Tommy Searle and his Crendon Fastrack Honda team-mate Jay Hague both took podium finishes in the thrilling second round of the MX Nationals championship at a wet and tough Landrake circuit in Cornwall on Sunday. British champ Searle was third overall in the MX1 class while Hague – only recently back on the bike after contracting Covid-19 – also finished third in the MX2 category after a dramatic last lap battle to decide the overall honours.
The opening moto of the combined MX1 and MX2 pro classes saw Searle get a rapid start on his Honda CRF450R, rounding the first corner in second place behind Harri Kullas. But he was soon put under pressure by Josh Gilbert, and the pair engaged in a race-long battle which allowed Kullas to pull away. Searle finally outfoxed Gilbert on the final lap to take a well-deserved second place as the constant rainfall made the track very slippery.
In the second moto the soaking wet starting grid caught out many riders including Searle, who didn’t get a great start. He put in a determined charge and worked his way through the pack to fourth place. He was about to mount a challenge for third when a lapped rider swerved sideways on the very greasy face of the finish line jump and Searle took evasive action, heading off the side of the jump. He was lucky to stay on board but his challenge for third was effectively over and he took fourth place. That gave him third overall and he is third in the championship.
Searle said: “I really enjoyed the track today. It was really tricky so took some time to get into it. I didn’t want to push too much and make a mistake so had to find my rhythm. In the first race I had a good start and was in the top three then got into second on the last lap which was nice. But in the second race I had a really bad start as I just slipped on the gate with it being slippery and wet. But I pulled my way through and ended up fourth which put my third overall, so a pretty good day.”
In the MX2 class, Jay Hague was pleased to be feeling fit again after battling through Coronavirus which was diagnosed the day after the Foxhill British championship round two weeks earlier. Despite not much time back on the CRF250R, he was third fastest in qualifying and determined to go one better in the opening race. With all the MX2 bikes struggling against the MX1 machines at the start, especially on the deeply ripped uphill start, Hague was outside the top ten but right in the mix with the other 250cc riders.
The North Easterner put on an impressive charge in tough conditions and pulled through to a well-deserved second place. The second moto was packed with excitement as all the four main MX2 contenders ended up within a few seconds of each other as they staged a battle for the overall win and podium places that lasted right until the very last corner.
Hague had the crowd gasping as he managed to get past one rival withing sight of the flag and he took third in the moto for third overall in one of the closest race finishes for a several years.
Hague said: “I had two consistent rides. I had a good qualifying practice but in the first race I had a terrible start and picked my way through in the first couple of laps. There was so much mud on my helmet it was pushing my goggles down so I had to take them off. So I had to settle for second place.
“In the second race I kept trying to find different lines to get through to the front – sometimes you’d gain time, sometimes lose time. The track was so tricky there was a lot of ‘follow the leader’. The last couple of laps was so much fun – how racing should be. The top four were all on the same straight! I managed to get third on the last lap so a second and a third put me on the podium.”
Next weekend the team head to Lyng in Norfolk for the British championship where the team’s other MX1 rider Jake Nicholls is aiming to make his race return after missing the Landrake MX Nationals to concentrate on getting back to 100% race fitness.