Solid Start for Crendon FASTRACK Honda at Manchester Arenacross
British motocross champ Conrad Mewse showed he will be the man to beat in the UK Arenacross series in the first round of 2024 in Manchester. The Crendon Fastrack Honda rider went quicker than all his rivals in qualifying, setting the fastest lap time in any of the groups. Then in the opening heat showed his true speed by taking a clear win on the new-look Honda CRF450R.
He got a great start then battled past former AMA 250 Supercross champion Justin Bogle on the second lap and went on to win by 3.4 seconds, setting a blistering lap time almost a second quicker than anyone else.
Conrad Mewse was in incredible form in the heat races, even with a bent front brake lever after a crash
In his second heat, Mewse took the holeshot but in the second corner was barged into by Harri Kullas, taking the Briton down. Mewse remounted last and despite a bent front brake lever, put on an incredible ride through the pack to clinch second place at the flag behind Kullas. Mewse once again set the fastest lap time of the race despite being in traffic.
With defending champ Tommy Searle out of the event after crashing and injuring his hand, Mewse was odds-on favourite to win but disaster stuck moments before the final. A rare technical issue meant he had to make a swap to the team’s spare bike, which was a brand new machine.
A fresh new look for the Crendon Fastrack Honda for the Arencross series
Missing out on the sighting lap while the bike was brought to the line, Mewse made a tentative start as he wisely rode round at a safe pace while he got used to the bike. Starting outside the top ten, he got faster as the main event progressed and he made consistent passes as he moved forward. While other riders set their quickest time in the early laps, Mewse was fastest on the penultimate lap as he brought the bike home in an amazing fourth place.
Mewse said: “We were on for a good day, with everything going well. I was winning and was setting fastest laps. But for the final, the bike wouldn’t start. We’ve never had any problems on the Honda before, it’s a freak issue and one of those things. So I went out on a bike that wasn’t even mine! It was brand new and fitted with motocross suspension so it was too soft for Arenacross and felt strange. But I salvaged fourth and it shows how good the standard Honda CRF450R is.
“But I felt so good riding the track, so good on the race bike, and I’m in a really good place. There’s lots of races to go so fourth is good and I’ve got to be happy with that.”
All eyes on Mewse who was a master of the whoops
Team boss, triple world 500 champion Dave Thorpe, said: “It was so clear to see that Conrad was the fastest rider and the man everyone has to beat this year. He’s put in a lot of effort to get ready for the Arenacross and it showed. He was so fast in these short races, a real testament to his talent and determination to win.
“Of course, it was disappointing to have a bike issue right before the final. But he just jumped on the spare bike which was brand new, and we didn’t even have time to set the levers or handlebars for him. It hadn’t even had fuel in it before the race. And there was no place to fix the transponder so Conrad just shoved it down his boxers!
“So to come away with fourth is a great result and is a solid start to the season in difficult circumstances. We’re already looking forward to the next round in Belfast.”
Mewse aims to go one better than last year when he was second in the Arenacross series at his first attempt
Manchester AX Pro overall results:
1 Jack Brunell
2 Harri Kullas
3 Dylan Woodcock
4 Conrad Mewse – Crendon Fastrack Honda
5 Ashley Greedy
6 Justin Bogle
7 Adam Chatfield
8 Jayden Ashwell
9 Mel Pocock
10 Elliott Banks-Browne