March 21, 2005
Lewis Gregory made a perfect start to the season with a double race victory in the opening round of the British Under-21 Motocross Championship at Whiteway Barton in Devon on Sunday.
The Maximum Solutions Hooper Suzuki rider led the opening race from start to finish on his RM-Z250, and then took control from lap three of the second race.
In race one, Gregory swept round the outside of the pack on the first turn to lead over the first jump. From that point on he dominated and controlled the entire race. He pushed hard for the first eight laps around the short circuit to establish a significant lead over his pursuers, finishing nearly 10 seconds ahead of the second-placed man.
Sixteen year old Alex Snow also had a great start and found himself in fourth position on the first lap. He wasn't worried by his more-experienced competition and battled hard between fourth and seventh position for the whole of the race and grabbed a determined sixth position.
Gregory's team mate John May was in 12th place on the first jump. He kept calm and started making his way forward at a good pace moving to fourth position on lap seven. But disaster struck on the next lap as he went for the front brake on a downhill turn and found that there was nothing there. He skidded into the berm and was thrown off the bike, landing directly on the fencing.
He was forced to retire with heavy bruising and abrasions to his left-hand side, to go with the broken nose that he sustained last week.
In the second moto, all three riders rounded the first turn in the top five - Gregory second, May third and Snow fifth.
Gregory put in the fastest lap of the race on lap two and by lap three, had taken the lead. A repeat of race one followed as he pulled a good lead, then throttled back slightly to cruise to another victory and a perfect scorecard for the day.
Despite his many injuries, May forgot all about the pain as he launched out of the first corner with the leaders and proved that he never gives up by claiming second place on lap 14. He fought off the chasing riders to the flag and claimed second to seal Suzuki's one-two.
Snow was the victim of the slippery track surface not once, but twice. Despite these setbacks, it was a gutsy and determined ride by the youngster, who finished 13th with his exhaust system flapping in the breeze, broken from one of his falls.
"I've got my starts right now and it paid off. I've worked hard in the off-season and it's a great start to the season. It was an awesome day. I just wanted to make a break in both races, then keep it smooth and not make mistakes. The bike was perfect today, it worked well and I'd like to thank Rob, Cheryl, Suzuki, Maximum Solutions and everyone else that helps me."
"I lost the front brake and crashed in the opening race. I was in a lot of pain and couldn't continue, but in race two, I was ok as soon as the gate dropped. I got a good start but I was a bit nervous of the front as it felt like it was washing out all the time. As the race went on, I got more confident and I could keep up a really good speed.
"I tried to relax and take my time so when I got up to the second place man, I sat there for a while until I had figured out a good place to pass. I got by him, but the following riders were so close I could hear them behind me.
"I'm happy for myself, Suzuki and the team sponsors. I wanted to prove to myself and to other people how good I really am. I've been frustrated with my results recently, but this result shows my true potential. I have loads more confidence now and I am looking forward to more results like this."
"Ninth overall is not so bad for today. I know I have the speed to finish in the top five or six as m y first race resu lt shows. I just have to keep doing it like I did in race one. I actually felt like I rode better in race two, but after a couple of little crashes, my exhaust was hanging on for grim death and my levers were all bent, so it was difficult to get a good result."
Rob Hooper - Team Manager:
"Hooper Suzuki found the Maximum Solution today. I am extremely happy. As a team, we've worked hard all winter towards this. Lewis did a cracking job and his good starts made all the difference.
"John was unfortunate in the first race as his DNF was not his fault, but he certainly made amends in race two, especially considering the battering he took in his crash.
"I wanted to do a one-two at the Under-21s, so at least that's out of the way."
Race 1 Result: 1 Lewis Gregory (Maximum Solutions Hooper Suzuki), 2 Searle (Kawasaki), 3 Gowland (Kawasaki), 4 Cook (Kawasaki), 5 Lewis (Honda), 6 Alex Snow (Hooper Suzuki / Alloy), 7 Jones (Yamaha), 8 Johnson (Yamaha), 9 Smith (Kawasaki), 10 Murro (Honda).
Race 2 Result: 1 Lewis Gregory (Maximum Solutions Hooper Suzuki), 2 John May (Maximum Solutions Hooper Suzuki), 3 Johnson (Yamaha), 4 Gowland (Kawasaki), 5 Searle (Kawasaki), 6 Sandiford-Smith (KTM), 7 Whitehead (Honda) 8 Butler (Yamaha), 9 Lewis (Honda), 10 Lawson (Kawasaki), 13 Alex Snow (Hooper Suzuki / Alloy).
Overall: 1 Lewis Gregory (Maximum Solutions Hooper Suzuki) 60, 2 Gowland 48, 3 Searle 48, 4 Johnson 40, 5 Lewis 34, 6 Cook 29, 7 John May (Maximum Solutions Hooper Suzuki) 27, 8 Sandiford-Smith 27, 9 Alex Snow (Hooper Suzuki / Alloy) 27.
Source: Team Suzuki Press Office