In a season which as been predominantly dry, some very unseasonal and extremely stormy weather in the 48 hours prior to the penultimate round of the 2019 AMCA British Motocross Championship last Sunday then typically threatened to wreak havoc! 

Thankfully though come race-day the rain had stopped and the Brookthorpe circuit had remarkably dried out to produce absolutely prime conditions and with it some stunning race action. After three hot blocks of racing, all of the respective Championship class leaders in this series powered by Datatag and supported by Dunlop safely negotiated this potential banana skin to either maintain or increase their title chasing advantages.

One rider though who might now be nervously looking over his shoulder in the build up to the final round in three weeks’ time is the 125cc class leader Lewes Dowdeswell. At Brookthorpe on Sunday, Chris Povey on the FUS Marsh MX Husqvarna went 2/1/2 to reduce the gap at the top of the table to just 12 points. In moto one it was Ryan Zebedee who sprung out of the gate to lead the way for 5 great laps before dropping to 4th as young wild-card rider James Hanscomb came through for the win ahead of Povey, Dowdeswell who had earlier fell. Jimmy Margetson, Travis Steels, Jordan Wright, Ben White and Keelan Southwood were also in the frame.

After that opener, 125cc race two was a pure motocross classic as Margetson, Dowdeswell, Nathan Bache, Povey and Hanscomb locked horns at the front. On lap four, Bache slipped out of contention to eventually finish 8th as the battle continued to rage at the front. Both Dowdeswell and eventual winner Povey then took turns to head the pack before in a late final twist, Dowdeswell then dropped to 4th behind Margetson and Hanscomb, great entertainment!

In the last one, Povey looked the most likely winner as he controlled for the opening five laps before the fast Hanscomb came through for the win and thus also confirm the overall victory. Importantly for Povey he again finished infront of title rival Dowdeswell as Margetson, Zebedee, Jordan Ridgway and Bache finished the day strongly. In the Championship standings is definitely going to be Dowdeswell or Povey for the title with Zebedee favourite to take bronze, currently 136 points clear of Bache in 4th.

With another quality, composed performance, Welsh ace Shane Carless will carry a nice 82 point advantage into the final MX1 round. Shane though will be very aware of the quality riders attempting to hunt him down and can certainly not relax with work still to do! One of those quality chasers is DK Offroad Kawasaki ace Neville Bradshaw who took the Brookthorpe overall win with a very determined 2/1/2 scorecard. In the opening MX1 moto, Nev indulged in a super battle with Shane, swapping positions for a couple of laps before the Welshman grabbed a vital win. James Dodd and Josh Waterman were also right on it in a great race for the right to finish 3rd. Dodd took that particular honour with Ashley Greedy, Luke Meredith, Will Hughes and Andrew Smart also in the frame.

Recently returning to action following a wrist injury, Greedy was quickest away in the second MX1 clash, leading the pack for a couple of laps before crashing out. In his absence, a thrilling three way battle developed at the front with Carless coming under serious pressure from Bradshaw and Dodd. Shortly after being passed by Bradshaw, the moto took another twist as Carless fell when getting cross-rutted and high-siding off his machine on the exit from a turn. Quickly though Carless was back under power but had to settle for a 4th place finish behind Bradshaw, Dodd and Waterman as Meredith had another impressive result in 5th.

Following that unexpected spill, Carless made amends in the final MX1 moto with a stylish gate to flag win from Bradshaw, Dodd, Waterman, Luke Mellows, Daniel Preston and the impressive Hughes. For Mellows this 5th place was to be another heroic effort. Still struggling with a shoulder injury sustained during the previous round at Culham, Luke confirmed that the offending joint had popped out of place on a very painful three occasions during the first moto on Sunday! So with just Long Lane to come its Carless leading the MX1 charge to the title on 1460 points with Dodd 1378, Bradshaw 1372 and Waterman 1300 the only other riders in with a chance of disputing a final medal position.

Right from the off in 2019, Kristian Whatley has been right in the mix for the AMCA MX2 title. On Sunday though it was unfortunately to be a case of damage limitation for the popular South Coast rider due to a badly broken finger sustained the previous week during a club event at Nymphsfield. With very little movement in his right hand, the use of his throttle and front brake proved to be a very painful experience. Bravely though and in an attempt to remain in contention for honours, Kristian completed all three moto’s to earn 10th overall and another 101 Championship points.

