to 3rd due to coming together with another rider on the first lap. Second moto I had another poor start and by the time I got to third the front two were long gone. I’m looking forward to 3 GPs in a row and then come back in full swing for round 2. A big thanks to my mechanic Gaz and the whole team for the big graft in tough conditions.”

Team Manager Shaun Simpson: “First round of the British Championship was a very positive day for the team. Despite the bad weather and tough conditions both our riders showed great speed and composure during the days racing. Cas showed he is the man to beat and taking the overall on the day was a great way for us as a team to put our stamp on the MX2 title chase, taking the red plate to the next round. Josh struggled with his starts yesterday which is unusual but we will work on that during the next few weeks. He battled hard to come from behind in both races and managed to secure 3rd step on the podium. It’s great to see Josh back on the bike after the elbow injury and having no the issues. We will continue to build over the next 3 MXGP races and come out stronger for round two at Canada Heights in 4 weeks time. A great day for the team and riders to start the MXGP championship. Big thanks to our sponsors for their support to keep us rolling.”