The 2022 Michelin MX Nationals reached its halfway point as the team descended upon the Cusses Gorse track for round 4 of the championship last weekend.  With the Expert MX2 championship beginning to take shape, Sam Atkinson arrived in Salisbury knowing a strong performance was required to continue his podium streak from Lyng four weeks ago.   He wasted no time in mastering the track, going quickest in timed practice with a margin of over 1.3 seconds.  Qualifying in first place was a brilliant indication of what Atkinson can do aboard that KX250.
Heading to the line for race one, confidence was high and a strong start placed Atkinson inside the top five right away.  Battling with 450cc riders for much of the race the youngster faired really well on the way toward an impressive race win in the MX2 class, his first of the season so far.   Race two was equally as impressive despite rounding the first lap outside the top five, within seven laps he was up into the top three where he would eventually finish, less than a second behind the class winner Nathan Dixon.
Atkinson was looking to continue his string of strong performances and carry Saturday’s momentum into the two penultimate races on Sunday, but a combination of bad starts and intense battles ensured he would have to dig deep for his podium.  In race three a mediocre start would place him in 16th going around the first turn, and after battling with a number of title contenders he had a small crash on lap four.  Despite the minor setback the #127 would quickly regain focus to put on a fine display, passing 4 riders in the next three laps on his way salvaging sixth at the line. 

With the pressure starting to hot up at the sharp end of the championship, the racing on track began to increase in intensity heading into the final race as Atkinson once again had his work cut out following a sub-par start.  As the track began to evolve a number of lines opened up, but with one fast line it was proving difficult for Atkinson to make consistent passes.  Despite this he showed tenacity when it mattered most, battled with title rival Louie Kessel with 3 laps to go, culminating in an intense battle on the final lap where a smart move on the penultimate corner saw the #127 pass his title rival for fifth.   Sam would end the day on 78 points, tied for the overall victory with Nathan Dixon. 

In the highly competitive Pro MX1 class Petar Petrov struggled with the track following poor starts in both races, but showed good race craft during various battles in his attempt to pass riders.  On a track where the starts proved crucial the Bulgarian negotiated the first turn outside the top 20 in both races and therefore had his work cut out to salvage points in both motos.  In race one he was swamped on the start but quickly rode back into the top 20 by the end of the first lap, from there he proceeded to battle with a number of riders, and despite the difficulty in passing, managed to salvage a 10th at the chequered flag.   Race two he faired much the same, lining up on the inside he was once again slow out of the gate and completed the first lap back in 21st place.  He would eventually finished 18th in race two, ninth amongst the 450cc riders.   His 10-9 score on the day would prove enough for 10th overall.
The team now have a short break before round 5 of the ACU British Motocross Championship at Fat Cat Motoparc on the 9th & 10th July, where the team will welcome back Carlton Husband from injury.

Team Owner – Barry Moore: “I’m really pleased with Sam’s performance this weekend, he showed his speed early on in timed practice and continued that into the Saturday races, a couple of bad starts on Sunday led to Sam pushing a bit too hard early on which led to a few mistakes.  But overall massive improvements once again and another step in the right direction and another national podium for the team!  With Petar, again we were very disappointed with the starts, he struggled all weekend and by his own admission we need more from him, but we will continue to work as a team to resolve the starts.  At this national level if you don’t get out of the gate it’s so difficult because the depth across MX2 and MX1 in this class is so strong.   I must also give a special mention to our youth rider Lucas Moncrieff who got fourth overall in the 85cc small wheel class, his best overall result of the season so far, just missing out on the top three.  He looked really good on the KX85 around Cusses Gorse and we have been really impressed with his riding, I’m sure he’ll keep gaining confidence as the year continues.  Lucas will be making the step up to the 85cc Big Wheels class next year and we look forward to keeping him on the team.”

Expert MX2 Rider – Sam Atkinson #127: “Really pleasing weekend for me which started out strong on Saturday morning.  I got the track dialled in quickly in timed practice and was able to take that speed into race one where I got a good start and managed to get into the lead and secured the win.  I had a few more battles to contend with in race two but managed to pass through to second and catch the leader, but the chequered flag dropped too soon for me to make the pass.  On Sunday I struggled a little with my starts which made the races a little more difficult and resulted in a crash in race three.  Race four I had a similar start and had a lot of 250cc and 450cc riders in front of me, but I stayed patient and managed to make a few important passes towards the end to secure 5th and joint 1st overall.” 

Pro MX1 Rider – Petar Petrov #152: “A weekend to forget for me, I just didn’t ride well all weekend and once again my starts just let me down, and whilst I felt ok on the track I really struggled to make passes during the race.  Starts were crucial here and it just made for two difficult races when I was starting outside the top 15.  I’m looking forward though and focusing on the next round, I’ve been really struggling this season so far but I’m still working hard and I know the team is too, we just need to convert this into race results. I know I can do much better than this and I’ll be looking to turn it around at Fat Cat Motoparc in two weeks.  I really want to finish the season strong. A big thanks to the team once again for the hard work they continue to put in.  Right now it feels like we are in a bit of a hole, but we will get there!”