Following round 8 of the AMCA British Motocross Championship held at a very dry and punishing Culham Moto-Parc on Sunday, it’s a case of as you were at the top of the standings in all of the respective classes. Shane Carless (MX1), Jamie Wainwright (MX2), Lewis Dowdeswell (125cc), Jamie Powell (Vets) and Matt Tolley (Youth) are still the lads to catch. And on current form in this super series powered by Datatag and supported by Dunlop, barring disaster it’s hard to see them relinquishing their hard-earned advantages!
For most of the season the race for MX1 glory as been dominated by five outstanding performers in Shane Carless, James Dodd, Neville Bradshaw, Josh Waterman and Gary Gibson. That five though as now become four after Irish ace Gibson failed to score at Culham due to a reoccurring back problem. Despite having extensive treatment right up to the event, Gary was forced out of moto one and the rest of the meeting, heartache following a season which had started so well! With Gibson out it was Carless who took the Culham MX1 opener in style ahead of a rejuvenated Waterman, Bradshaw, Dodd, Jamie Skuse, Andrew Smart and Luke Mellows who had crashed in the closing stages dislocating his shoulder. Having an impressive moto one ride, Will Hughes charged from an early 18th up to 9th.
Following an almost identical pattern, Carless then superbly led the second clash all the way with the above names again in the frame, on this occasion joined by Zac Stealey in 7th and Sean Wainwright. In the third and final moto, Carless made another supersonic start to quickly take control although Bradshaw and Dodd were soon closing him down in a great three-way tussle. Lap 5 and Bradshaw got through before racing onto the win with Carless taking 2nd despite being forced to slow in the closing stages after tweaking his back. Dodd, Waterman, Smart and the returning Paul Neale were next up as Mellows with that injured shoulder somehow bravely got home again inside the top ten. So on the Culham podium it was FUS Marsh MX Husqvarna ace Carless, Bradshaw and the defending MX1 Champion Waterman. Delighted to be back on the podium, Waterman commented “I had been really looking forward to Culham and qualified in 2nd. After a poor start in moto one I set the fastest lap and got home in 2nd. I also got 2nd in moto two but felt that in the last race conditions were quite dangerous. The track was so dry and dust was rising but the organisers had done all they could considering recent weather conditions. Many thanks again to all my family, team and sponsors.” In the title race, Carless has opened up a 69 point gap at the top from Dodd and Bradshaw a further 20 points in arrears, next up it’s the spectacular Brookthorpe circuit in Gloucestershire.
There was carnage at the start of the opening MX2 moto when unfortunately, Jaydon Murphy one of the many outstanding performers in this 2019 class, Jansen Day and Jack Wankling were involved in a big opening turn crash, all being forced out of both this contest and the remainder of the meeting. This moto though did also produce a fantastic scrap with three hot battles at the front, Kristian Whatley v Jamie Wainwright for 1st, Luke Dean v Corie Southwood for 3rd and the hard charging Bradley Tranter v Ryan Crowder for 5th. In the closing stages, Clinton Barrs also joined in the fun, great entertainment! Eventually it was to be victory for Whatley just over two seconds clear of Wainwright.
Tranter after his impressive opening moto certainly had the throttle wire stretched to the max in the second MX2 clash as he led the pack before eventually being pushed back. The determined JSR Honda rider still though took a great 4th with Wainwright getting the win from Whatley and Crowder. Having a good day, Barrs was also right in the mix again taking 5th with Dean, Mark Young, Sean Eckersley, Josh Coleman and Southwood completing the top ten.
