The Rob Hooper Racing Yamaha Motocross team emerged from a busy Easter weekend with a satisfactory weekend result wise but with the need to step things up in the coming weeks if the team are to be challenging for strong series standings come the end of the season.
With Ryan Houghton resting his injured ribs, just Taylor Hammal made his way over to Marshfield to race in the Mike Brown Memorial Meeting in the Huck Cup race. In a stacked line up with 3 GP stars heading the field, and with the 450s and 250s mixed Hammal on his practice YZF 250 came away with a good 10th overall with a 12th and an 8th.
On Easter Sunday it was up to Shropshire and Hawkstone Park for the second round of the MX Nationals. In the glorious sunshine, Houghton came through qualifying in 7th with Hammal in 9th.
Poor starts for both riders in Moto 1 meant they were both playing catch up from the outset. Houghton moved up to 8th from outside the top 15, but with two laps to go having moved into seventh in MX1 a machinery issue ended his run through the field and resulted in a 15th place finish.
Hammal’s own battle through the pack would see him work his way from outside the top 30 to 7th in MX2 but lacking his early season pace, which would have seen him rise higher up the order.
An improved start in Race 2 saw Houghton towards the business end of the race, and after an early race dip where he lost places, he steadily made back the positions to finish sixth in the race and 8th overall. Taylors second Moto had a similar makeup to race one. This time his start was worse, with him being well outside the top 30 when the riders came past timing on the opening lap. Again he gained places every lap to work his way up to 8th for 7th overall.
Team Boss Rob Hooper said of the MX Nationals round “It was mixed. It was not the best of days, but it wasn’t the worst. It was a reasonable day for both riders but nothing outstanding. Taylor didn’t have his race bike, so he felt on the back foot to start with, while Ryan is still getting over his rib injury so when you consider that it wasn’t a bad day, but we will be looking for more in the forthcoming weeks.”
Ryan now sits 4th in the standings just 8 points behind second and in a good position to move up into a podium spot. When speaking after the meeting, he said “Apart from a mechanical problem in Race 1 it was another good day with all things considered. I haven’t been on the bike for the past five weeks apart from racing at the weekends. However, my little injury is healing up I, and my ribs felt much better on Sunday.”
Taylor is also within striking distance of the podium places in MX2 being 7th in the standings just 7 points from second, and said of his day, “Today wasn’t good, to say the least. I didn’t feel good and wasn’t riding like I usually do all day. I really struggled but kept trying. Some days are like that. I am glad to have a weekend off to get things going right and be ready for two good races at Canada Heights.”
The team have a weekend off to regroup before they revisit the Maxxis British Motocross Championships and round 3 of the series at Canada Heights on Sunday the 5th of May.