Booth: Bianchi’s two points in Monaco saved Manor

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The founder of the revived Manor Marussia F1 Team has revealed that the company would not have been able to get back on its feet and return to Formula 1 in 2015 without Jules Bianchi’s ninth-place finish at last year’s Monaco Grand Prix.

Bianchi produced one of the stand-out performances of the 2014 season at Monaco, finishing ninth and scoring what proved to be the only two points that Marussia F1 Team would ever accrue.

However, the Frenchman’s season was tragically cut short when he suffered severe head injuries in an accident at the Japanese Grand Prix in September. Although he has since returned to his native France, he remains unconscious, with the latest update from the Bianchi family coming in December.

The two points in Monaco were enough to secure Marussia ninth place in the constructors’ championship despite the team missing the final three races of the season after falling into administration.

Speaking to French publication Auto Hebdo, team founder John Booth revealed that it was this result that convinced the new investors to help save Marussia and establish Manor.

“Without him, without the two points he scored in Monaco last year, we would not be here,” Booth explained. “In the end, that is what convinced the new investors of the potential of the team.

“Being here is our way of saying to Jules that the race is not over until the checkered flag has fallen. We emerged from the worst ordeal Manor has ever known, and I have no doubt that Jules will succeed too.

“What we were able to rebuild during the winter shows that faith can move mountains. There is always hope as long as we believe in it.”

Manor failed to qualify for last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix as it continued to make up for the time lost over the winter in preparing its new cars and team. However, thanks to Bianchi’s efforts, the team has fought back and lived on, making his herculean achievement all the more impressive and poignant.

Supercross: Husqvarna’s Jalek Swoll and Malcolm Stewart out with injury

Swoll Stewart injury
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Jalek Swoll and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna teammate Malcolm Stewart sustained injury in separate crashes late last week. Stewart missed Anaheim 2 and Swoll will not mount up for the 250 East season opener in Houston on February 4.

“Spent all of yesterday in the ER and today getting surgery so haven’t been able to make an update post,” Swoll posted on Instagram. “Spiral fractured my humorous yesterday and was lucky enough to get into surgery today. Absolutely heartbroken that I couldn’t show all the hard work me, [Mike Brown], [Aldon Baker], and [Joel Perez] were working on truly felt like this year was going to a big one with massive improvements we made but I guess it just wasn’t my time.”

The team announced on Instagram that Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken bone in his arm, sustained in a practice crash on Friday. After missing the division opener, no further timeline has been given for his return.

Swoll made eight starts in the 250 West division last season with a best finish of fifth. In 2021, he scored his first SuperMotocross win in the outdoor Pro Motocross season at High Point Raceway in Mount Morris, Pennsylvania.

Stewart missed Anaheim 2 due to a practice injury. Likewise, the team did not announce a timetable for Stewart’s return.

He showed a lot of speed in the first two rounds before accidents eliminated him from contention in both rounds. He finished 16th at Anaheim 1 and 15th in San Diego, putting him in a points’ deficit that was already going to be difficult to overcome.

Stewart entered the 2023 season with a ton of confidence and believed all he needed was to stack his chips the right way to get this year’s championship.

Husqvarna is now represented by RJ Hampshire in the 250 West division and Christian Craig in 450s.

Hampshire had a rough weekend in Anaheim 2 and finished 11th in the overall standings after scoring a last place result in Race 2 with a bike sidelined by crash damage and a 13th in Race 3 after another fall.

Craig has not yet scored a top-10 on his 450 with a best of 11th at San Diego and Anaheim 2.

The news of these two injuries comes on the heels of the Pro Circuit Kawasaki team losing three of their four 250 riders.

Last week, Pro Circuit Kawasaki announced Seth Hammaker would miss the season opener with a wrist injury. Almost immediately, it was announced Jo Shimoda would also miss the 250 East opener with a shoulder injury.

Chris Blose will serve as a replacement rider in the 250 East division with Carson Mumford scheduled to replace the injured Austin Forkner in the West.