Following the postponement of Round 1 of the 2018 BWMA Westermans International British Womens Motocross Championships, it was a relief with all the bad weather we were having to finally get the series under way with Round 2 at the Mid Wilts AMCA clubs Bushton circuit over 21st and 22nd April. 

 .Now in its second year, the BWMA have introduced a Youth 85cc class to run alongside the Elite Adults to further strengthen the structure for womens Motocross in the UK. With 8 rounds in the series and a prize fund of over £3000 put up by Westermans International and a place on the Great Britain IMBA European Ladies team it has attracted the fastest girls in the UK to make this into the premier Womens MX Championship.

Elite Adult Ladies
With 2017 British Champion Bethany Farmer out with injury following a crash at the first round of the WMX GP, the 2018 title was well and truly open to all comers. Hot favourite on the back of her IMBA Swiss race win and 3rd overall is Chelsea Gowland on the Redline Honda but there were some very determined and experienced newcomers to the series all having eyes on that Championship title. Former GP rider Amy Goodlad on her Yamaha was one rider with the form to challenge, also Girls National champions 16 year old Taylor Scott on her Hubway Plants Honda and 18 year old Marni Saunders on her Lawnscapes Honda along with Honda UK Mounted 17 year old Ellie Sleightholm but also last years runner up Leonni Tighe, now on an IDS Passion Racing Husqvarna, was determined to go one step further.

Day one and three races in unfamiliar sunshine. Qualifying saw Redline Hondas Chelsea Gowland put in a blistering pace setting a time 3 seconds faster than Amie Goodlad with IDS Passion Racings Leonni Tighe 3rd, Midwest Husqvarnas Cath King 4th and the young Taylor Scott 5th.

Right from the off racing was fast and frantic with Leonni Tighe putting her marker down with the first of 5 BelRay Holeshots over the weekend, but it was Redline Hondas Chelsea Gowland that quickly took the lead and pulled out a steady gap posting fastest lap after fastest lap, Amy Goodlad was next to put pressure on Leonni Tighe to take second place on lap 2 but by then Gowland had put a safe distance in front, Tighe rode her heart out to stay with Goodlad finishing third. Behind them the racing couldn't have been more exciting with last years championship riders battling with the newcomers, Ellie Sleightholm got the best of the rest eventually followed by Apex AMS Control Centre Solutions KTM of Nadiya Jones, Cath King, Realising Dreams Honda of 16 year old Charlotte Hall, Marni Saunders, Louise Powell and the young 16 year old Taylor Scott rounding out the top 10.
Race 2 and a similar story to race 1, Tighe taking the BelRay holeshot but Gowland quickly took the lead and checked out this time Tighe put up a fight to try and hold off Goodlad but just couldn't resist as Goodlad made the pass on lap 2, again Gowland had already pulled too big a lead. The story was almost a repeat for the rest of the top ten places if it wasn't for a fall by Cath King dropping her to 12th place, up into 7th place and finding her form was 16 year old Eleanor Calby on her 125cc KTM finding her confidence after a brilliant IMBA debut the previous week.

Race 3 provided the drama as the normally cool and smooth Chelsea Gowland made what looked like a small mistake on the second corner following another Tighes 3rd holeshot of the day. Gowland now down and dead last had a massive task to pass the 26 riders but within 5 laps she was on Amie Goodlads back wheel and soon made the past for the lead only to make a similar mistake and dropped down to 3rd before battling back past Tighe for second to take second, it turned out she had a bent front disk which was grabbing her wheen in the corners making it an even more incredible performance.

Qualifying for the second day and the times were a lot closer as the overnight rain made the track tacky and grippy. Chelsea Gowland again got the best qualifying time followed by Amie Goodlad, Leonni Tighe and the young Taylor Scott getting 4th fastest and Nadiya Jones rounding out the top 5.

Race 4 and similar story Gowland with a spare front wheel was back on winning form finishing with a 25 second lead over second place Goodlad, BelRay holeshot winner Tighe followed with Sleightholm, Saunders, Jones, Hall King and Eleanor Calby in close pursuit, Kayleigh Durston was finding form with a stronger ride breaking into the top 10 claiming 10th place.

Race 5 and the young Taylor Scott upset the form book after Tighe had an uncharacteristic slip on the start putting her mid pack, leaving Scott to take the BelRay holeshot. This didn't put her off as she rode her heart out making pass after pass to push through back to her familiar 3rd place.with Sleightolm 4th and Scott finishing in a strong 5th.

Despite getting her 5th BelRay holeshot of the weekend Leonni Tighe made a mistake dropping her down the field, but Amie Goodlads also came off leaving both to battle their way through the field with all this going on behind her, Gowland pulled another victory followed by Marni Saunders who held onto a fantastic second place, followed by Goodlad, Tighe and King.

Youth Girls
With a line up of 15 youth girls the first year of the Girls Youth Championship attracted some of the quickest youth riders in the UK none more so than the outstanding Elisha Elliott who ran away with all 6 races, even more impressive when you consider the calibre of the rest of the field, Izzy Neale qualifying 2nd, all the way from Scotland Christina Palmer 3rd, Grace Packman 4th, Hannah Jones 5th, Rheanne Morgan Rogers and Jaysi Austin all within 10 seconds of each other.

The weekend produced some really exciting and close racing, Elisha Elliot taking all 6 BelRay Holeshot prizes and a clean sweep of wins, but the battle behind was a close, fought hard between Packman, Austin, Neale, Palmer Jones and Rogers all trading places throughout the weekend with neither giving an inch.

The BWMA took a chance to run the Youth class to encourage the young girls to continue in the sport and see a pathway to female adult racing and European IMBA oompetition and this weekend justified that by the incredibly determined and exciting racing they produced. 

Words by Howard Marriott and images by Mike Wood


 Mike Wood

The results of the event are below.