Kristian Whatley with new team mate Australian Daniel McCoy, and the rest of the MBO Sport Yamaha Motocross Team travelled over to Northern Ireland for last Friday and Saturday’s rounds one and two of the Garmin Arenacross series at there fabulous Odyssey Arena venue and came away with a very mixed bag of results.
On Friday it was clear from the very start that Kristian, the current British motocross champion, who had never raced supercross or arenacross before was on the pace and would be the man to beat, although arenacross at this high level is a very unforgiving sport.
Kristian was fastest overall from the two groups of pro riders with Daniel, who was still getting used to a new country and a new motorcycle was mid pack but he upped his pace as the two qualifying heats took place later in the day.
Kristian won both of his heats to get first pick on the start gate come the main event, while Daniel had a fourth and a sixth.
Both team riders made a good start in the main, with Kristian moving rapidly into second place before the twelve lap final was even half over, but by then the leader, Steven Clark had opened up a reasonable lead on the now rutted slippery track, so Kristian settled for a safe second place and some good opening championship points.
Daniel had started the race in eighth and had fought his way up to fourth in the end against some serious international riders.
Kristian said after the main, “I had an OK start and had to mussel my way forward in the first couple of turns. I caught up Steven a bit but the got arm pump and didn’t feel to good going flat out so backed off a bit and settled for second and good points for the championship”
Saturday’s round two on a changed track started just like the day before with Kristian once again fastest in qualifying and with Daniel an improved fifth.
Both riders had trouble in there first heat with Kristian, whilst challenging for the lead spinning out on the face of one of the jumps and ending the eight lap race in ninth, while Daniel dropped his Yamaha on the last lap from a good race position and plummeted back to last place on the fast short track.
The pair made up for there mistakes in there second heat by finishing first and second and blowing the opposition into the weeds.
After a not so good start, Kristian got hit by another rider in the first turn and went down, he then after battling with Brad Anderson for second to last place went down again finishing the race in last place, but still in the hunt for the championship.
After racing was over a disappointed Kristian said, “I had a really bad start for the final and it all went down hill from there. I was hit going into the first turn and me and Brad clashed again in the next turn and things just went from bad to worse with me making mistakes trying to catch up. But it is what it is and I am a fighter so will come out faster and more determined next time”
Daniel did a little better as he started in fifth, had a race long battle with Frenchman Cyrille Coulon and ended the race in sixth place, but is now third in the championship going into the next round in Birmingham next weekend.
Daniel said after the event, “It’s my first time in the UK and it’s great to be riding over here. My mums from Scotland and I hope I get the chance to take a trip up there, but on the racing side of things, this is a tight action packed track for sure and its really cut throat and very exciting and you really need to get good starts. I am finding my feet, liking the bike and the teams great so, it’s all good”