June 4, 2019
Red Bull Rookies
From the very start of the weekend Max found himself mostly in the medical centre in a very bad way and there were questions whether he would even be able to race or not! Thankfully for Max he was given the all clear to go and qualify and although far from his best Max was still able to finish a remarkable thirteenth place. It was a credit to his pace, where if at full health, Max was here at Mugello for unfinished business.
However, Sunday it was again a case of whether Max would even be allowed on track but having been given the green light he decided he was going to give this a go and try and make it to the end. It was obvious that he would almost be racing himself rather than the World class riders that surrounded him, but Max once on track was not prepared to just make up the numbers!
Off the start Max lost a few positions dropping to seventeenth place but stayed with the main pack which was crucial given the size of the start/finish straight at Mugello. If you’re not in a position to get in the tow of the rider ahead then you’ll find yourself in no man’s land very quickly!
Going onto lap three Max lay in the same place still in the long queue for the lead, but it was at this point the severity of Max’s illness hit home after he was sick inside his helmet. It’s something many won’t be able to sympathise with and begged the question was it time to throw in the towel? The answer, no it isn’t and approaching the final ten laps it wasn’t long before Max started to gain places!
Max quickly moved up to fifteenth and into the points and with the leader gone and the battle for second intensifying Max had joined the party and was now in the mix. A lap later and Max was now back to where he started in thirteenth. However, the battle in getting there had seen a gap open to the group ahead and the following laps would see Max and the riders around just sitting a frustrating distance back every time they hit the home straight.
Going into the final five laps Max managed to do something about this all on his own! He got up to fourteenth and pulled away from the group behind and closed the gap to the second-place battle by himself. It became hard to comprehend just what he was dealing with in himself and inside the crash helmet, but somehow he remained on par with the battle for the podium!
But as the fifteen laps drew to an end Max’s energy had almost evaporated and he began an intense battle with himself on whether to retire or go to the end. But Max dug deep and somehow found the energy to carry on and after an incident ahead Max’s determination was rewarded with the Brit jumping up four places to tenth on the last lap!
With a penalty hanging over him Max was forced to take the long lap at the end but still lay in a comfortable position and remarkably came home to finish tenth place! It was a deserved reward for his desire to never give up, but he would unfortunately be hit with a further penalty post-race for track limits dropping him to thirteenth.
Max Cook: “This weekend has been one of the toughest in my racing career! Suffering with a stomach virus and gaul bladder infection massively affected my riding. I tried my hardest in the race, but after being sick in my helmet and struggling with energy, I was happy just to finish the race. I feel a bit gutted as Mugello is an amazing circuit to race at, but I'll get myself healthy again and come back fighting for the next race! I’d like to thank everyone at Red Bull Rookies and the staff at the Medical Centre for doing everything they could to get me better! I’d also like to thank my helper James and Nico for sorting my bike.”
Whatever the result making it to the end was admirable in itself for Max. On a boiling, hot day around a very fast Mugello circuit he managed to somehow finish tenth place in the World’s most competitive junior motorcycle series. It really is hard to put into words the achievement from Max and although on paper it’s no memorable result, it is certainly a memorable performance!
Max must quickly recover now as he will return to the circuit this weekend where he will make his debut at Catalunya for round four of the Moto3 Junior World Championship.
Images by Red Bull / G&G