Geartec Husqvarna show potential at Culham
The Maxxis British Championship marched into Oxford this past weekend, as the sandy hillside of Culham played host to round one of eight. The Geartec Husqvarna squad were braced to tackle some challenging conditions, thanks to some heavy rain in the hours prior to the event.
Elliott Banks-Browne impressed as soon as the event began, as all he needed was a single lap on the circuit to set the fastest qualifying time. The time that he set, which was a second faster than the rider in third, was more than enough to give him the first gate pick in the two motos. Luke Norris was just as competitive in the MX2 class, as he recorded a lap time that left him fifth.
When the first moto started at midday, Banks-Browne had a strong start inside of the top five. He wasted no time at all, despite a lack of track time in qualifying, and broke into the top three after just two laps. A game of cat and mouse ensued at that point, as EBB gained time on the rider in the runner-up spot before settling for an impressive third place. He also had the second fastest lap time of the race.
A mediocre start hindered Banks-Browne in the second and final moto, as he attempted to go too early and lost a chunk of time right out of the gate. He recovered well, however, and was up to sixth by the halfway point. A freak mechanical issue struck towards theend though, which forced him to give up a spot on the overall podium. Despite that issue, Banks-Browne managed to secure eleventh overall on the day.
Luke Norris, who ended the previous season with an impressive finish, showed great speed in the MX2 class too, but the first of two motos did not quite go to plan. A crash in turn one left him with a considerable amount of work to do. He was not to be deterred, however, as he put his head down following that and charged back into the points by the end of the moto.
The second moto was the complete opposite, as Norris utilised all of the power beneath him to take a clear holeshot. ‘173’ then found himself in an enthralling battle for a spot on the box but, after holding third for eight of the eleven laps, he narrowly missed out and had to settle for fourth. When coupled with his single point from the first moto, Norris was left in twelfth overall.
The Maxxis British Championship will resume on April 9th at the old-school circuit of Lyng in Norfolk. Geartec Husqvarna will be back in action before then, however, as the first round of the Michelin MX Nationals will take place at Preston Docks on April 1st/2nd.
Elliott Banks-Browne: “The day was pretty good. From the beginning of practice I felt good on the bike and set a good lap. In the first race I got an okay start, but had to come through some people, and by the time that I got into third [Steven] Lenoir was riding well in second. In the end I just settled for third, which I was pretty happy with.
“In the second race I felt like I had a lot more to give, but hit the gate and had to come through the pack. I used all of my tear offs up by the time that I got behind Lenoir, but started to catch him a little bit. I really put the hammer down in the last few laps and did start to close it down, but at the bottom of the hill my bike just stopped. It was just the silliest little thing; the wiring limb was rubbing on the frame and one of the wires was shorting out. It was just bad luck again, but it was a good run out for the team.”
Luke Norris: “It was great. It was a shame about the first one really. I got a reasonable start, used the wrong line in the first turn and washed the front. I came from the back, to be fair, and got a point, which was good. The second one was great, as I got the holeshot and led for a few laps. I dropped back a little, but managed to find my way up again. I’m really enjoying it at the moment and we are making some big progress.”