The Rob Hooper Racing Yamaha Motocross team began their MX Nationals season in earnest yesterday and came away from Sherwood with a podium result from MX1 racer Ryan Houghton, and a stunning couple of rides from MX2 rider Taylor Hammal.
Houghton’s speed came to the surface again as he powered his YZF 450 to third in qualifying, while Hammal managed 6th in the MX2 classification.
At the beginning of last year, poor starts hindered Ryan, but he got good drive off of the new mesh start in Moto 1 emerging from the first bend in third. Riding a bit tight he dropped a few positions, before regrouping and pulling himself back up to second where he stayed for the remainder of the race.
Taylor’s moto one start would see him at the opposite end of the field to his teammate as a first bend fall put him right at the back. With the bit between his teeth though, he churned through the pack with ease and was recording lap times up there with the front runners as he carved his way past 13 riders by lap five where his race ended with a big high side, injuring his ankle in the process.
With a fair start from Ryan in Moto 2 he worked his way up from 7th to 3rd by lap seven and set about reeling in the top 2, but with conditions deteriorating he settled for his position which gave him 3rd overall and his first podium position of 2019.
Once again, Taylor had work to do from the get go and his ability to pass other riders was evident as he made up 12 places, to finish 3rd in the MX2 class, and 11th overall, but his talent and ability is plain to see.
Team Boss Rob Hooper was delighted with his riders and said “Ryan was just what he is. He made good starts, stuck at it, rode hard and came away with the result. It was a bit of shame he couldn’t get Spinksy (Josh Spinks) in the second one which would have given him second overall but to come away with a podium position is an excellent start to the season.
“I am chuffed to bits with Taylor, and I am over the moon to have him on this team. Once he can get his starts sorted out, or even get them a little bit better, he will be in the running. The speed of him and his ability to pass is phenomenal, and he has been quite a revelation. Had he stayed on in the first race he would have been at worst 3rd which would have given him third overall.
”The track was really rough but full credit to Mark at RSS Suspension the bikes handled really well which showed in the speed they had.”
Ryan too was happy with his day saying “It’s nice to start the season off with a podium. I felt like I had lots more to give today too, so I am looking forward to getting the ball rolling for the remainder of the year.”
Hammal’s speed impressed many, and he commented on his day “It was a good day in general. I started off 6th in qualifying which wasn’t too bad. In the first race, I crashed on the first lap and was nearly half a lap down but managed to get back up to 4th and then had a massive crash. I went out for the next race really sore and in pain but managed to get a 3rd. I had a good feeling all day with the track and the bike. Apart from the place in the championship and the crash it was a good day. Thanks to the team and Matt from Mx Zone for getting my race bike done.”
The team now head this weekend to the Fat Cat Motoparc and the first round of the Maxxis British Motocross Championship in a confident mood.