After a long hard days competitive racing two team GB riders climbed on to the top step of the winner’s podium at this year’s Coupe de l’Avenir as class individual winners and one of the three-man teams finished in a fine third place.
But a couple of injuries and a broken race bike robbed the team of the overall result they deserved and left the French team the winners, matching their adult MXoN team a week earlier.
Josh Gilbert was unstoppable form taking the first two open class wins in style but was beaten by Estonian rider Karel Kutsar in the last race as Kutsar, along with his two other fellow countrymen, took the overall open team award.
But Gilbert added his name to a long list of winners that includes a lot of GP winners. “I didn’t really expect to come over here and achieve what I have today,” said a champagne-soaked Gilbert, “After looking at the entry list and seeing some GP riders I thought I would be happy with perhaps top five and I would have been over the moon with a top three. But to come away with a couple of wins and a second I am really pumped.”
An open class team disaster struck early on in the first race when Liam Knight slipped off his Kawasaki while in fourth place in turn two and had to fight his way to the front.
The team fought their way back to the front over the next couple of races and look like they might just get a food on the podium in third till Knight’s bike’s engine cried enough with just a couple of laps to go and the team ended up fourth to Estonia, Switzerland and Sweden.
The 85s were a disaster with Louie Kessel a non-starter as he was at the hospital having his wrist seen to after he came off in Saturdays qualifying race.
Bobby Bruce was third for six laps of the first race till a heavy crash knocked him out and he joined Kessell at the hospital to be checked out.
This left last year’s 65cc winner Charlie Hayman the sole rider in the 85s and he put in three strong rides but without backup didn’t feature in the overall results.
Wal Beaney was the star of the 65s, taking both wins with ease and with Finlay Evans finish in the top twenty in both races and with Ben Mustoe scoring good points despite having a hurt knee in the second race after being t-boned in race one. Words and photos by Dick Law.