'Damage limitation' for Nicholls

28 June 2018

Go Back Buildbase Honda’s Jake Nicholls and Josh Gilbert travelled to the fast, sandy circuit of Desertmartin in Northern Ireland for Sunday’s fourth round of the Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championship supported by Pro Clean.

Jake, who led the MX1 championship by 19 points at the start of the day after winning the last four motos on his CRF450R, qualified in second but average starts and crashes in both races ended his win-streak and his 3-5 scorecard put him fifth overall at the end of the day.

Despite this he maintains his 19-point series lead at the halfway point of the championship.

“The track was so quick and while my speed today was about the same as the riders ahead of me I didn’t put myself in the right positions to win the races,” he said. “I just didn’t get the good starts that I have been getting and I dropped it in the first race the third or fourth lap in when I was second behind Tommy [Searle] and matching his pace.

“It was only a little slip-off but the grip was covered in mud so I was struggling to hold on with my left hand and then I got arm-pump. I had a couple of moments so decided to back off for a bit, try and find my rhythm and then come back later in the race which I did.

“The second race I got a bad start and came through to fifth. I was behind Graeme [Irwin] and holding his pace and just starting to charge and then slipped off but overall it was a pretty good day. It’s not really my kind of track – Desertmartin’s always quick but it was so fast today – but I’ve not lost any points to [Evgeny] Bobryshev in the championship so as a damage limitation exercise it was successful.”

Racing in the MX2 class, Josh Gilbert has been enjoying a breakthrough season on his CRF250R and he had another successful day with 4-2 finishes giving him second overall for the third time this year which has helped him to consolidate his second-placed position in the championship.

“It’s been a really good day for me,” he said. “The track was quite fast to start with but it soon chopped up and got good. The first race I didn’t get a the best start but I caught up and began to pick a few riders off but I only got up to fourth.

“In race two I gated much better but got caught up in the second turn. This time I found a good rhythm much more quickly and was able to pass my way up to second for second overall which has helped me increase my lead over the third-placed rider in the championship.”

Team boss Dave Thorpe was full of praise for both his riders.

“You can’t fault Jake’s work ethic,” he said. “He got a very average start by his standards in the first race, quickly got into second and was starting to close in on Tommy Searle when he made a small mistake and went down and he never recovered from that.

“He had a terrible start in the second race but battled through and towards the end he quite rightly thought about the championship and played it safe. As we all know you win championships on your tough days and today was a tough day for him but he rode with his head so fair play to him.

“Josh should be very happy with his riding today. In the first race he took too long to get past the fifth-placed rider but once he was through and found his rhythm he closed down the riders ahead of him well and made a pass for fourth towards the end.

“In the second race he got a decent start but the race was red-flagged. From the restart he was pretty well up and he battled through and made some quick passes.”

Picture © Nuno Laranjeira

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