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Searle dominates British opener

Crendon Fastrack Honda’s Tommy Searle started the defence of his British championship title with a flawless ride to a double race win at Culham in Oxfordshire on Sunday. The 32-year-old quickly got into the lead in the opening moto then showed his dominance by keeping a safe gap at the front of the pack.

Then in race two, it was sheer dominance as he blasted his Honda CRF450R to the holeshot then set a blistering pace at the front that no other riders could match as he took a popular double win – his first since joining the team last season.

Searle said: “What a brilliant way to start the year, coming away with two wins. I couldn’t be happier. I have had a good winter training but struggled a bit in in qualifying. But in race I had a good start and I found the leaders on the opening laps were slowing me down so I got past and it was great to take the win.

“In race two I got a clear holeshot which was brilliant. I went straight up the inside and never shut off. It’s been a long time since I had a holeshot like that! I rode my own race and I was riding smoothly. It’s nice to repay the team back for their hard work this winter.”

Searle celebrates the double

His MX1 team-mate Jake Nicholls, who missed most of last season through injury, also left the circuit happy despite a troubled first race. After setting the fourth quickest lap in qualifying, he got boxed in on the start then crashed twice while working his way through the pack with a damaged bike. But in the second race he made amends and was challenging the leading group all moto. After some fierce battles on the roughening track, he took a strong fifth place. 

“It was a good day. I was good in qualifying then in the first race had two crashes with silly mistakes,” said Nicholls. “I rushed into it instead of taking my time. I bent the front disc and had no front brake but came home 13th.

“The second race I got a good start and got stuck in. I was really enjoying it, being back in the mix. It was nice to have proper battles.”

Nicholls leads Shaun Simpson

It was also a day of a great qualifying performance and one solid moto, ruined by two spills in the other, for the team’s Jay Hague. Riding the all-new 2022 CRF250R for the Crendon Fastrack Honda squad backed by Hitachi Construction Machinery UK, 22-year-old Hague was fourth in qualifying.

In the opening race he was stuck in traffic at the start but very quickly worked his way through to third place, and even held on to third despite a small tumble. But in moto two he clashed with another rider and both went down hard. He got back on and worked his best to come through the pack but then got caught up again passing a slower rider and went down again. This time the bike was damaged and he had to retire.

“But there are plenty of positives to take away from this weekend,” said Hague. “I know my speed and fitness is there, but perhaps I need to concentrate more on my starts.

“In the first moto I didn’t get a great start and pushed through and into third, and pulled a decent gap. I dropped it but still held onto third. What a high! In the second I had a poor start and came together with another rider – not my fault. Then later on crashed hard and got tangled up again.”

Hague had a third in MX2

Team owner, triple world 500 champion Dave Thorpe, said: “It was a great start to the whole team for the 2022 season, especially with Tommy taking such a fantastic double win. And of course both Jake and Jay had great rides too, showing what they are both capable of on such a challenging and tough circuit. It’s a testament to how hard the riders and whole team have worked all winter. So we leave with lots of positives.

“And the meeting was a credit to the ACU and RHL Promotions, especially for the circuit which was exceptional – especially after the recent rain. It created great racing in all the classes.”