KTM Raises the Bar at Hawkstone Park

March 21, 2011 10:25am KTM joined British and World Championship teams at Hawkstone Park in Shropshire for the annual Hawkstone International race this past weekend. Martin Barr was the team's only MX1 rider as Nathan Parker suffered an injury during the week and hopes to return for round two of the Maxxis British Championship.

Qualifying got under way with drizzle falling from the skies, but to everyone's relief, the weather improved in time for the races at high noon. Martin showed that he was very much up for the day's events after setting the bar high on his first lap of qualifying, a bar that only two other riders were able to beat at the end of the qualifying session, putting him in third. Liam was up against some of the fastest riders in the world, qualifying just outside the top twenty.

In the first race, buoyed by his qualifying position, Martin blasted out of the first corner in fifth and soon after leapfrogged to fourth. There he put pressure on former World Champion Steve Ramon and kept it up until a line change in the second half of the race spat him over the bars. With a broken clutch lever, it was impossible for him to continue safely. In the second race, Martin took off with the lead, but struggled to find his groove. Once into a race rhythm, he put pressure on several strong competitors before settling into a solid and steady fifth place halfway through, ending the day in tenth overall. The decision was taken after the second race not to send Martin out in the Super Final race due to discomfort in his neck, brought on by the crash in the first race.

Liam had a mixed day; the first race was red-flagged after the half-way point while Liam was in twentieth place after early gains to eighteenth. The second race again saw Liam race his way into the top twenty, only to go down hard and wind himself, bruising his ribs. Restarting in thirtieth, Liam then worked his way back to twenty-sixth, soldiering on to the end for a mid-twenties overall on the day.

"All in all, we've taken some real positives away from today," Team principal Steve Turner commented on the day. "Martin had a great qualifying in third, in the first race looked very comfortable in fourth pushing Ramon. He showed he has the pace to compete against world championship riders, looked really good, smooth and fast, so I'm really happy with that. He proved that the KTM 350SX-F is strong and very competitive against the 450cc bikes on the line.

"Liam had tough day, Hawkstone's a really difficult track, especially when you're a 15 year-old having to manhandle a big bike around there, but he looked good. He had a couple of crashes, but he finished both races, and again it's just about building slowly, so I'm happy with his progress. It's a shame Nathan missed the meeting. He injured his shoulder on Wednesday whilst practising, but with intensive physiotherapy he will hopefully be back for Canada Heights next weekend."

Liam Garland: "Today went ok. The first race was good, I had a bad start but fought my way through and ended up twentieth before we got red-flagged. In the second race I was going well but then hit a bank and went down. It didn't go the way I wanted it to, but it's good experience, so I'm happy with it."

Martin Barr: "Things started off pretty good with a third in qualifying, which was great considering the line-up. In the first I was going really well, riding good and got up to fourth. I was trying to push for a pass on Ramon and the back end stepped out and launched me over the bars. I went down pretty hard, so I had to DNF that one. In the second race I got the hole shot, which is brilliant because I'm on a 350 against factory bikes and having such a long start straight. I ended up fifth which wasn't so bad, but it could've been a lot better."

The next race for the KTM team will be round two of the Maxxis British Motocross Championship at Canada Heights in Kent this coming weekend.