Pictures by Warren Kee
Taking place at the legendary Hawkstone Park circuit the Pro entry was the strongest it has ever been with riders having to qualify for their place in the Fastest 40.
Gaining a clear lap in qualifying was a struggle, and it hampered the times of the riders who failed to put in their fastest lap of the circuit early. Taylor Hammal would finish qualifying in MX2 in 11th, but it was heartbreak for Howard Wainwright and Sam Nunn who both missed the cut in 23rd and 25th place. The elder statesman of the team Tony Craig made the top 40 with 18th in MX1.
When the gate dropped for Moto one of the Fastest 40 pro race, Hammal was almost last giving him a huge struggle to catch up with the front runners of his class with not only his MX2 rivals but also the bigger MX1 450’s to pass. But passing is something Taylor does with ease, and by the three-quarters mark of the race, he was up into third in the MX2 group and firing in superfast laps. Third was the highest he could reach, but his speed and passing ability were evident.
A poor, but slightly improved start for Taylor in Moto 2 meant more of the same battling spirit would be needed and once again he carved his way through the field to finish third in MX2 and third overall for the day after finishing on the same points as second-place finisher Steven Clarke.
“The weekend went a lot better than I was expecting to be honest after being ill all week and not training,” said Taylor of the weekend. “I had no energy all day but still managed to pull through in both races to 3rd, for 3rd overall. My starts haven’t changed since last year and were absolutely dreadful. I really need to work on them for the next round. Overall, it was a good start to the championship and my first MX Nationals podium. Massive thank you to the team, Rob and Will, all the sponsors and people that help me out. Onto the next one.”
Tony rode well in MX1, finishing a very credible 14th in the opening moto in a stacked line up and 18th in the second one for 17th overall.
Sam and Howard both rode in the Expert race as non-qualifiers. A fall for Howard in the first moto when battling at the front of the field ended his day while Sam bounced back from a first race fall to finish as the best MX2 rider in the second race.
Team Boss Rob Hooper said of the day “Taylor has ridden ever so well again, it’s just his starts that are still lacking. He had his work cut out, and he hasn’t been feeling particularly well all week and to grind out two races the way he did, passing the number of people he did, and to get the results that he ended up with I thought was brilliant. I thought he rode with a lot of guts, a lot of determination and showed phenomenal speed. For Sam and Howard to miss the cut was disappointing, but that’s the way it is, and they need to be faster. Tony rode really well in the first race in a very tough MX1 class. We are now looking forward to racing this Wednesday at Cusses Gorse”.
Taylor, Sam and Howard will all be action in this Wednesday at the third staging of the “Rock it ‘til Sundown” Midweek Summer MX Classic at Cusses Gorse MX in Wiltshire.