The 2018 staging of the AMCA Beach Motocross at Weymouth was to prove extra special for Alf Stearn, chairman of the organising Purbeck MXC. Not only was this Alf’s 25th year of being involved in the event but also the 2018 entry was to be at its biggest ever, with a whopping 364 riders in attendance!
And it’s easy to see just why this immensely popular event has survived the times of change and continues to go from strength to strength! The small but totally committed, organised and enthusiastic Purbeck club run a very slick show, building a track which caters for riders of all abilities but most importantly make the event totally enjoyable and good fun for all! Although a bitterly cold and strong wind tried its best to interrupt proceedings on Sunday, a big crowd was again in attendance and watching the action for FREE as Robbie Shuttleworth (Juniors), Billy Saunders (Seniors) and James Carpenter (Experts) took the overall wins.
First up was the Juniors Unlimited contest sponsored by Caroline Racing and it was the high flying Brett Rowland on his little 2T KTM who posted the fastest time in practice. But when the legendary Weymouth starter Mr Jim Shipton dropped the flag to signal the commencement of the 2018 Junior contest it was to be Lee Sims who led the long charge to the first turn. Showing the speed he had generated earlier in the day, Rowland then quickly responded by taking control at the front until disappearing from proceedings on lap four. Replacing Rowland at the front was Robbie Shuttleworth who initially started down in 7th. For the final two laps Shuttleworth then remained calm to guide his KTM home to victory as Michael Norton took 2nd from Luke Humphries, Andrew Hollingsworth, Dave Thomas and Ryan Fox.
Norton was the fastest rider away in Juniors moto two but by the second circuit Rowland making up for his DNF disappointment in the first clash of the day moved through to take control and blast off for the win. Showing great style and determination, first moto winner Shuttleworth after gating down in 11th took just two laps to get up into 3rd spot. Then with just one lap remaining he moved past Norton and thus get home in a strong 2nd, enough to also earn the overall verdict. In this clash, Connor Rixon took 4th with Harrison Boyd 5th and Andrew Hollingsworth 6th. Afterwards Shuttleworth the Juniors overall winner said, “I rode steady and didn’t feel that I was the quickest out there but kept plugging away and had a bit of luck! In Beach racing it really depends on how quickly you can pass the backmarkers and today I had the luck. I have done the Weston Beach race as a kid but this was my first Weymouth event and really enjoyed it. I will definitely be back in 2019 but racing in the Seniors class.”
In a frantic opening Seniors moto, Mark Morris grabbed the holeshot before disappearing totally off the leaderboard. Next up to enjoy a brief taste of race leadership was Kyle Proctor before Ross Blackmore came storming through. Gating in 10th, Ross was on a right charge and after taking control on lap three he then raced off to take what was to be the narrowest of victories! Right on his tail was Billy Saunders who had also moved swiftly up the leaderboard. At the chequered flag and after nine crazy laps, Saunders was incredibly less than a single second behind Blackmore, what a finish! Next up was Robert Lewis, Proctor and Scott C Aylmore who had posted the fastest practice time.
After that extremely close finish, the roles were to be reversed in moto two as Saunders got the better of Blackmore, the winning margin on this occasion being slightly more comfortable. Proctor had led the early stages of this second clash, eventually having to settle for 4th behind Lewis. For this Welsh lad, moto two was certainly eventful, getting up to 2nd before colliding with a backmarker and dropping initially down to 5th. On his fast Honda, Aylmore was again right in the mix as Owen Hillman, Jamie Watts, Tallon Aspden, Mark Cornick and Ricky Good completed the top ten.
Once again at Weymouth, Poole Motorcycles were kind enough to sponsor an Experts contest stacked with quality and it was former Weymouth winner and current ACU Maxxis Championship runner Jake Shipton who laid down an early marker by posting the fastest practice time. Local favourite Shipton then made a simply blistering start in moto one to thus lead the way but fellow Maxxis Championship rider James Carpenter was right on his tail. Four laps in and Shipton unexpectedly tasted the Weymouth sand thus enabling Carpenter to take control. For the next six laps it was now Jake’s turn to do the chasing before eventually regaining control on lap ten. The joy though of retaking the lead was to be unfortunately short lived as Shipton’s Yamaha engine expired signalling the end of his day’s racing. So victory went to a very fast Carpenter. Getting home in 2nd was Enduro ace Daryl Bolter whilst JSR Thunder road Honda AMCA title chaser James Dodd in 4th, Corey Hockey, Luke Oldfield, Gareth Artus, Lewis Dowdeswell, Brad King and Brad Thornhill all produced strong opening race results. The real stars though of this moto one clash were Josh Waterman and World Enduro Champion Steve Holcombe. Starting at the back, Josh came right through to 3rd despite also encountering more than a couple of tumbles. Also in trouble, Holcombe unsure of the procedure to start Weymouth races was left totally stranded on the line and in last place! Then pulling a massive wheelie down just about the entire length of the beach race area, Holcombe got down to business and stormed right through the pack to finish 5th!
In a second Experts moto that was to be first restarted due to riders being a little too eager to make a quick getaway then eventually red-flagged due to a fallen rider, Holcombe got the holeshot on both occasions. In the rerun Steve was to come under some very heavy pressure in the first few laps from Josh Waterman. Unfortunately the 2018 IMBA and AMCA Champion was then forced out with clutch problems. With Josh now missing, Carpenter slotted into the vacant 2nd spot some 11 seconds behind Holcombe with Bolter, Lee Sealey, Charlie Putman, Hockey and Dodd the next best. At the presentation overall winner Jamie Carpenter said, “I had a very enjoyable day out there. In moto one Jake Shipton and me had a really good battle before he retired and I took the win. In moto two I didn’t make such a good start and had to work my way through to 2nd before the race was unfortunately red-flagged. At the time I was catching Steve but I am really pleased with the overall win.” Meanwhile four-time World Enduro Champion Steve Holcombe was also pleased with his first ever Weymouth appearance, “Having seen this event on social media and with my season over I thought I would give the event a try and have some fun. I totally missed the moto one start as I was unsure of the procedure they use then I had problems getting the bike to fire into life. In last place I pulled a big wheelie down the straight then got going. Although I had a few moments and crashes I kept riding and was really pleased to get home in 5th! In moto two I had a good start both in the stopped race and the rerun to lead from start to finish. It was unfortunate that the second clash was called short due to a fallen rider but I really enjoyed today and will be back again next year.”
So with Weymouth 2018 done and dusted, all that remained was for Alf Stearn and the Purbeck MXC to hand over a cheque for £1,800 to the local Weymouth and Portland Lions Club. For regular Weymouth commentator Paul Hardy this was to be his last event and Jim Shipton along with his fellow Purbeck members would like to thank Paul and wish him the best of luck in his retirement. Whilst Paul can now put his feet up, everyone else will be back again in 2019, the date for your diaries being Sunday, 13th October.
TO VIEW ALL OF THE IMAGES FROM THIS EVENT GO TO
Mike Wood http://www.offroad-action.co.uk/
The results of the event are below.