Mel Pocock stormed into an eight-point EMX250 series lead with second overall at round two of the European championship at Agueda in Portugal.
His team-mate Martin Barr, who’s still carrying ligament damage in his right hand, also put in two brave rides to end the weekend in sixth and maintain his fourth position in the title chase but Dylan Woodcock didn’t qualify.
Heavy rain in the weeks leading up to the event resulted in a rough and rutted circuit which tested technique through every turn, along every straight and over every jump.
Mel and Martin eased into the points-paying races with fifth in their qualification groups but Dylan was eliminated in the LCQ.
Mel gated well in Saturday’s opener and was holding third in the closing stages before slipping to fourth at the flag. Martin was also near the front but struggled to hold onto his FC 250 on the steep, punishing downhills and dropped to ninth.
In moto two on Sunday morning Mel was a race-long third before losing a place on the last lap but his consistent 4-4 card, coupled with his title rivals’ poor form, helped him overturn a five-point deficit at the top of the table.
Martin had been fourth but a crash on lap one dropped him to 16th before he staged an epic charge back up the field to seventh.
Mel Pocock – 2nd (4-4)
“It was a great, super-technical weekend of racing – it was all down to making smart line choices and correct technique in the ruts to try and keep upright.
“If I’m honest I should have really had two thirds and I’ve got some more speed I need to find but at the moment my consistency is paying off. I’ve got an eight-point lead which we’re proud about but it’s a long season – it’s always nice to carry the red plate but it only really matters who has it after the last race of the championship.
“A big thanks to the team for all their continued hard work.”
Martin Barr– 6th (9-7)
“I’m struggling with the ligaments – it’s my right hand so it’s doing quite a bit of work with the throttle and the front brake. It never really got a rest with the track being so rough, deep and sticky and took quite a beating.
“It’s very frustrating, especially because I know I can go a lot faster so I’m just having to look at the bigger picture at the minute and try and get as many points as I can.
“All things considered, if that was a bad weekend I’ll take it because I’m only 11 points off Mel and there are still 18 races to go. I’ve no doubt that once I’m 100 per cent fit again I’ll be back at the front where I know I should be.”
Dyan Woodcock – DNQ
“I keep having tough weekends but every week I’m trying to get better. At the moment when I go to EMX rounds I worry that I can’t do it but I can do it. I showed at Culham that I can put in that one fast lap that you need to qualify.
“I’ve got my home race at Canada Heights coming up this weekend so my focus is on that and trying to get two solid results.”