After yet another thrilling battle for the lead that saw the Crendon Fastrack Honda duo scrap it out for victory, Conrad Mewse managed to take another perfect double win from Josh Gilbert in the fourth round of the MX Nationals at the technical Cusses Gorse track in Wiltshire on Sunday.
Mewse’s win ended Gilbert’s winning run from the last two MX Nationals events, at Oxford Moto Park and the new Monster Mountain circuit, and saw his lead stretch from two points to 10. With Mewse on top of the podium and Gilbert second, it means the record of both riders being together on the podium at every single national-level championship event this season carries on. No team has ever dominated British racing like this before.
Riding on what will be the last ever pro races at the legendary Cusses Gorse track before it closes for good next month, the Honda pair started the day in in top form with Mewse taking pole position from Gilbert. Mewse was nursing a lower back injury from a mid-week training incident yet still was clearly the quickest man on the track.
Come the first race and the red plate holder led into the first turn with Gilbert right on his tail. Withing the first quarter of a lap, Cornishman Gilbert nipped inside to take the lead and the pair instantly began to gap the opposition. The pair fought hard for the lead but Mewse managed to finally get by and make it stick on the seventh lap. But then Gilbert clashed with a backmarker in one of the many rutted corners and his front brake was damaged.
Riding with no front brake, Gilbert had to ride much more carefully and his lap times instantly worsened by six seconds. So he was reeled in and passed by third place Harri Kullas. As Mewse took a commanding win from Kullas, Gilbert came home a distant third despite the damaged bike.
In the second race, Gilbert was determined to get away at the front and stole the holeshot, with Mewse right behind him. The pair staged another nail-biting battle for the lead, with Mewse trying everything to get around Gilbert who chose wise lines to defend. On the fifth lap Mewse managed to go outside of Gilbert and make the pass. The pair stayed close together until the closing stages of the moto when Mewse managed to stretch his lead out. Gilbert took a solid second place, 16 seconds in front of third place Kullas.
Mewse said: “Another good today with a perfect score. But it was a difficult as I had a painful day. I had a bit of a crash in practice in the week and damaged my coccyx. Not every win is going to be smooth sailing but we really made the most of it I and I’m over the moon to extend my lead.
“I knew my team-mate Josh is so good in these conditions – they’re a bit like Oxford. So it was never going to be a walk in the park. In the last race he pushed me so it was a good race. The dominance of the Crendon Fastrack Honda team this year has been incredible and it’s a pleasure to be a part of it with Josh. There are two more championship rounds left and hopefully I can continue the winning streak.”
Gilbert said: “Another podium so a good day but I had some bad luck. In the first race I came together with a backmarker and lost my front brake so I really struggled from that point on. I managed to come away with a third so I wasn’t too pleased with that.
“But I had two good starts, and in second one I holeshot and led for the first part until Conrad managed to get past me. I tried to follow him but he just was flowing better than I was today. It was a tricky track and you had to be really comfortable. I was pushing but I didn’t feel as comfortable so 3-2 for second overall is OK.”
Team manager Dave Thorpe said: “Yet another fantastic day for the whole team in difficult circumstances. Conrad was in pain after his mishap in the week but rode a very clever couple of races with some fantastic line choices to take yet another pair of wins. And of course Josh had an issue in the first race with a damaged brake but came back to push Conrad in race two. Both riders really are in a class of their own this season and have raised the level of competition.
“With both riders getting fantastic starts in both races, it’s a testament to how good the Honda CRF450R is and how well Ryan, Willie and Rob work as a team to ensure the riders have the very best equipment every time the team race.”