Natalie gets back on track with second-place finish

Loughbrickland’s Natalie Kane has made a solid start to the 2014 FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship, earning two strong results.

Gaining a second and third place from her two motos gave her a second place overall at last weekend’s Grand Prix of Qatar in Losail.

It had been a long off-season for the HM Plant KTM rider who took her first overall Grand Prix win last year and with no race time ahead of the start of the championship, the 22-year-old was certainly nervous going into the overseas event. Kane delivered and despite the competition deepening in the Women’s series, which runs alongside MXGP & MX2 championships again, the KTM rider took fourth in qualifying on Friday.

In the opening race of Saturday, Kane took time to settle into the 20-minute plus two-lap moto. The KTM racer made good passes around the 1500m narrow twisty track and rode a smart race to take second position under the floodlights.

In race two, Kane gated into third and tussled with the front of the pack in the opening few laps. A problem with the rear brake on her machine made it hard for Kane to get stopped into the turns, but the Irish star rode a sensible race without pushing too hard to take third position behind Meghan Rutledge and Livia Lancelot for second overall, which is Kane’s best result at the first round of the World series since she began racing at a professional level.

Kane commented: “It’s been a good way to start the series and I can certainly go home happy.

“Because I haven’t raced in the off-season, I had to find my rhythm and get used to riding a Grand Prix track again. It worked out well though and I rode sensibly around what was quite a tough track for second place. In the second race, I had a problem with the rear brake after the third lap, and although it’s not an excuse, it did mean I couldn’t get the bike stopped into the turns and over the jumps.

“My riding style relies on the brakes quite a lot, so I just thought to myself that I needed a solid result and not to take any risks. It’s really good to come away with a podium at the first round and be healthy, apart from a little strain in one of my legs. I now can judge what work I need to do for the next round and I’m looking forward to continuing the improvements.”

Kane’s next World Championship outing is on the 13 April at the Arco Di Trento track in Italy.