MX Nationals 201915/04/2019
Buildbase Honda’s Josh Gilbert and Lewis Tombs almost made it a double podium celebration on Sunday at the second round of the Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championship supported by Pro Clean at Cadders Hill, Lyng, on Sunday.
Racing in the MX2 class on his CRF250R, Josh topped qualification and holeshot the opening 25-minute plus two lap moto and led until over half-distance before dropping back to second. In race two his start wasn’t as good but he fought hard and an eventual fourth-placed finish was good enough for second overall.
“I’m happy,” said Josh. “It’s been a really good day. That’s the first time I’ve ever poled qualifying which was a great start – I’ve been working on that and it seems to have paid off.
“In moto one I got a perfect start and got away a little bit for the first five or six laps but then I tensed up and Conrad Mewse closed up and passed me which I’m a little bit annoyed about.
“There was a little bit of argy-bargy off the start in race two and I ended up about fifth or sixth and had to scrap for the whole race. It was tough but I was actually happier with the second race than I was with the first because I was more relaxed and my fitness felt fine.”
Viewed as a 250 specialist, Lewis’ form on a 450 has been a revelation since he’s joined the team and he showed that his third-placed finish at the opening round of the series at FatCat last month was no fluke by qualifying fourth and running 4-4 in the points-paying races for fourth overall.
“It’s been a good, solid day,” he said. “I was fourth in qualifying which I was chuffed with because I don’t normally qualify that well and that set me up for a good gate pick.
“I didn’t get the best of starts in race one but managed to work my way up to fourth and got third off Mel Pocock towards the end of the race but he passed me back. In the second one I started third and stayed there until Harri Kullas got me near the end.
“The Buildbase Honda CRF450R is such an easy bike to ride and it handles like a dream – I’m also quite big so it suits me.”
Competing in the MX2 Youth class, Japanese teenager Shiaru Honda got a score on the board with 19th in race one to seal the deal on a successful day for the team.
Team boss Dave Thorpe was very happy with how his riders performed at the challenging Norfolk circuit.
“We’ve had a great day,” he said. “Lewis qualified fourth – he got pipped by Harri Kullas on the last lap – and battled really, really hard in the first race. It was a bit of a dogfight for him.
“He had a slightly better start in the second one and for 10 minutes he stayed right behind Tommy Searle which was great to see but then he tightened up a little bit and Harri got him which cost him a place on the podium. To be fair he rode absolutely fantastic and we were all really pleased for him.
“He’s been given an opportunity to show everyone what he can do on a 450 and he’s grasped his chance with both hands. As a team we can’t fault his attitude, he’s been absolutely brilliant.
“Josh holeshot the first race and for the first six laps he was outstanding and had a good 15 seconds on Conrad Mewse but he possibly got a little tired riding at that pace with the grand prix boys which is understandable.
“In the second race he didn’t quite make the start and got caught up in a real battle. The last lap was frantic but Josh did what he needed to do to get second.
“Shiaru, our guest rider from Japan, scored his first points in the MX2 Youth class and while it’s still a very steep learning curve for him it was great to see. It’s a big challenge for him to come to Europe and he’s rising to it.”
11-3-19 Lewis on the box!
Buildbase Honda’s new signing Lewis Tombs put his CRF450R on the box in MX1 with a sensational performance at Sunday’s opening round of the 2019 Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championship supported by Pro Clean at FatCat Motoparc near Doncaster.
Battling high winds, torrential rain and the country’s best motocross racers at one of the UK’s most notoriously tough tracks, Lewis – in just his second outing for the team – qualified in 10th and then ran 5-4 in the points-paying races to take a career-first British championship podium finish with third.
“I can’t believe it,” he said. “It doesn’t seem real – my first ever Maxxis podium, I’m over the moon! Qualifying went okay. I crashed on my first fast lap but I did another one that was good enough for 10th which I was quite happy with.
“I almost holeshot the first moto and then found my feet and settled in. I was third for the first four laps before Tommy [Searle] and Mel [Pocock] passed me because I was riding tight because I haven’t been in that position for a while.
“In the second race I was running fourth for most of it. It was a long moto and the track was brutal but I was happy to put two solid performances together. I’m really enjoying my racing at the moment.”
Following his crash last weekend, Lewis’ team-mate Josh Gilbert was forced to race through the pain barrier on his CRF250R but – despite carrying a knee injury – he scored good points in both MX2 motos with a typically gutsy display.
Going to the gate in seventh after qualification, the tough Cornishman matched this result in race one and then dug deep second time out for a hard-fought fifth that earned him sixth overall.
