It’s celebration time for former GP rider Mel Pocock. More than two years after he his hand was mangled in a crash that threatened to end his racing career, Pocock finally won a major championship this week and celebrated the birth of his first child. “It’s been the best week of my life,” he said.
The REVO Husqvarna man headed to the new Crookwood track in Wiltshire with a healthy 31-point championship lead. After qualifying in pole on his FC 250 he got a great start in the opening mixed-capacity moto but was involved in a first-turn crash. After being struck by another rider he was forced to play catch-up but carved his way through the field up to ninth in a powerful display of damage limitation.
In race two Mel managed to stay out of trouble in the first turn and emerged second in class which he held until the race was red-flagged which was enough for a 22-point championship-winning margin. After a couple of tough months Jordan Divall also put in a solid performance, running 11-7 for ninth overall on the day.
Pocock said: “It wasn’t plain sailing and I had to duck and dive a bit on the day. After qualifying first I came into the opening turn of race one and was collected in a big crash. I got up feeling pretty second-hand and needed about three laps to recover but I got my head down and pulled through to ninth which isn’t something you really want to be dealing with on the final day of a championship. We’d worked out the points so I knew what was needed in the last race and I managed to pull second from the start and that was enough to button up the championship. For the team to start up on its own at the beginning of the year and secure a title is mega and everyone should be so proud. Everyone works so hard during the week and then makes it work on the weekends as well.”
Jordan Divall said: “The day went all right and it was nice to ride a really well-prepped track with good ruts – the type of dirt I like racing on. Qualifying went okay and I was 10th which gave me a decent gate pick and I got a good start in the opening race and was in fourth when I got arm-pump. There was nothing I could do and dropped back to 11th which is very disappointing but I was really struggling to hold on at times. In the second race I got another decent start and was in seventh and pushing for sixth when the race was red-flagged before I could get myself in a position to make a move. I felt good on the day and want to carry that speed into Foxhill, which is a track I like, for the final Maxxis round and have a strong end to the season.”
Team boss Mark Yates said: “We’ve won the title which is brilliant! Mel came into the final round with a 31-point lead and managed to put himself on pole in qualification but after a great start in the opening race he was taken down in the first turn and took a heavy knock. “He was able to get back on and claw back as many points as he could but it meant the championship went down to the final moto of the series. It was very stressful for the whole team but Mel was very professional, kept his head, had another good start and was second in class which he held until the race was red-flagged. I’m so pleased for Mel – becoming a dad and winning the championship in the same week is fantastic for him – and pleased for the whole team too so a big thank you to everyone involved. Jordan is still struggling a bit with the bike but he had two solid races and a much better second moto which is a really positive.”
Photos Nuno Laranjeira.