Home MXGP round promises much for the Hitachi KTM Fuelled by Milwaukee team
Following the solid points haul of the Hitachi KTM Fuelled by Milwaukee MX2 team at MXGP’s opening round in Argentina, the team travelled home to the British round expecting to build on this early promise. Much had been made of the date switch of the British MXGP, but appearing so early in the season prompted the sun to come out on the Matterly Basin track, much to the pleasure of the riders, teams, organisers and spectators.
It was clear from Saturday’s practice and qualifying action that Conrad Mewse was here to give his home fans something to shout about. With world champion Jorge Prado sitting out of this round due to injury, it was Mewse that ended up flying the flag for KTM 250 SX-F, eventually finishing fifth in the qualifying race, ahead of the factory team’s Tom Vialle. Meanwhile, Dutch teammate Bas Vaessen found the going tougher and was unable to get into the rhythm that Mewse had found at the challenging track. Vaessen would eventually qualify 17th after tangling with another rider and picking up a small injury.
Sunday’s weather was spectacular, but the same can’t be said for the results – despite much promise. Mewse didn’t get the start he was hoping for, which meant a hard slog through the pack. Knuckling down to the job, Mewse picked off his rivals efficiently, and by mid-race he was sitting in fourth, with pace in hand to make an assault on the podium positions ahead. This hard riding was to benefit him in an unexpected way as his bike developed problems in the last laps. While Mewse was able to continue riding he lost two positions, coming in a bitterly disappointing sixth. Bas Vaessen’s race was happening further down the field, recovering lost ground at the start to eventually pick up points for a 13th place finish.
Race two saw Mewse use the inside line to start, but not getting his launch dialled meant that the pack swallowed him up and he came out of turn one towards the back of the field. Determined to give his fans a show, Mewse pressed hard, jumping handfuls of places per lap, until again problems developed forcing him to retire. The story of Vaessen’s race was similar to his first – a hard fight to make up for lost time at the start. He eventually finished a place ahead of his first result in 12th.
“Obviously this has been a very disappointing weekend for me, but it was out of my hands. I proved that I had the speed and when things were going well they were going really well. But we had a couple of bike issues which cost me big time. The team has done a fantastic job with what we have and I’m going to keep fighting and pushing to finish where we derive to be.”
“The weekend started off good until I got into contact with another rider and hurt myself a little bit but I still think I had a good race with solid lap times. I only need to work on my start and first two laps to make it a bit easier for myself in the upcoming races. The bike felt really good thanks to WP Suspension and the team did a great job overall!”
Roger Magee, Team Manager
“In the first Moto on Sunday, Conrad again gated around mid-pack but soon showed his true potential at World level with perhaps his best ever ride for the Team using very inventive, fast lines allowing him to challenge Factory KTM rider Vialle for third on the last lap. Unfortunately, an unexpected minor technical issue meant he had to nurse home his KTM 250 SX-F to a gallant sixth at the chequered flag. Race two again saw Conrad and Bas not make those all important starts. Like in race one, Bas progressed steadily through the field, finishing p12. Conrad again suffered another minor technical problem towards the end of the moto which resulted in a DNF. It was so good to be joined at our home GP by so many of our loyal sponsors and guests and we now look forward to the next GP this weekend where hopefully Mewse and Vaessen will add to their strong start to the 2019 season.”
MX2 Race 1
1. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN), HQV, 13 Laps
2. Henry Jacobi (GER), KAW, +4.278
3. Tom Vialle (FRA), KTM, +16.160
6. Conrad Mewse (GBR), KTM +35.271
13. Bas Vaessen (NED), KTM +59.179
MX2 Race 2
1. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN), HQV, 14 Laps
2. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED) HON, +9.936
3. Henry Jacobi (GER), KAW, +16.035
12. Bas Vaessen (NED), KTM +1:04.331
DNF. Conrad Mewse (GBR), KTM
1. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN), HQV, 50 pts
2. Henry Jacobi (GER), KAW, 42pts
3. Tom Vialle (FRA), KTM, 38pts
11. Bas Vaessen (NED), KTM 17pts
13. Conrad Mewse (GBR), KTM 15pts
MX2 World Championship
1. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN), HQV, 94 pts
2. Henry Jacobi (GER), KAW, 78pts
3. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED) HON, 71pts
12. Conrad Mewse (GBR), KTM 36pts
14. Bas Vaessen (NED), KTM 32pts