Houghton gets RHR Yamaha on the Masters podium.

It has been pending for some time but Ryan Houghton managed to secure the Rob Hooper Racing Yamaha team’s first National podium of the season by coming third in the MX1 Pro class at the second round of the Bridgestone British Masters at Wroxton.

With Houghton’s MX1 team mate Kristian Whatley joining him for this round of the Masters, the team were hopeful of putting in a good performance at a Wroxton circuit which provided fantastic racing in the talent packed Pro classes.

Team Boss Rob Hooper was impressed with the track commenting “It was the first time I had ever been to the place, but it’s a real nice venue. The sun was shining the track was pristine, nice and tacky, although by the end of the day it got quite hard pack in some places but the track rode well. It was an enjoyable day.”

A clean qualifying lap for Houghton saw him go the gate third whilst Whatley struggled for clear lap at the end of the session when the track was at its best and qualified in 9th.

Come Moto 1 it was Whatley who made the best jump and hit turn one in second, but a rough couple of turns saw him drop back in the field. Houghton on the other hand was moving through the pack in the opposite direction and after getting hung up behind Dan Thornhill, he moved into third and set after Elliott Banks-Brown and Jake Shipton who occupied the 1st and 2nd positions.   As the clock ran down so did Ryan’s chance of a top two place, but he finished a fantastic third with Whatley just 2 seconds back in fourth.

Once again the Whatley/Houghton combo lined up alongside each other for Moto 2 and it was Houghton who made the better start when the gate dropped and backed up his race one third with another to land him, and the Team’s first National podium position of the season. Whatley who didn’t make the best of starts had to work hard but by the end of race was showing good speed to once again finish 4th for the same place overall.

Hooper said of the meeting “It was a good days racing for the both of our riders. With Ryan I just feel he is one ride away from a win. It will happen for him, when it will be I don’t know but he is very very close.  He just needs the right circumstances, a little bit of a lucky break, whatever it’s going to take, he is riding really well and really fast.  

“It was a different Kristian today from the one who was at Canada Heights. He is really happy with the suspension. It’s still work in progress with him, but he is happier and looking more confident and looking more like the Kristian Whatley we have seen in the past, to what he is on the bike now.   The more races we can do the better. Racing is the most important thing for Kristian right now. Get as many races under his belt as possible. He need’s that close combat, that close battling with other riders which you cannot replicate in practice.  But it was a good day, a very good day, and we know there are better results to come, but we are definitely getting closer and closer.”

In addition to the two championships moto’s the racers also lined up for the annual Bridgestone Cup with a huge trophy and a big cash prize up for grabs for the victory hungry racers.

In the Cup race in Kristian shot out of the start an made the holeshot and pushed hard to keep with eventual winner Banks-Browne, and held onto second right up until the last few laps before succumbing to the attack of 450 mounted Josh Spinks.  By the end of the moto Houghton was showing immense speed and had worked his way through the field and right onto the rear wheel of his team mate for another 3-4 result but this time in reverse order from the first two motos.

Houghton said of his weekend “3- 3 on the day was pretty solid. The track was really fast and everyone was at a pretty similar speed. I didn’t get the best of starts in any of the races but charged hard and made some good passes.”

Ryan’s strong points haul has put him into second in the championship standings with the third round taking place at Preston Docks on the 16th and 17th June.

Kristian went away from weekend happy with his days’ work and knowing progress is being made saying “In the first race I made a good start but lost some places early on, but by the end of the race I was catching Ryan so I was quite happy with that. I made some changes to the bike for the second moto and felt pretty good in that one even though I had a 4th again, but towards the end, the last 5 laps I felt really strong, and I feel my pace is coming back at the moment.  My intensity isn’t there yet but its slowly coming back, so I was happy with that second race as well and how the bike was performing. 

In the Bridgestone Cup I ended up with the holeshot, but Elliott has been on it at the moment, and is a league above right now, so fair play to him. He got past me on the first lap and I tried to stick with him but he was a second and a half a lap quicker than me.  It was getting a bit dusty towards the end and coming through the amateurs was a bit sketchy. I held onto second until near the end of the race when Josh Spinks got me, so I cooled it from there, as the track was starting to feel a bit dangerous and it was hot. But I kept Ryan off who was on my tail at the end of the race so I was happy with the third in that one and that I felt strong further on in the day”

Next on the RHR tour will be Preston Docks for the second round of the MX Nationals next weekend on the 19th and 20th May when all three squad members will be lining up for another stab at a podium position.


Write up provided by RHR Yamaha

Imagery courtesey of Elliot Spencer