Round 3 of the BWMA/AMCA Westermans International British Womens MX Championships was a double header with 6 races over the weekend of June 19th and 20th and the days couldn't have been more of a contrast, with dry conditions on the Saturday and very wet and slippery conditions on the Sunday bringing out all the skill of the riders.
Qualifying for all three classes took place on the Saturday for gate picks for all 6 races. No surprise in the Pro-class Qualification for pole position as Team Green Kawasaki's Chelsea Gowland took the number 1 spot but the big surprise was the ever improving Cath King who was just 0.028 seconds behind, the closest any rider has got to Gowland, 17 year old Georgie Potter took an impressive 3rd gate pick followed by the 125ccc trio of Tanisha Thomas, 15 year old Jaysi Austin and Caitlin Newman, Grace Bates 8th ahead of Gemma Holtham in 9th her best qualifying of the season and the unfortunate Autumn Jenkinson who rounded out the top 10 before crashing and damaging her spine putting her out for the foreseeable future.
Race 1 and it was the super quick Catherine King who took the first Muscle Doctor Holeshot of the day with Tanisha Thomas close behind, Gowland was fourth behind Jaysi Austin and a brilliant start in 5th for Caitlin Newman. King pushed hard to put a gap between her and Thomas and try and get distance ahead of Gowland, Austin was hanging on to Gowland in the opening stages but couldn't shake Georgie Potter from her tale and that was turning out to be another great battle, by lap 2 Gowland passed Thomas and chased down King putting in the pass at the halfway point and controlling her lead, meanwhile Georgie Potters pressure paid off and she managed to get passed Austin for 4th place, Caitlin Newman had the better of Jaymee Garrood until arm pump meant she couldn't hold the place as Garrood made the pass for 6th. Grace Bates brought it home ahead of Gemma Holtham with Kimberley Holden-James rounding out the top 10.
Race 2 and again it was King grabbing another Muscle Doctor Holeshot from Tanisha Thomas, Gowland and Austin with Newman in 5th ahead of Potter, virtual repeat of Race 1, this time Gowland only had to pass King and she did this by lap 3, Thomas couldn't make an impression on King and finished 3rd, behind her Georgie Potter was piling on the pressure to Jaysi Austin but it was Potter who made a mistake letting Austin off the hook, while the other battle between Jaymee Garrood and Caitlin Newman saw Garrood again take 6th place, Grace Bates taking another 8th place ahead of 18 year old Paige Gould, her first time in the top 10 and 15 year old Georgia Bottriel taking 10th.
Race 3 and finally Gowland broke King's stranglehold on the holeshot by taking her first of the weekend allowing her to take a start to finish win. Caitlin Newman had her best start of the series rounding the first corner side by side with King ahead of Thomas and Austin, this gave her the chance to get ahead of arch rival Garrood, Thomas got past Newman to give chase to King but couldn't close the gap, Georgie Potter managed to squeeze past Jaysi Austin but Austin didn't let her out of her sights piling on the pressure and eventually pushing Potter into a mistake to take 4th place, Newman and Garrood were neck and neck throughout the race but Garrood just couldn't find a way past finishing in 7th place ahead of the consistent Grace Bates taking her 3rd 8th place of the day ahead of Kimberley Holden-James and Gemma Holtham in 10th place.
Sunday and following overnight rain it was a different track. First race of the day and it was the BWMA Adults, race 4 of the round and it was a race of attrition as it was almost impossible to find grip, no lines, sloppy, sticky mud. Cath King was again Queen of the Muscle Doctor Holeshots bagging another one with Tanisha Thomas close behind followed by Jaysi Austin and Jaymee Garrood, Gowland back in 6th place into the second corner. King and Thomas looked smooth and in control as they pulled away, Gowland picked a few places before dropping it and having to come from behind, before dropping it again in the tricky conditions, despite a strong comeback moving up to second King was supreme in the wet hardly making a mistake to take her first race win of the series Gowland in an unfamiliar distant second. Jaysi Austin showed for such a young rider how talented she was in the wet conditions riding to a superb 4th place, Georgie Potter had Chloe Richards who was only racing the Sunday to battle with and just got the better to finish 5th, Richards making a mistake allowing the Enduro experience of Gemma Holtham to take her best finish of the series in 6th place, Grace Bates stuck in 8th place ahead of Jaymee Garrood who dropped it after such a strong start finishing in 9th place ahead of Aaliyah Hulbert her first time in the top 10.
