Factory KTM rider Tommy Searle sent 28,000 fans wild at the brand new motocross facility at Donington Park when the 18-year-old won his first Grand Prix in the MX2 category on Sunday.
The rider from Kent has now risen to second place in the FIM World championship with just one round remaining and cannot be displaced.
His results of second and first in the two motos of 35 minutes and two laps duration under cloudy but bright skies delivered his maiden triumph and continued an impressive record of results at his home round.
Tommy Searle is already the UK’s top off-road racer after less than two full seasons at the highest level.
In 2005 he raced his first Grand Prix at Matchams Park, Ringwood and surprised many by not only qualifying but also scoring points. Twelve months ago at Matterley Basin in Winchester he notched his first GP podium and this weekend continued the trajectory.
“It has been a perfect day and the crowd were incredible,” he said.
“I had some difficult finding my lines in the first race and could not catch Nicolas Aubin but he rode well. In the second I could get away and pushed hard to stay ahead of Jeremy Tarroux and I’m so pleased to finally win a Grand Prix.
“This was the penultimate round and I was worried that I’d run out of chances.”
Spectators including Marco Melandri, Troy Corser and Niall Mackenzie watched how the infield had been transformed into a spectacular circuit with many challenging jumps.
The layout ran from the outside of Goddards corner almost up to Coppice and was constructed in just over a month to entertain the penultimate round of the world championship.
Britain’s other main hope, Billy Mackenzie, could not repeat Tommy Searle’s example in MX1. The 23-year-old Scot, winner in Japan this year and leader of the British series, stalled his works Kawasaki while leading the first race.
He then grabbed a neutral coming out of the gate in the second and hit the dirt several more times trying to come through from the rear of the pack. He was twelfth overall.
“A disastrous day and I don’t really know what else to say,” he lamented.
“I made too many mistakes and I’m only sorry I could not give a better account of myself.”
Former three times World Champion in the mid-to-late 1980s Dave Thorpe added a fourth crown when he scooped honours in the Veteran’s World Cup.
The ex-Honda ace rolled back the years and gave the public an authentic moment of motocross nostalgia.
MX2 World Champion Antonio Cairoli won on his MX1 debut. The stylish and flamboyant Italian flipped the YZ450F Yamaha to second and first positions and finished ahead of Kevin Strijbos and Ken de Dycker.
Works Suzuki rider Steve Ramon took the lead in the MX1 series for the first time this year after Yamaha’s Josh Coppins’ broken shoulder was not strong enough to complete the second moto.
Just 14 points divide the pair going to the final Grand Prix at Lierop in Holland next weekend.