“Today was an exercise in damage limitation after I tweaked my knee last weekend and wasn’t able to ride in the week,” he said. “I’m not trying to make excuses but it didn’t help me and I felt quite stiff on the bike but I had two mega starts – I holeshot the second race and should have holeshot the first one as well but tucked the front in the opening turn.
“The bike is working amazing and in the first race I felt quite comfortable in third but made a small mistake which turned into a big mistake and I went down quite hard. I got back up in fifth but then made another mistake going for a pass and crashed again and lost my rhythm.
“In race two I got a little bit tired if I’m honest and struggled and lost fourth in the second-to-last turn which I’m annoyed about but the track was tricky – it’s not too bad but I would have liked a little bit more.”
Team boss Dave Thorpe was impressed with the way both his riders performed.
“Lewis did so well,” he said. “FatCat is not the easiest place to go to and given the weather we had and the wind and the pressure that comes with racing for the Buildbase team he rode absolutely amazingly. He made a small mistake in the first race and crashed but I was really, really pleased with his third overall and first-ever Maxxis podium.
“To be fair to Josh he did hurt his knee last week so he’s not been able to ride or train. Okay, so a 7-5 isn’t what he was hoping for or what we were hoping for but this is just the beginning and we’re still in it. The level has stepped up this year, especially at a venue like this because there are some great sand riders so we always knew that FatCat was going to be a challenge.
“I’d like to say a big thank you to the whole team – they’ve worked their socks off to get everything ready and I’m really pleased for them all.”
Positive Start for Buildbase Honda
Buildbase Honda got its outdoor season off to a solid start at the opening round of the Michelin MX Nationals at Sherwood on Sunday with Josh Gilbert beginning the defence of his MX2 title while new recruit Lewis Tombs represented the team in MX1.
Josh got the day off to a great start by topping qualification by over half-a-second on his CRF250R. Under the series’ Fastest 40 format, both classes race together but are scored separately and Josh had to deal with a full line-up of 450s off the start.
After completing the first lap of the opening moto just inside the top 10 he began to move forward, using smart lines to pick his way up to second on track and first in MX2. Another good start in race two put him at the front of the 250 field before a crash dropped him back down the order.
Restarting mid-pack, he immediately began to climb back up the leader board and with torrential rain making the track super-slick his efforts were rewarded with a ninth-placed finish as second MX2 rider home. The result tied him on points for the class win but he lost out on the overall on a tie-break.
“Overall it was a pretty decent day,” he said. “Qualifying was really good and although the 450s out-gated me a little bit in the first race I was still best 250 and just worked my way up to second which I was really happy with.
“There was a lot of rain before the second race which made the track quite slippery. I got another good start and was running around top five but it spun-out a little through the whoops and I ended up high-siding and hit the deck quite hard. I got up, regrouped and went again but I lost a bit of my rhythm and just missed the overall.
“I’m glad to get the first race of the year out of the way. In the opening moto it took me a few laps to settle down because I hadn’t done a race for so long.”
Lewis is a late addition to the team line-up but he’s quickly gelled with the CRF450R and was looking good in the first race before a puncture forced him to pull out. In race two he settled into third but was forced to discard his goggles and, with his vision impaired, lost a place to cross the line fourth.
“Conditions have been tough today,” he said, “but I’m pleased with my result in the second race. I was third for most of it but I had goggle problems and decided to play it safe. The puncture was unfortunate because I was in about eighth after a bad start and going forwards when it happened. My speed was good and it’s all been very positive seeing as I’ve only ridden the bike a handful of times.”
The team also ran a guest rider in the competitive MXY2 250 class with Japanese teenager Shiaru Honda scoring in all four of his races for 17th overall.
“Josh was the fastest in the first MX2 race by a mile,” said team spokesman Ryan Thorpe. “He was the leading 250 rider in the second one when he crashed and took a while to get up and sort himself out so he missed out on the overall on a tie-break.
“Lewis was unlucky to get a puncture in the first race. He pretty much holeshot the second race and was a strong third for most of the moto but lost his goggles. I’m very happy with his form and his fitness and it was a solid debut for the team.
“Our MXY2 rider went well too so all-in-all a very promising, positive first round for us.”
Round 1 – March 2nd/3rd – Sherwood, Nottinghamshire
Round 2 – April 20th/21st – Hawkstone Park, Shropshire
Round 3 – May 18th/19th – Lyng, Norfolk
Round 4 – July 13th/14th – Canada Heights, Kent
Round 5 – August 24th/25th – Cusses Gorse, Wiltshire
Round 6 – September 21st/22nd – TBA