Going into an AXUK finale in a close battle for the Pro 450 championship is not unusual for the team and the slender eight-point advantage Charles Lefrancois held in the title chase heading into the pair of Saturday night Main Events followed by the double-points-paying Super Final made this a very high-pressure situation.
Both Charles and his team-mate Nico Dercourt were determined to give 100 per cent at Wembley’s SSE Arena with Nico ready to give it everything on his RM-Z250SR machine on his final ride in the Pro Lites class.
Both riders knew how important a good time would be and Charles looked in control as he shook off early nerves and got back into the groove of AXUK with a solid third overall on time behind Dan Reardon and title rival Thomas Ramette.
Nico had his best session of the series in first qualifying, matching Charles’ performance as he slotted in behind Brian Hsu and Cedric Soubeyras and he would end up fourth overall going into the night show.
With every final vital it was important for both guys to get to the sharp end and fight for every point and the tension was off the scale going into the first of the three finals as just one small mistake could mean that the title could be gone.
Nico got his night off to an average start with a battling sixth place after colliding with another rider and twisting his bike up while he was trying to come through the pack on the most intense track of the series. This would mean his second Lites Main Event would have to be an absolute blinder to make a direct transfer into the Super Final.
Charles was up next for his first Pro 450 Main Event and the guy had no intension of showing any nerves as he blasted to yet another fantastic holeshot on his RM-Z450SR. Charles took control of the race and put on a show of strength as he raced with total focus to take his first win of the night and extend his championship lead to nine points over Ramette.
AX Pro Lites final number two got under way with Nico in no mood for anything but a 10-lap battle and he blasted to a brilliant holeshot and held the lead for the first half of the race. A couple of mistakes late in the race saw him drop to third position at the flag but this was a show of what he and his race bike are capable of after the disappointment of Birmingham and he was rewarded with a direct transfer to the Super Final in fourth overall.
AX Pro 450 Main Event two saw Charles explode to another incredible holeshot and he set about finding his rhythm on the technical track as the conditions and lines changed. After getting some line choices dialled in he controlled the final to take another insane victory and extend his championship lead to 12 points.
Double points Super Final
The tension was off the scale in the last Super Final of the series with Nico going to the line fourth and Charles sixth.
Charles knew he had to get another great start and he did not disappoint, taking the final holeshot of the 2020 AXUK series. Nico was buried in the pack but this guy would battle to the end for every position.
Charles showed his class and determination to become champion, running up front as his closest rival Ramette suffered a first-lap crash that effectively ended his title challenge.
With one hand on the title, Charles put on a masterclass as he reeled off the laps at a safe pace, steering clear of the battles to sew up the title with fourth while Nico battled to bring it home in a brilliant seventh.
The emotion was overwhelming for Charles who was delighted to claim his first-ever Pro title. It was amazing to witness this level of passion from an athlete and the appreciation from the fans inside the arena was brilliant.
Charles Lefrancois – 2020 Arenacross UK Pro 450 Champion
“My emotion is clear. I wanted this title so bad and I wanted to show what I can do with my progress in this amazing team. I have worked so hard with one big focus since my disappointing Birmingham second night and I knew I had big pressure coming into this race tonight.
“I don’t know if everyone thought I could win but I proved myself to myself and I am loving this amazing feeling. I am so happy for my team and my family and it is amazing to make this show for all the people. This is my first Pro title and I thank everyone in the team and every supporter and my family who never let me stop working for this feeling. Thank you everyone.”
Nico Dercourt – sixth overall Pro Lites
“I am very happy tonight with my progress on the awesome RM-Z250SR. I love riding this bike and I have big fun tonight when I holeshot and led the second final.
“I am a big guy and it has been great fun to race this championship with SR75 in my new position in 2020. I am so happy for Charles as he is a fantastic team-mate in this amazing team and he deserve this championship. He was amazing out there all day and night.
“I want to thank the team and all the team sponsors and supporters here at Arenacross UK and I hope I have made a good show for everyone.”
Geoff Walker – team owner
“This is an unreal feeling to take another title at Wembley Arena. We love it here! The guys and everyone around us have been amazing and the focus coming into tonight was on one goal and that was the AX Pro 450 title.
“Charles has tonight taken himself to a new level with the determination and passion he has shown to rise above the pressure and nerves to go out there and absolutely crush his title rivals in a way that few would have believed.
“The series has been amazing. Both Charles and Nico have had their disappointments but we worked to overcome every situation and tonight we showed what we are all about. To have Charles take his first Pro racing title as an SR75 athlete is emotional and it was clear to see how much this meant to him and to the crew and team as a whole as we work every day to make the positives happen.
“I want to thank Charles and Nico for their efforts on the track and also Paul and Tony for their work in the pits to help keep the bikes running perfectly throughout the series. We are a team that appreciates every one of our partners and supporters and we hope everyone connected with SR75 HRS Suzuki can enjoy this title with us and I look forward to everything the future holds.”