With one round still remaining of the 2016 AMCA British Motocross Championship, MX2 star Josh Waterman(JD Racing/IDS Transport KTM) decided on arrival at Brookthorpe on Sunday that it was now time to get the business done early!
Producing another calculated, composed performance, Josh went 1/1/2 and thus wrap up the MX2 title win in style. Joining him on the Brookthorpe podium was his two closest rivals, the equally consistent Lewis King and Jansen Day. Whilst the pressure is now off Josh, in contrast over in MX1 the heat is rapidly rising as the title race looks like going right down to a last moto decider! That’s after Gary Gibson(DK Offroad-Kawasaki) produced a simply stunning show at Brookthorpe to not only blast to three big moto wins but also close the gap right down to 17 points behind series long leader Luke Burton. Although Burton was on the MX1 podium on Sunday, he had to settle for 3rd on the day as James Dodd finished a deserved runner-up. Over in the 2T and Vets it was to be a very good day for local riders Ben Saunders and Simon Lane who both blasted to maximum points victories. Super Saunders now requires just another 57 points to beg the 2T crown whilst Lane trails Matt Gordon by 27 points in the race for the Vets title.
Not for the first time this season, a very large crowd was in attendance on Sunday to watch the spectacular action unfold in what as been an exciting series powered by Datatag and supported by Dunlop. And as a track which had been initially heavily watered then dried out, deep, gnarly ruts appeared in most of the corners thus making concentration and accurate line selection a must and the racing even more intense and incident packed!
First up was the MX2 opener and as Jack Timms grabbed the holeshot, Bradley Tranter bravely riding despite a very sore wrist injury, Elliot Barrs, Adam Wells and Jansen Day all suffered early falls. At the front, Lewis King quickly overhauled Timms to thus lead the contest for five laps before Waterman moved up from an early 6th and thus slot into pole position. Following Josh up the leaderboard was Ray Rowson and then for the remainder of the scrap, Rowson gradually chipped away at Waterman’s advantage, narrowing the gap right down to just two seconds. At the chequered flag though, it was to be Waterman taking the win as young Lee Truman had his best finish of the season in a super 3rd. Also recording their highest positions of the campaign, Cory McShane took 4th and Ben Hunt 6th with early leader King having to settle for 5th.
Jansen Day led moto two for three laps until Rowson moved through to take control. However by lap seven it was all change again as Rowson picked up a rear-wheel puncture dropping down to an eventual 5th place finish. With Rowson in trouble, Day initially retook the advantage only to be passed in the closing stages by winner Waterman who had gated in 5th. Once again McShane was flying high to take a strong 3rd as King, Paul Neale, Mellows, Hunt, Tranter and Wainwright completed the top ten.
So going the third and final MX2 moto, Waterman’s brief was simple, finish infront of King and the title would be wrapped up! When the gate dropped though it was Day who was to make another fantastic start as King held 2nd from Neale with Waterman in 4th. By lap six though, Waterman was on a mission as he gloriously swooped past both King and Neale. Remaining composed, Waterman then held onto that crucial position and chase Day all the way to the flag, thus confirming a richly deserved 2016 AMCA MX2 British Championship crown. Amid wild celebrations, the first rider to congratulate the new Champion was his closest rival Lewis King, a fantastic gesture. In this clash, Neale, Mellows, Charlie Hamlet, Tranter and Blanchard all record their highest placings of the day.
What a stunning opening clash the big MX1 class was to produce! In a tough, no-holds barred six way battle for the top slot it was Gary Gibson, Shane Carless, John May, James Dodd, Luke Burton and Luke Dean setting a very hot pace at the front. Five laps in and Carless was forced out as series leader Burton moved menacingly up to 2nd. Burton though was not enjoying his most memorable of meetings as a lap six crash then dropped him back to 5th and out of contention. On completion it was the smooth Gibson bagging the win from Dodd, Dean and May as Luke Meredith, Clinton Barrs, Ryan Crowder, Matt Ridgway and Andrew Smart completed the top ten. Still very much in the running for an end of season medal placing, the day did not start too well for Richard Cannings, falling early lap one, he then worked overtime to blast from 30th back to 14th, a great effort.
