SR75 World Team Suzuki’s Thomas Ramette defied the odds to retain his Pro AX title and make it a hat-trick of championships in a sensational showdown at the series finale of the 2017 Arenacross Tour at the SSE Arena in Wembley on Saturday night.
Thomas went into Wembley in third place with what many thought to be an unclosable nine-point gap to series leader Cedric Soubeyras. Well write TR off at your peril – this guy has taken every championship in the last 14 months of his SR75 career down to the wire and has learned through his experience of defeat and victory what it takes to win.
Wembley has been a happy hunting ground for the team in the past and a new level of determination had spread through the personnel during our tough run through the AX series that beat us down but not out.
Thomas fought to recover from damage to his knee and neck after he crashed into the freestyle ramp at round one and Cyrille’s injuries began with a crash in Belfast after his wins at rounds two and three earned him the championship lead. In Northern Ireland he sustained similar knee and neck injuries to Thomas with an ankle injury thrown in for good measure.
Because of these injuries behind-the-scenes physio sessions have been a big part of our 2017 so far and we thank all involved at the various treatment centres in the UK and France. We went into Wembley with exactly the same mindset as every other race – simply to give everything we had for every lap and, despite the odds, look for 1-2 results.
An epic qualifying saw Cyrille take pole from Thomas before the night show brought a good feeling from everyone in the team. There was a cool excitement building as these moments are the reason we love racing at SR75 Suzuki.
Cyrille grabbed a great start in heat one and took a solid victory on a quickly deteriorating track. Thomas then took full command of heat two giving himself room to work on some lines.
Heat three saw CC5 ride through the pain barrier for a solid second to top qualifying as the track became one-line in the rhythm section but Thomas, after a solid start in the final quali heat, made a little slip while challenging for the lead and had to push for passes to transfer directly to the Main Event.
He did just enough to make it through – finishing seventh out of the eight riders making a direct transfer to the final – and, vitally, qualify for the hot lap races where invaluable 6-4-2 championship points were on offer.
The hot laps went down with Cyrille riding like a machine to take the win for the second time this year as Thomas snatched two points to reduce the deficit to the series leader to seven with just the Main Event to run.
Mathematical scenarios aside, we approach every Main Event with the same SR75 mentality – give 100 per cent from the gate to the flag so whatever the result we can be happy we gave everything.
To say both guys were gunning for the Main Event win is an understatement – these two like to win but a 1-2 would be incredibly difficult with Thomas starting from seventh gate pick.
The pair brought the house down with two starts from the very top drawer to run an insane 1-2 with Thomas in tow as Cyrille took control. Both riders showed absolute class as they worked through the laps and with the championship leader on the floor early in the race Thomas remained incredibly cool as his hopes of an AX hat-trick suddenly became a very real possibility.
With Thomas taking his pace-check from his team-mate up front, Cyrille then clipped the final whoop and took a high-speed digger to end his challenge. This changed Thomas’ pace as the rhythm altered for the final run to the finish but he knew exactly what he had to do in the final couple of laps.
As the championship leader crashed again and walked out of the race, Thomas kept his cool and took the chequered flag in second to seal his incredible comeback with a third consecutive AX title. We are all incredibly proud of his achievement as the investment on all levels from Thomas, Cyrille and absolutely everyone connected with SR75 World Team Suzuki cannot be measured.
Thomas Ramette – CHAMPION
“I am so happy. This week I blocked everything out and focussed on doing what I could to control my own destiny in this championship. I knew I had a lot to do and we have all had to work hard to overcome the ups and downs through this series.
“I approached this race knowing I had no extra pressure from outside but I put pressure on myself to perform and take the title.
“Words are difficult to find at this moment but I want to thank everyone who stands with me and the team, win or lose. I thank Cyrille for always being an amazing team-mate and, of course, the SR75 family.
“We enjoy every lap on our amazing Suzuki RM-Z450 race bikes and every single moment we race all over the world and this is a special feeling which I appreciate every day. “Three-time champ? Yes! It feels so good to say these words.”
Cyrille Coulon – SEVENTH
“I am a big emotional mix. My championship has been amazing in many ways but my small mistake in Belfast took my chance. I feel amazing on my bike and the team is every time full gas to make all perfect for me and Thomas.
“I showed my speed this series and I came to push for wins every time. I am happy for Thomas as I know he worked hard for this championship and to make three times champion is incredible.
“I like working with everyone in this team and we are all happy to work for good positive results every race. I thank the team, Suzuki GB and all who make possible what we do.”
Geoff Walker – Team Principal
“What Thomas has just achieved is beyond incredible and I know how tough it has been for him to fight through the series after sustaining injuries at round one.
“We have raced solidly for 14 months now and taken every championship we’ve contested down to the wire with both guys performing to the highest level every event. They simply never give up.
“A hat-trick of titles for Thomas is the sweetest thing and I think the emotion is evident. What this young man has achieved since joining us and becoming the professional racer he is today fills me with an overwhelming amount of pride and absolute joy.
“There is a special determination required to become a multi-time champion in any professional sport and he has dealt with the pressure and performed beyond the highest level when it counts.
“Cyrille will also go down in history with his performances in this series. The man was on fire and I don’t think anyone would deny that this man deserved more out of the championship. “I’d like to mention our Pro Lites rookie Luke Oldfield. He’s had a life-changing experience and it has been great to watch him make improvements through the series.
“Another big thanks goes out to our weekend staff of Paul and Tony who keep the bike checks rolling smooth through the events and put up with my constant verbals and banter.
“A massive thanks goes out to Suzuki GB – our RM-Z450s have performed flawlessly – and Matt at Composite Metal Flooring (METFLOOR) who have stood behind us through some tough global times to get us on track as well as all our fantastic team partners who support us and join us on our journey. “We really do have some great people and companies behind us and I know they appreciate how hard we work to make this all succeed on a global scale.”
Words: Press Release | Picture: Nuno Laranjeira