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Searle on top in Landrake

Buildbase Honda maintained its 100 per cent podium-topping record in the Pro MX1 class of the MX Nationals at round two of the series at Landrake Motoparc in Cornwall on Sunday.

This time around it was Tommy Searle who came out on top on his CRF450R as team-mate Jake Nicholls struggled to gel with the track and, as a result, it’s Tommy who now leads Jake by 16 points at the top of the table at the halfway point of the championship.

Jake Nicholls with Steven Clarke in the combined pro race

In Pro MX2 Steven Clarke put in another pair of impressive performances on his CRF250R to maintain a strong third place in the title race.

On the heavily rutted hillside circuit, Tommy completed the first lap of the opening moto in seventh and pulled through to second just after half-distance but left it too late to make a move on race leader Harris Kullas. Second time out he made no mistake and converted a holeshot into a comfortable win.

“It’s been a really good day for me and I’ve got the championship lead,” said Tommy. “The track was really tricky but it was good. It was one of those tracks where if you felt good you were going to have a good day and if you felt bad you were going to have a really bad day.

“In the first race I didn’t get the best of starts but I made quick passes, got up to about fourth and then closed in on the leaders. I managed to get within striking distance of Harri for the lead but I waited too late to make an attempt to pass him.

“In the second race I got the holeshot and just put my head down really. I felt good and had some good lines – Dave and my mechanic Willie helped me pick out a few good ones – and it just came really easy to me. Overall it’s been a really good day and it feels great to win on a Honda.”

Jake failed to fully get to grips with the track and didn’t get into a groove until midway through the final 25-minute plus two lap moto. However, his 6-6 scorecard still sees him sitting in a clear second in the championship table.

“I struggled a little bit with the track,” said Jake. “I just didn’t enjoy it and I think that always reflects in the results. I didn’t really find my way in practice – it was real muddy and the lines were just weird so I never really got my head around it and I was lacking a bit of confidence after that.

“I got a good start in the first race and just sort of survived. I was never comfortable to be honest and rode tense and when you’re like that you stick to the same line every lap because you can’t relax and move around and some of my lines were good and some weren’t so good.

“In the second race I didn’t get that good a start so I was in the middle of it all and it was real gnarly. Then about halfway through I started riding good and nicked a couple of spots back. I was pleased because I got my head around it but I just wasn’t willing to really go for it early on in the race.”

With the MX Nationals running a mixed-capacity ‘Fastest 40’ format with the classes scored separately, Steven was forced to bang bars with 450 machines all day and a pair of typically determined 4-3 finishes saw him miss out on a podium by just one point.

Clarke was fast and aggressive all day

“The first race I completely missed the start,” said Steven. “I’ve been starting with one foot up recently and just before the gate dropped I got off-balance. I must have been in the last three around the first turn but I rode mega the whole race and got back up to fourth and felt good.

“In the second race I had a lot better start and passed up into second in MX2 and was riding really well. I settled into a good pace but about four or five laps from home I lost my rhythm a bit and tightened up and dropped to third with a few laps to go.

“It was a really challenging track – the ruts were unbelievable – so I’m glad I came out of there in one piece and ready to continue to fight for the championship at the next round.”

Team boss Dave Thorpe was full of praise for all three riders after another successful event for Buildbase Honda.

“Tommy had a cracking battle in the first race with Harri but he couldn’t find a way around him and I could feel his frustration,” said Dave. “In the second I could see how determined he was when he went to the line and he holeshot, broke Harri very early on and then rode a textbook race. He made it look easy.

“I think the way they prepped the track probably wasn’t to Jake’s liking and he just didn’t gel with it all day. Saying that, he knuckled down even though it was a slog for him and in the closing stages of the second race he started to look like himself again. He’ll be disappointed but you can’t fault his commitment to grinding something out on a difficult day.

“Steve rode very, very well – especially in the first race. The track was tough and I think it got to him in the middle of the second moto a little bit but it was another solid result and it’s very difficult at the MX Nationals for the 250 guys – they eat a lot of roost.

“I thought the track was first class and as always the MX Nationals put on a great event.”