Filtec GYTR Team Yamaha Podium At Bielsteinposted Jul 2, 2008
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Sunday the 15th of June saw Filtec GYTR Team Yamaha make a welcome return to full strength at the 4th round of the 2008 UEM GOLDSPEED European Quad Championship, MSC Bielstein hosting the event at their picturesque Bielsteiner Waldkurs circuit on the outskirts of Bielstein, thirty miles east of Cologne, Germany. With Ricky Tordoff having to sit out rounds two and three with a back injury, and Joe Maessen and James Hellewell making their European Championship debut in only their 2nd race meeting after long lay-offs while recovering from operations on broken bones, all three riders were pumped at returning to racing at the top level and keen to deliver a good result. As the sun set on Sunday evening after a hectic weekends action, all three riders had put in performances that had team mentor Richard Cole in buoyant mood, Joe taking a fantastic podium finish with 2nd overall while Ricky and James had battled hard all day to finish 7th and 16th overall respectively.
The tight and twisty circuit dried out quickly as practice and qualifying got underway on Saturday, Joe qualifying 2nd fastest, Ricky posting 8th and James a respectable 19th. Glorious sunshine greeted the riders as they took to the line for the first of two thirty minute plus two lap motos on Sunday afternoon, the opening moto proving to be a frustrating affair for all three. As the gates dropped Joe got fantastic drive off the line and reached the sweeping uphill first corner in 3rd but was forced to back off to avoid hitting an out of shape Matthieu Ternynck and dropping back to 4th. With the fast but narrow circuit providing few overtaking opportunities , Joe used the excellent handling of the Lonestar / Ohlins suspension to move past Romain Couprie and Ternynck by half distance for a comfortable 2nd place , but the onset of severe arm-pump at the twenty minute mark saw Joe drop back to 5th after stalling his bike. With three laps remaining the arm-pump eased allowing Joe to increase his pace and close the gap to Paul Winrow, passing Winrow as the last lap board came out and going on to take the chequered flag for a fantastic 4th.
After rounding the first corner in 2nd, Ricky was forced wide in the same incident with Ternynck as his team-mate, the resultant loss of momentum dropping him back to 8th. Settling in to a blistering pace as the race progressed, Ricky gradually closed the gap to Jans Vlaeymans in 7th when a crash involving Vlaeymans and Couprie forced Ricky of the circuit and dropped him back to 10th. Quickly regaining his composure, Ricky set off in pursuit of Maximillian Freund and Stefan Schreiber, and using the excellent grip of the Goldspeed MX-R and MX-F tyres he was able to try different lines to pass, taking 9th from Freund at two thirds distance before passing Schreiber with three laps to go, Ricky crossing the finish line after eighteen laps for a hard fought 8th.
Starting from the second row, James got fantastic drive off the line and rounded the first corner in 12th before having his progress halted by a spinning Schreiber. Completing the first lap in 18th, James nevertheless was undeterred and quickly set off to make up places. With the Filtec GYTR Team Yamaha YFZ450 working well around the circuit, James had moved past Couprie and Vlaeymans for 16th at half distance and was involved in a three-way battle with Vedzan Gurischek and Martin Toovis. With the excellent power of the SCT tuned YFZ motor and using skills and maturity beyond his years, James continued pressurising the more experienced riders in front, and as the chequered flag came out James had demoted both Gurischek and Toovis to cross the line for a fantastic 14th.
Refuelled by Monster Energy during the short interval, the three riders lined up for the start of the second moto replenished and ready for battle. As the gates dropped Joe once again got a flyer of a start and rounded the dusty uphill sweeper in 2nd, with Ricky slotting in to 7th and James improving on his 19th pick of gate to head out on the opening lap in 17th. Quickly adjusting to the polished and dusty circuit, the riders quickly found their rhythms and increased their pace, Joe closing the gap to Jeremie Warnia while extending the gap to Vlaeymans in 3rd, while Ricky was fending off the challenges of Schreiber and Ingo ten Vregelaar and James had closed the gap to Toovis. As the race approached half distance all three riders were putting the excellent handling of their Yamaha YFZ450ís to good use, Joe eaking out a ten second gap to 3rd, Ricky embroiled in a three way tussle for 4th, and James having passed Toovis for 16th, but unfortunately a nasty crash involving Schreiber and Ten Vregelaar brought out the red flag and a disappointing premature end to the days racing action, Joe awarded 2nd and taking a fantastic 2nd overall, Ricky finishing 7th for 7th overall, and James adding a 16th for a fantastic 16th overall finish on his debut appearance.
Overall this has been a fantastic result for Filtec GYTR Team Yamaha, especially given the circumstance that all three riders are returning from injury with Joe and James having only done one previous race meeting prior to this one since the start of the year. With a six week break to the next round in Denmark, Joe, Ricky and James have domestic championship races which they can concentrate on to help further improve their speed and fitness in preparation for the next round on the 3rd of August.
"I‘m really happy with my result today, especially when it is only my second race since returning from the operation on my collar bone. I‘d like to have held on to 2nd in the opening moto but lack of bike fitness left me getting arm-pump after twenty minutes and I just couldn‘t hold on, but once it went I was able to push hard again and secure 4th. The Filtec GYTR Team Yamaha YFZ450 worked really well around the circuit and I can‘t wait for the next round where I will be fully fit."
"Today has been a bit frustrating for me as I know I should have finished higher. I won here last year and like the circuit, but it is really difficult to pass on. Being forced off the track twice in the opening race after getting to the first corner in 2nd left me with a lot of work to do, and in the second race I was just finding my groove when it was stopped. The bike was working really well and the new Goldspeed MX-R and MX-F tyres were unbelievable, and I‘m really happy that my back hasn‘t given any trouble the entire weekend."
"This has been a great result for the team and I‘m really pleased with my result given that this is only my second race since I broke my wrist earlier in the year. I know I still have a long way to go to get up to full race speed, but Richard and Ian have given me a bike that is fantastic to ride and the Lonestar / Ohlins suspension allowed me to make up places on a circuit which isn‘t the easiest to pass on. Starting from the second row makes it more difficult, so I‘ll be focusing my attention on improving my qualifying techniques before the next round in August."
Winner: Jeremie Warnia, 2nd: Paul Holmes, 3rd: Mathieu Ternynck, 4th: Joe Maessen, 5th: Davy Brems...8th: Ricky Tordoff...14th: James Hellewell
Winner: Jeremie Warnia, 2nd: Joe Maessen, 3rd: Jan Vlaeymans, 4th: Paul Winrow, 5th: Paul Holmes...7th: Ricky Tordoff...16th: James Hellewell
1st: Jeremie Warnia, 2nd: Joe Maessen, 3rd: Paul Holmes...7th: Ricky Tordoff...16th: James Hellewell