August 16, 2018
Red Bull Rookies
Visiting the Red Bull Ring was a great place for the championship to visit and it made all the riders want to win even more. The 2.6 mile circuit is comprised of just eight corners meaning there is a huge amount of time where the riders are flat out! There are a lot of straights which end with big braking zones with some fast corners to end the lap. All of this meant getting a tow was going to be crucial and the race was going to be unpredictable.
To make Max’s job even tougher the weather was set to be mixed on Friday meaning there would be one session in dry conditions and the other in wet conditions. The first session saw Max go out and complete 18 laps and was just 1.7 seconds off the quickest time. Any chance of him improving on that in the second Free Practice session went out the window with the rain. After completing just seven laps the red flags came out which would lead us straight into Qualifying.
Max went into that Qualifying session with a clear plan. Build speed throughout the session get in a quick group and put in some fast times in the last three laps. Everything was going to plan with Max up to 9th place, but a driver in the group ahead then had a crash and it forced Max to go into the gravel in avoidance. By the time Max was back on circuit the flag was out and Max was down to 17th. Not an ideal situation but there was a lot of positive signs to take away from it.
Despite the result Max was keeping his head up and was happy with his performance and he felt confident going into race one. Off the line Max got a decent start and he was keen to make places as quickly as possible to make sure he would be part of the lead group which would inevitably break away.
Max got up to 14th on the opening lap and had championship leader Can Oncu not too far ahead which would help in his attempts to make places. Being in the chasing pack things were calm for the first few laps before Max started to make his moves going into 12th with twelve laps to go. As the battle for the lead show no signs of slowing down Max was truly part of it with ten to go and his move on Kelly into turn one had now put him into 11th.
However, in true Red Bull Rookies style Max was down to 14th in just one lap, but he made a quick response and before you know it he was knocking on the door of the top ten once again. With all the battling the lead pack had escaped and being at the head of the chasing pack it was down to Max to chase them down. Max did that task with ease reducing the gap in the space of just one lap and to make things even more impressive he had left the rest of the group behind!
Once there Max was is no mood to wait around and quickly moved up to 8th place. He could almost reach out and touch the race leader in what was one of the most entertaining battles for the lead there has been all season! As the last lap began to get closer, the battle for the lead increased to 13 riders.
There were positions changing every single corner in what was an impossible race to keep up with and going onto the last lap the situation remained the same albeit with Max in 12th. But anything was still possible at this point and Max was surely due some luck after everything he had thrown at him this season.
But unfortunately for Max rather than a deserved result he would end up being delivered one of the worst situations. Going into turn three Max was hit with a brake problem and being in a pack of thirteen riders he had nowhere else to go but straight into the side of two other riders. Being such a fast impact he was thrown from the bike and went across the track and into the gravel picking up several injuries which included heavy bruising and a very stiff neck along with some injuries to his knee.
After being taken to the medical centre Max was eventually declared unfit to race on Sunday. It was a huge shame given how good he had ridden all race. It was arguably his best performance of the season and for it to end in such dramatic circumstances was a huge shame. As well as that being Max’s first visit to the Red Bull Ring he would’ve been even quicker the next day and was forced to retire from that race before it had even started.
Overall Max should be hugely proud of his performance. At times, he was the quickest rider on circuit and had he of stared higher up the grid there’s no doubt he would have fought for a podium or race win. But that’s racing as they say and after a well-earned rest Max will be back for the next round of the British Talent Cup in two weeks at Silverstone racing on the support package of the MotoGP once again.
Ayrton Simmons took two 4th place finishes at Rockingham in British F4 to keep him 2nd in the championship heading to Knockhill.