The weekends MXGP of Great Britain provided a challenging proposition for the Rob Hooper Racing Yamaha duo of Taylor Hammal and Maddy Brown who both acquitted themselves well in World-class competition and in extremely tough conditions.
Feature Picture by Ray Archer
The fantastic Matterley Basin venue was storm-battered and wet, and Saturday’s action was put back and condensed.
The change in schedule meant a joint Free practice and timed session for Taylor on Saturday who was competing in the MX2 World Championship category for the first time. The times from this session would decide the gate pick for Sunday’s races, which as always is hugely important, and Taylor put in a good lap within the time constraints to qualify in 28th.
With the sun out and the big crowd gathering, and with many coming along to support local boy Hammal, nerves were jangling in the RHR camp for Moto one. A good start put Taylor on the fringes of the top 20, and as the laps were reeled off he showed his speed and ability to ride at this level and a 26th finish ahead of many top-level riders was a terrific result.
Another good start in Moto 2 saw Taylor once again battling it out mid-pack, but a fall on lap two put him back to dead last, but as we saw last year you can’t keep the Hammal down and he kept plugging away the whole moto long, working his way up to a credible 30th position.
“I was pleased with Taylor,” said Team Boss Rob Hooper, “he was nervous all weekend to be riding with the best in the world, but I thought he acquitted himself well. To catch up the way he did from last in the second race shows the determination the lad has and that bodes well for what is a long domestic season ahead of us”.
“For my first ever GP I felt like it went better than I expected it to go,” said Taylor. “It started off with it being chaos in qualifying, I missed all of practice due to an issue and then only getting five laps in, but I ended up 28th which was okay. In the first race, I started off on the first lap around 20th and then rode the whole race in 23rd until the last three laps. I was just so nervous I was just riding so tight the whole race and then dropped back to 26th, which was still good. I then crashed in the second race on the second lap, being dead last and catching up to 30th. Overall, it was a great experience and a good way to start the year off.”
For Australian Maddy who was racing in the Women’s Motocross World Championship class, the conditions were a polar opposite to what she has been riding back home and the track proved heavy going for her qualifying in 26th out of the 44 entered riders. This result was matched in the first moto on Saturday when the conditions were at their toughest. An early morning start Sunday on a still heavy circuit saw Maddy battle her way to a 25th position.
Team Manager Rob said of Maddy’s weekend “Maddy and her family have been a pleasure to work with and be around. It was always going to be hard for her with the track in the state it was and having not ridden competitively since August, but she never gave up, and you can see the talent she has. We would welcome them back to ride with us anytime, and we wish her the best of luck in her Australian Championships this year.”
Maddy said of her British adventure “I for sure have to give a massive shout out to Rob Hooper Racing for making this opportunity come about. Rob and his team did more than enough to provide me with such great equipment for the weekend.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t get the results I was expecting of myself. Whether it was due to the conditions of the track, or due to arriving in England just four days before the race, I am not sure. I tried my best with some adversity, and I still enjoyed the GP experience, working with another team of people and taking it all in. Overall, it has made me want to keep progressing as a rider. Once again massive thanks to Yamaha and everyone else involved for this opportunity.”
The team start their domestic Championship season this weekend at Culham for the first round of the Bridgestone British Masters where Howard Wainwright will join Taylor in the Pro MX2 category. Sam Nunn heads to Valkenswaard in Holland to take part in the first round of the European EMX250 Championship.