Phoenix Even Strokes Kawasaki descended upon the historic Hawkstone track in Shropshire for round five of the Michelin MX Nationals looking for podium success in the Expert and Pro classes, and they were richly rewarded!
Sam Atkinson flew the team flag on Saturday, competing in the Expert MX2 class where he was sitting second in the championship heading into the weekend. He showed solid speed all weekend but struggled with his bike settings on day one which left him with a 11-4 scorecard. Heading into Sunday the team made some changes to the bike and immediately Atkinson found his groove, finishing third in race three, and fifth in the final moto, to take home fifth overall. Sam maintains his second position in the Expert MX2 championship, only 35 points off the lead, with one round remaining.
In the Pro ranks Petar Petrov started strongly in the morning timed sessions with a fifth aboard his KX450, whilst teammate Carlton Husband qualified in seventh. As the midday sun shone down on the start gate the riders headed to the line. Petrov, who has been plagued by poor starts all year rounded the first turn outside the top 15 and had it all to do, but he quickly found his groove and charged back up to finish sixth. In race two Petar was just outside the top 10 at the end of the first lap, from there is clicked off consistently fast laps to pass back up into the top three where he would finish. A solid weekend where the Bulgarian was able to show his raw speed culminated with his first Michelin MX Nationals podium.
In the Pro MX2 class Carlton Husband entered race one looking for a solid points haul after missing the previous two rounds through injury, and promptly started the weekend with a fifth overall in moto one. A stunning performance from Husband in moto two would see him as the first 250cc to cross the finish line, taking the race victory by over three seconds. That race win, his first in the Pro MX2 ranks this year, resulted in the #6 standing on the second step of the podium, only 1 point away from the overall victory!
Team Owner – Barry Moore: “Firstly, awesome for Carlton getting his first pro race win! I’m so pleased I was there to witness that! Great for the team and great for Carlton. Petar also did a great job, backing his team mate up with a podium, a really good day for him. Sam was super consistent once again and was unlucky to only come away with a fifth overall, it could have been completely different. It was really close all weekend and could have easily been another podium. Likewise Lucas had another consistent weekend with a sixth overall in the 85cc small wheel class. But obviously all of our thoughts right now are with Jason who is in hospital, there is no update as yet, but everyone on the team is sending him our best wishes for a speedy recovery.”
Pro MX2 Rider – Carlton Husband #6: “A lot of positives this weekend! I actually made a couple of mistakes in qualifying by just blowing out berms, but I felt good so I was quite confident going into the races. I suffered with arm pump in the first race but just got my head down and got on with it, I was riding strong and happy with a fifth. In the second moto I actually got a terrible start but managed to push through to around third by the halfway point after making some aggressive passes. Then a few things happened in front of me and before I knew it I was leading the race, I had a few battles in the closing stages of the race but managed to keep the lead and take my first pro race win, which I’m over the moon with. Massive thanks to Barry and the team, it was great to see them all so happy. Now we focus on finishing the season strongly.”
Pro MX1 Rider – Petar Petrov #152: “The weekend was much better for me, finally getting a podium! I felt like I rode well all day, my starts still weren’t the best so I was working hard to come from behind, but I felt like I could match the speed of the top guys in that second moto which is really pleasing. In the second race I was strong all moto, charging back from 13th to third. Overall it’s a positive weekend, I’m satisfied with my riding, there is still some work to do to try to improve, but it was about time I scored a podium and I’m excited to finish to the last few rounds strong and be up there where I think I should have been from the beginning of the season. It’s been a long road back from the injuries I suffered last year, but big thanks to the team for this!”
Expert MX2 Rider – Sam Atkinson #127: “An up and down weekend for me, I was pleased with my pace all weekend. We struggled a little with bike setup on Saturday, but still raced strongly and was leading both the first and second races before crashing. We made some changes for the final two races on Sunday and I was more comfortable with my settings which showed on track as I finished third in moto three and was battling with the race leaders.”