KTM Junior Team Win At Pont De Vauxposted Sep 4, 2009
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The British trio of James Hellewell, Sheldon Seal and Wayne Tyson put together an outstanding performance to win the Under 18 class and finish 20th overall at the weekend, their epic performance also leaving the KTM Junior / RC Racing Team the highest placed British team from the one-hundred and ten teams entered for the legendary Maxxis 12H De Pont De Vaux 2009 Mondial Du Quad.
Promoted by the Maingret brothers for the twenty-third time at the meadow of Pont De Vaux, the infamous twelve hour endurance race set among the corn fields alongside the river Saone has always provided a huge test of speed and endurance for both riders and machines with entrants from all corners of the globe, the beaten earth track providing a unique mix of conditions and terrain with the two days of racing providing some excellent viewing for the tens of thousands in attendance.
Pioneering the 2010 KTM 525 XC at the event, the Saturday morning two-hour timed practice for starting position on the Le Mans style start saw the trio qualify a respectable 42nd. As the more experienced member of the young team, it was Hellewell who took to the line for the start of the opening three hour session on a heavily watered track, and despite dropping to 98th in the opening half hour after wisely stopping early to clear the radiator and take on some new goggles, the team worked their way gradually up the pack to 54th at half distance before completing the session in 38th.
Collecting the machine from parc ferme after less than a two hour break, the challenging five hour ‘night' stage with an 8pm start time is always one which tests the abilities of all riders as they battle through the dust and darkness, and despite losing their main headlight early in the session and having to improvise at short notice, the team fought through the tough conditions to complete both the session and the opening eight hours in 29th.
Clear blue skies and over thirty degree heat was the order of the day as the last four hours of action got underway on Sunday afternoon, and in front of a capacity crowd the teenage trio continued to put in an amazing display to outscore many of their more experienced rivals, fighting through from 47th at the end of the opening half hour to take the chequered flag in an outstanding 16th, taking 20th overall and a fantastic Under-18 class win. A delighted team mentor Richard Cole commented after the race, "it's been a fantastic result for the riders, the team and KTM, and I couldn't be more proud of the performance of James, Sheldon and Wayne. This is a very special and unique race and is really demanding for the riders and the bike, but the kids showed maturity beyond their teenage years and preserved both themselves and the bike to win the Under 18 class for the third time. The KTM 525 XC is a fantastic bike and never missed a beat all weekend, it's been an awesome result and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped us preparing for and during this event, this has been a real team effort and without your continued help and support it would not have been possible."
For Hellwell's Team KTM UK team-mate, Paul Holmes, it was a case of what might have been as he partnered USA GNCC regulars Adam McGill and Josh Kirkland in the Farr Racing Enterprises (FRE) KTM Team. Also using a 2010 KTM 525 XC machine for the event, the trio were clearly on the pace from the outset, posting second fastest time in practice and taking the fastest lap in the opening session, but despite a flawless performance that would leave them leading the event after eight hours, the final session proved to be a difficult one with a mechanical problem early in the session costing a lot of time, the trio nevertheless putting in valiant effort to take 28th overall. A slightly disappointed Holmes commented afterwards, "it's certainly not the result that we'd have liked or feel we deserved, but this is Pont De Vaux and sometimes things just don't go the way you would have liked. The lap here is really fast, so even something as simple as a flat wheel can drop you down a lap or possibly two by the time you pit and get out, and those can be difficult to make up if the others only make scheduled stops. Overall it's still been a positive weekend and a top thirty position given the problems we had in the last session is a good result, I think we've proved that the KTM is as competitive as any of the other bikes out there so I'll look forward to coming back next year to take care of some unfinished business."
1st - Gillon / Bonnard / Abfalter; 2nd - Maessen / Ten Vregelaar / Haladyna; 3rd - Vlaeymans / Brems / Hofmans; 4th - Clemente / Souza Borges / Torraco; 5th - Remacle / Lamet / Ternynck...20th - Hellewell / Seal / Tyson - KTM Junior Team / RC Racing...28th - Kirkland / McGill / Holmes - Farr Racing Enterprises (FRE) KTM