Right on the gas and making those hard, bike devouring ruts look simple, the superb Gibson led the second MX1 clash from gate to flag as Dodd and Dean locked horns in a thrilling tussle for the right to finish runner-up. Eventually taking 2nd was Dean as Burton this time had to settle for 4th. The series leader was probably quite happy with that position after a frightening moment when he landed off the side of a Brookthorpe jump, somehow still managing to maintain forward motion and not crash! May, Barrs and Smart all recorded another top ten finish, joined on this occasion by Cannings, Adam Harris and Mark Young. After falling on lap one, Crowder blasted from last back to 15th, and pick up 26 very hard earned Championship points!
Finishing the day in style, it was to be another gate to flag win for the rapid Gary Gibson in MX1 moto three, a massive 36 seconds clear of title rival Burton. With Dodd, Cannings and Carless filling the next three positions, the highlight of this clash was to be a great five rider battle for 5th, eventually won by Sam Smith from Young, Crowder, Harris and May. Down in 27th place on lap one, Crowder done particularly well to even get himself involved in that scrap. One rider definitely not enjoying this last Brookthorpe scrap though was defending Champion Luke Dean. Suffering from badly blistered hands and a crash, Luke had to settle for 15th place this time around!
What another stunning performance Ben Saunders was to produce in the 2T Championship races as he swept to a big three moto success. The only occasion the immaculate Saunders was seriously headed came in the final scrap of the day as Richard Lloyd briefly led the opening lap. Also enjoying a brief moment of glory was young Rory Jones who grabbed the moto one holeshot aboard his tiny 150cc KTM. Quickly though and before the pack had even reached turn two, Saunders surged ahead before racing onto his first win of the day as James Lane eventually overcame a determined Jamie Powell and thus get home as runner-up. Taking 4th in this entertaining moto one was Jason Kendrick with holeshot ace Jones a great 5th from Matthew Nash, Lloyd, Luke Phillips, Aarron Kitching and Alec Everitt.
In moto two and as Saunders galloped to victory, Powell this time got the better of Lane. Although most of the usual suspects were in the frame, Matthew Bath, Oliver Roddick and Aston Illsley also got themselves inside the top ten. A mere 24 seconds was Saunders final moto victory margin as Powell took 2nd and Jones a great 3rd. In the title standings, Saunders should now wrap up the crown during the opening moto at Long Lane in September. At present Ben is a big 124 points clear of Lane with Lloyd, Elliot Stones, Sam Callow, Bath, Jones, Powell, Nash and Jack Waterman all mathematically still in with a chance of earning an end of season top three placing.
With top Vets contender Terry House a non-starter due to injury, the Brookthorpe dash for glory developed into a two way tussle between current series leader Matt Gordon and defending Champion Simon Lane. Indeed displaying all of his local track knowledge, Lane was to then go onto blast to a perfect untroubled maximum points win, thus keeping his dream of a Veterans Championship hat-trick still very much alive! Moto one and it was Lane all the way from Gordon as Gary Jones moved up from an early 7th and bag 3rd. Also inside the top ten in this opener were Garry J Williams, Danny Blakeley, Sean Smith, Darren Bennett, Brian Staples, Jamie Smith and Stephen Marlow.
As Lane galloped to a massive moto two win, just about all of the above names again made the top ten, the only change being Shaun Hayles replacing Jamie Smith. With Hayles then injuring his finger in the final Vets clash of the day, fellow 2T Yamaha rider Andrew Mantle got in the frame this time around. Up front though Lane styled to another win and now sits just 27 points behind Gordon in the title race.
With Paul Jones wrapping up the Brookthorpe action by claiming the Non-Qualifiers honours ahead of Curtis Mears and Joe Sargent, the attention now turns to the final round at Long Lane in Shropshire on September, 11th. Who will join Josh Waterman in bagging the remaining 2016 AMCA British Championship crowns, make sure you are there to find out!
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Mike Wood http://www.offroad-action.co.uk/
The results of the event are below.