First Corner Drama costs LPE Arenacross Crown

The final round of the Arenacross UK tour headed to the Wembley Arena in London for the season finale. With double points up for grabs it was all to play for going into the final round.

Practice and qualifying during the day saw both Florent Richier and Loic Rombaut produce some strong lap times while Mickael Musquin and young Bradley Ward struggled slightly to come to terms with the London track layout. In the Rookies class Jimmy Margetson also rode well to qualify in 3rd place.

Once the lights went down it was time to go racing and in the first heat of the night Florent Richier and Loic Rombaut lined up in the opening heat. As the gate dropped Loic rounded the first turn in second while Florent was in fourth. As the race went on Florent moved his way into second place at the finish while Loic finished in fourth. The second heat of the night saw Mickael Musquin and young Bradley Ward line up. As the gate dropped Brad started in fourth place but at the end of the opening lap Brad collided with another rider and went down. Meanwhile Mickael worked his way forward to finish in fourth with Brad in seventh.

Next up was the Rookie final and Jimmy started well in second place but slipped back to fourth early on. Jimmy soon regrouped and worked his way back into third place and was riding well going into the final lap, when on the last lap Jimmy came up short on the double jump and then lost the front end in the final corner and crashed, Jimmy remounted to finish eighth but it was enough to claim third in the Championship.

The next set of heats saw Mickael Musquin out in Heat 3, unfortunately he suffered another bad start and had to work his way through the pack during the race to finish in fourth place. Heat 4 saw Florent, Loic and Brad all line up and it was Florent who made the start and got the holeshot with Loic in third and Brad in fifth. As the race progressed Florent was riding strong and took a solid race win, while Loic crashed with a couple of laps remaining and finished in fifth just ahead of Brad in sixth.

Following the heat races, Florent had transferred to the Main event in pole position while Mickael transferred in ninth and Loic in tenth, unfortunately Bradley had to go to the dreaded Last Chance Qualifier but was able to transfer to the Main Event by winning the LCQ

Before the Main Event there was the small matter of the Head to Head race’s and with double points on the table it was vital for Florent to perform well. In the first round Florent beat Bayliss and then lined up against Chatfield in the Semi and took another win. The final would see Florent face title rival Ramette but unfortunately Florent slipped off in a turn trying to make a pass on Ramette handing the win and 2 extra points to Ramette and making things even tougher going into the final and missing out on the chance to close the gap in the championship.

With all four riders in the Main Event the team were looking for a positive result but drama happened in the first corner. As the riders reached the first corner Florent Richier lost the front end and went down while Rombaut started in sixth place with Ward and Musquin struggling at the back of the pack. Unfortunately Richier first corner would rule him out of the race and see him slip to third in the championship standings. As the race progressed Loic worked his way up from sixth place and into third place to secure a podium position, while Musquin recovered for an eighth place finish with Ward in eleventh place.

The season ended with Florent finishing third in the points standings while Loic jumped up to sixth place in the Championship and in the Rookies Jimmy claimed a well-deserved third overall in the Championship. The team now turn their attentions to the outdoors season with the first round of the Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championship in just two weeks’ time.

Florent Richier: today has been a terrible day for both myself and the team, I was riding well in the heat races and was on pole for the final. In the Head to Head races I made a mistake in the final and finished second then in the Main Event it was all over in the first corner. I lost the front end slightly and then someone clip me and I went down and it damaged the bike. I ended the season in third place which was not the goal, so I will come back next year and try again.

Loic Rombaut: today has been a good day, in the heat races I didn’t ride great but I was focussed on the Main Event. Then at the start there was a crash and I started in sixth place and managed to work my way up to third and onto the podium so I’m happy.

Jimmy Margetson: I’m really happy to have achieved third place in the championship which is what I came here to do, I’m a bit disappointed to crash on the last corner of the final. I’ve really enjoyed the series and just want to thank Steve and the whole team for all their help and support.

Mickael Musquin: today has been really tough as I didn’t have a good feeling with the track and preferred the previous round. I’m disappointed with my result as I’d rather get a better result.

Bradley Ward: it’s been great to have the chance to race at this event, the track was really good but I suffered some bad luck in the heat races but I’m looking forward to racing the Arenacross series in the future.

Steve James – Team Manager: it’s been a bitter sweet end to what has been another fantastic series. We came to London this weekend with a good chance of retaining our Arenacross Title and up until the Head to Head and the final it was all going well but a twist of fate and a couple of mistakes and everything changed. Florent and Ramette were on fire all through the day in qualifying and into the heat races, Flo had a 2nd and a win in his heat races and Ramette had a win and a 3rd, then they both ended up in the Head to Head final together but Flo slipped off finishing 2nd.Going into the final we knew it was going to be a tough job to win but we was still going for it as anything can happen and it did as Flo went down in the first corner and it was all over for us. I was absolutely gutted at the time and felt flat and exhausted I just wanted the ground to swallow me up! It’s been a lot of hard work across the 8 rounds of bar banging action so to lose 2nd place in the championship by only 2 points and drop to 3rd is pretty hard to take. It has been a very close run championship and even though I wanted to win so badly we have still done very well and I am very proud of my team, what all of my riders to have achieved. In the Rookies Jimmy did exceptionally well for his first attempt to come away 3rd in the championship which is fantastic. In the Pro’s Loic Rombaut had some bad luck but battled on and gave us some great results with a podium in Belfast and saved the day with getting on the Podium again in London with 3rd and climbed up the order to finish 6th in the Championship. Florent Richier has been great all through the series he is a real character he had a couple of bad nights when the luck wasn’t with us but he gave it his all to eventually finish 3rd in the Championship. Loic and Flo’s combined efforts were enough to see us finish 2nd in the Team Championship which again is great and to finish in the top 3 and on the podium of all three of the Championships we contested is still a major achievement but I couldn’t have done it without my loyal team members and helpers and all of our sponsors, a big massive thank you to Minty, Ian, Ryno, Keatsey, Ben, Adam, Chris in the workshop, Dan and Kirsty in the office and my mum and dad, my family and all my great friends for the huge support throughout the series thank you all so much for that, also our many team sponsors L.P.E Ltd, Kawasaki KP, Apico Factory Racing, Maxxis International, Truck Links, Spiral GFX, Pro Circuit, Rip n Roll, Talon, Twin Air, Pro Carbon, Samco race bike bits, Motorex, Did, Vesrah, Answer, Arai, CGH Imports, Uden Transport, Polisport, Boyesen, Pro Taper, Raptor Titanium, Regent MX and each and every one of our other product sponsors without all of you guys it just wouldn’t be possible to run the team so Thank you all.

 

Pic © Nuno Laranjeira/e22 Sports
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