Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Tommy Searle clinched a bronze medal with the British team in the annual world team contest – the FIM Motocross of Nations – at Matterley Basin in the south of England.
Selected to race the MX2 class for his country despite a season beset by injuries the 28 year confirmed the selectors’ belief with two hard-fought rides against the 450cc opposition. After taking a solid no-risk seventh in qualification, a nerve-tingling affair in which the transfer to the main programme plays the dominant role, Searle was inevitably outgunned to turn one by the larger bikes on race day but was making good progress in the opening race until issues in the dreadfully muddy conditions caused his retirement. The no-score increased the pressure for his second race less than an hour later as national teams are classified on the basis of their best five scores from six potential results, but Tommy kept his head to advance strongly from twenty-third to fifteenth and hand his teammates a platform to challenge for second place in the national stakes in the third and deciding moto; they eventually fell just one point short, but had consolation in the fact that they had recorded the first podium in the event for Great Britain since 1997.
Searle’s DRT teammate Darian Sanayei plus American guests Marshall Weltin and Justin Starling joined forces to represent Puerto Rico and all three rode strongly to ensure that the Caribbean island state qualified twelfth for the main programme; Sanayei was particularly impressive as he raced to sixth place in qualification. The American youngsters inevitably found the heavy conditions on race day more difficult but all three showed great spirit to ensure that their team was placed seventeenth in the final classification. Sanayei was again the most successful of the trio to record a thirteenth place in the combined MX2/Open class race in which he was the sixth-placed 250F-mounted rider.
Tommy Searle: “I was going well in the first race until I had to retire, and I felt I’d let the rest of the team down at first as this is a team contest and it put the pressure on the other guys. I knew I had to bring it home in my second ride but I had a bad start and got filled in with the mud as I came through the pack. I was very nervous and fifteenth is not good, but it was enough to help earn third place for the team.”