Whilst Tranter was forced out of the last MX2 moto five laps in due to a front wheel puncture when again right in contention, there was to be a terrific tussle at the front as the fast starting Crowder held off Wainwright. The series leader and very talented Apex KTM UK pilot though soon found a way through to bag another 60 Championship points with Whatley a rather lonely 3rd. Barrs, Dean and Southwood again had very strong rides as Matt Ridgway on a 250cc 2T Midwest Husqvarna had his best ride of the day to take 7th. In the title race, Wainwright now as a nice 123 point advantage over Whatley whilst Crowder has strengthened his grip on 3rd place in the standings. Naturally very delighted to claim another overall win and increase his Championship lead, Wainwright said, “I was very excited at the start of the day as the track looked like it had been prepped well. I qualified in 2nd which was more than good enough then after a poor start took 2nd in moto one after battling with Kristian. Before race two I went and had a good look at the track as conditions were changing so that I could find better lines. I then had a good start to win this moto. In the last one Crowder and me had a good old battle early on before I broke away for the win and I felt a lot more comfortable this time around. Many thanks to all of my team, mechanics and sponsors for making it happen.”
In a classic opening 125cc contest, title leader Lewis Dowdeswell on the FWC Construction Bay KTM led all the way for the win despite being under constant attack from his main Championship rival Chris Povey. On completion, Dowdeswell’s victory margin was just by a very narrow single second as Nathan Bache, Ryan Zebedeee and Harvey Matthews were next up. Just behind that leading five rider’s battle raged as Tomos Wright just got the better of Ben Watkins and young Billy Duke making his AMCA debut.
Bache was quickest away in moto two but Povey, desperate not to lose further ground in the title race was on a mission. Four laps in and he took control before putting the hammer down and scorching off to a big win. Gating 4th, Dowdeswell eventually bagged 2nd from Zebedee, Bache, Wright and Watkins. So with one win apiece it was down to a last moto decider for the very fast Dowdeswell and Povey but who would get that overall win?
In another tremendous, high speed contest, Dowdeswell got the 125cc moto three holeshot and led for six thrilling laps under pressure from Povey. Using every racing line available, Povey, the FUS Marsh MX Husqvarna pilot eventually got past his rival before claiming another massive win despite falling in the closing stages. Crucially Dowdeswell still took 2nd leaving him with a 33 point Championship advantage as Zebedee, Bache, Steels, Wright and Jordan Ridgway finished the meeting strongly. Third overall on the day, Zebedee has also strengthened his grip on the bronze medal position in the standings. One of the biggest movers in this class was Bache who following his Culham performance jumped from 7th up to 4th.
Living just a stone’s throw away from Culham, Vets star Phil Mercer was certainly relaxed and ready for Sunday’s action. In great style, Phil followed up his Hawkstone victory with another maximum points haul. In moto one it was Mercer all the way from series leader Jamie Powell. Gating in 6th, Simon Lane eventually earned 3rd from Sean Smith, Stephen Elford, Anthony Bennett and Stephen Marlow.
Powell was quickest away in Vets moto two as Mercer started in 4th. By lap three Phil had hit the front and there he remained with Powell eventually getting another 2nd spot and Lane in 3rd. With his gating gloves on, Powell also grabbed the final Vets holeshot before being pushed back by ‘fast Phil’. Lane, Smith, Craig Chamberlain, Colin Conduit, Stephen Hurst and Marlow were next best this time. Second overall on the day, Powell now has a tidy 106 points series lead ahead of defending Vets Champion Lane.
Although wild card riders Charlie Palmer and Jake Randall dominated the Culham Youth class racing, series leader Matt Tolley still took 3rd overall to thus increase his Championship lead. In moto one on Sunday, Palmer displayed some truly incredible speed and style, taking the win nearly 40 seconds clear of Randall with Tolley, Harry Ridgway, Ezra Blackwell and Jake O’Gorman completing the top six.
Palmer, Randall, Tolley and O’Gorman filled the top four in moto two as Reece Leverton got in the frame this time around. With another big win, Palmer completed his maximum in moto three from Randall, Tolley, O’Gorman, Fletcher-Williams and Ridgway. With two rounds remaining at Brookthorpe and Long Lane it’s Tolley in charge of the title race on 1283 points from Ridgway 1225 and Blackwell just a further point in arrears on 1224.
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The results of the event are below.