UK hopes in the EMX250 class took a hammering this weekend at the MXGP of France at St Jean d’Angely where Martin Barr (REVO Husqvarna UK) and his team-mate Mel Pocock – who had been lying one-two after five rounds – both struggled in wildly contrasting conditions.
The pair had shared the series leader’s red plate between them since round two at Valkenswaard but home hero Mathys Boisrame (Honda) leap-frogged them both with two solid rides, backing up his win on Saturday with a fighting fourth today to move into the championship lead.
“It has been a good weekend for my home GP,” said Boisrame. “Race one was good and in race two I made sure I didn’t crash so I’m happy to win.”
Barr, who’d held a three-point advantage from Pocock and a nine-point lead over Boisrame heading into France after the MXGP of GB, had a horrible day on Saturday. With the temperature hitting 30 degrees, the Irishman was closed down on the start straight and completed his first lap in 19th before crashing back to 27th on lap two.
He dug deep with a late pass on Britain’s Todd Kellett (Verde Substance KTM) earning him a point for 20th but the series lead was with Boisrame.
After a heavy overnight downpour, track conditions couldn’t have been more different for race two with mud and rapidly-forming ruts providing a complete contrast to Saturday’s flat-out hard-pack. Barr again struggled out of the gate and was 13th on the opening lap. By half-distance he was in the top 10 but lost a couple of places before regrouping to cross the line 10th.
Pocock, a solid sixth in the opening moto, had a nightmare in race two with a crash on lap one at the bottom of a steep hill putting him 26th. Showing his speed, he fought back to 12th with his reward eighth overall and second in the championship, nine points ahead of his team-mate and 13 points behind Boisrame.
Best Brit for the second weekend in a row was Steven Clarke (Carglass Honda). The stocky Midlander – who took the overall last time out – could only manage 16th in race one but, revelling in the muddy conditions, he was quickly into second in moto two and chased France’s Pierre Goupillon (Kawasaki) for the full 25-minute plus two lap duration for fourth overall.
Riding the only two-stroke in the field, James Dunn (GL12 Racing KTM) broke the top 10 on Saturday but missed the points in 22nd today to end the weekend 17th, one place behind Barr.
Todd Kellett (Verde Substance KTM) failed to score yesterday but put in a polished performance in race two, coming from 31st on the opening lap all the way up to 11th to take 18th overall from fellow Brit Josh Spinks (M Smith KTM) who couldn’t repeat his podium performance at the MXGP of GB with a disappointing 12-24 scorecard.
In the EMX125 class the overall was taken by Italy’s Mattia Guadagnini (Husqvarna) who ran four-one to win from the French pairing of Thibault Benistant (Yamaha) and Florian Miot (KTM).
Series leader Rene Hofer (KTM) from Austria still has a 30-point advantage at the top of the table despite failing to score in race two after finishing the opening moto in second. Best Brit was Eddie Jay Wade (KTM) who ended the weekend 13th with a 16-31 card.