So with Whatley not making the podium who would be on the Brookthorpe box? Well taking a superb and richly deserved overall win was the talented Welsh ace Corie Southwood joined by Champion elect Jamie Wainwright and Wildcard entry Adam Harris. Already this season, Southwood had bagged his maiden AMCA Championship moto win at Hawkstone and in Sunday’s opener he was right on the gas again. Moving up from 3rd he passed Matt Ridgway then Wainwright to take control and look on course for another victory. Three laps from home though, series leader Wainwright fought back to take the win as Ryan Crowder got home in 3rd ahead of a great scrap for 4th which featured Josh Coleman, Harris, Ridgway and Luke Dean.

With Wainwright falling on lap one of the second clash and finding himself right down in 20th, Southwood was hitting the front again. Making no mistake this time, the Langmead and Hay Race Team Husqvarna pilot roared onto victory from Crowder, Dean and Harris. Charging hard, Wainwright somehow got right back to 5th.

Although admitting that he was close to cancelling his entry and not attending the Brookthorpe event following the previous day’s horrific weather conditions, Harris certainly enjoyed the last MX2 moto. Leading all the way he then became involved in a truly thrilling finish. Having gated 6th, Wainwright passed 2nd placed Southwood on the final lap before reeling in Harris. In a last gasp attempt to take the win, Wainwright dived inside Harris going into the final corner, just failing by the very narrowest of margins to get the verdict. With another strong ride, Dean was on it again to earn 4th from Crowder and the brave Whatley. Brookthorpe proved to be another successful round for the two-smoker pilots with Mark Young, Brad Tranter and Lee Truman also inside the top ten overall positions. In the race for the title, Wainwright now has a 121 point advantage over Whatley with Crowder a further 45 points in arrears. The last word on Brookthorpe though goes to winner Southwood, “The track was wet early on and I only qualified in 10th which I was not happy with. I led the first moto but tired in the closing stages and settled for 2nd. The second moto was good and taking the win was great. In the last one although I tired again I knew that 3rd was enough to get the overall. It’s been a bad couple of years for me and I was not going to even race this season but thanks to Langmead and Hay Race team and all my sponsors I decided to give it a go and try and make a name for myself again. Although I was unfit early season I am at last beginning to feel good. I am really enjoying racing in the AMCA and intend to come back next year and give it another go maybe in MX1.”

On his comeback from injury, James Lane led the opening Vets race before being quickly overhauled by Phil Mercer, the winner at both Hawkstone and Culham. Series leader Jamie Powell on the SRH KTM then got up into 2nd to chase Mercer all the way to the chequered flag. With Simon Lane and Craig Chamberlain next, Sean Smith just held off Darren Bennett in a super scrap for 6th as late on Colin Conduit also joined the party.

With Mercer gating in 3rd, Powell surged to the front in Vets moto two, leading the charge for four laps. Mercer though was right on the gas and on Powell’s tail, gliding smoothly through to take another win. With the front two well clear, the Lane boys were having a great battle for 3rd, James eventually getting the verdict from Simon.

In the last one, Powell finally got the better of ‘Factory Phil’ with the usual suspects of Simon Lane, James Lane, Smith, Chamberlain, Bennett and Conduit in the frame. With just one round remaining, Powell is 130 points clear at the top from Simon Lane and Chamberlain who is a further 151 points in arrears.

As the Youth class pack charged to turn one of their opening moto at Brookthorpe, there was drama for young Jake O’Gorman when his left footpeg came adrift. While Jake and his team frantically attempted to solve the problem and get back on track, another Jake (Randall) took the win from Harry Ridgway, Ezra Blackwell, Matt Tolley, Reece Leverton and Solomon Levey.

Randall and Ridgway then disputed top slot in moto two, the former getting the verdict just ahead of Tolley, Blackwell and Leverton. After his opening race issues, O’Gorman took 6th in this one. After being right in contention in the earlier moto’s, Ridgway finally then got his reward in the last Youth clash. With a composed, controlled performance, Harry bagged a fine AMCA Championship win ahead of Randall and O’Gorman. Delighted with his Brookthorpe performance, Ridgway said, “Although some people do not enjoy riding in on wet tracks I really like it and for me it’s my favourite time to ride. After starting with two 2nd places I got the holeshot in the last race. Jake Randall was closing on me but crashed which gave me a good lead. I then thought carefully about my lines and ensured that I didn’t make a mistake. Getting the win made me really pleased.”In the Championship standings, it’s Tolley still leading the way on 1483 points from Ridgway 1393 and Blackwell 1362 and these three lads can now not be caught so are guaranteed a final medal position.

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 Mike Wood  http://www.offroad-action.co.uk/

The results of the event are below.