Race 5 and the track was starting to get grip, King again nailed the holeshot as Gowland, Thomas and Austin rounded the first corner 3 a breast, Grace Bates snuck into 5th place and held it to the finish, Newman and Holtham followed but Garrood and Potter were way down the field with all to race for. As things settle Newman was 6th ahead of Jaymee Garrood and Georgie Potter who worked their way up only for Newman to drop it letting Garrood through ahead of Potter for 6th Newman finishing 10th behind Gemma Holtham and Chloe Richards, but the drama wasn't over yet, up the front Gowland dropped it and had to push hard, with a lap to go she was too far back to catch King looking favourite for another win but Gowland rode a champions last lap to pull some 5 seconds on King and take the win with just 3 corners to spare.
The 6th and final race of the weekend and the track had come back to prime condition, bumpy, rutty and gnarly but very grippy. King took her 5th out of 6 Muscle Doctor Holeshots with Gowland right on her tail, it took Gowland a couple of laps to get past and with a controlled ride pulled enough of a gap to be safe, Austin was having a great ride in 3rd ahead of Tanisha Thomas but Thomas soon got past leaving Austin to finish in 4th, Georgie Potter rode a solid race to take 5th ahead of Grace Bates coming good as the day wore on, Caitlin Newman had an uneventful race finishing 7th ahead of Chloe Richards with Jaymee Garrood unfortunate to fall back to 9th behind Chloe Richards and ahead of Gemma Holtham rounding out the top 10.
Pro-class Qualifying Results
1st Chelsea Gowland 297pts
2nd Catherine King 285pts
3rd Tanisha Thomas 268pts
4th Jaysi Austin 258pts
5th Georgie Potter 244pts
6th Grace Bates 220pts
7th Jaymee Garrood 220pts
8th Caitlin Newman 210pts
9th Gemma Holtham 197pts
10th Georgia Bottriel 178pts
85cc British Youth Girls Championship
Team Green Kawasaki's Youth rider Beanie Reece headed into Round 3 with the championship lead and she intended to keep it that way, but the standard of the girls in the 85cc Youth class is getting better as each round progresses and from out of nowhere young Amber McGregor took pole position in qualifying by almost 2 seconds, Reece second but in 3rd place was 11 year old sensation Olivia Reynolds from the 65cc class she was ahead of Millie Sweeney, Leah Rees-Evans, Holly Williams and Northern Irelands Checoby Rainey in 7th, Ellie Davidson took 8th but would prove she is better than that, ahead of Erin Howes and rounding out the top 10 Sophie Jones.
Race 1 and it was Reece taking the Muscle Doctor Holeshot ahead of Amber McGregor and Millie Sweeney, Erin Howes and Holly Williams. The top girls are really getting on a level pace as the positions up front changed constantly providing some great racing. Reece and McGregor took the one two to the finish, Ellie Davidson started down in 10th place but battled her way through the pack to 5th behind Millie Sweeney and in 3rd behind 2nd place finisher Amber McGregor was young Leah Rees-Evans who showed that she was determined to make it to the top.
Race 2 and the drama was unfolding, Leah Rees-Evans full of determination took the Muscle Doctor Holeshot as Reece had a nightmare on the line leaving in last place, Rees-Evans rode a faultless race, but Reece had to work hard as she picked her way through the field, she managed to get up to second place behind Rees-Evans but on the last lap as Rees-Evans jumped the last of the rhythm section she caught it wrong and it pitched her over the bars resulting in a broken collar bone and finishing her weekend. Reece went on to take a last to first win, Amber McGregor was a solid 2nd, Millie Sweeney 3rd with Ellie Davidson right behind her in 4th after picking up from 7th place start and a solid ride from Checoby Rainey to finish in 5th.
Race 3 and it was Beanie Reece again taking the Muscle Doctor Holeshot with Holly Williams in second with Erin Howes and Millie Sweeney right behind, Davidson again was right down the field but her grit and determination would pull her through to finish in 5th place, Erin Howes slipped back out the top 5 to 7th while Amber McGregor pulled her way through to finish 2nd leaving Holly Williams to lead Millie Sweeney home in 3rd and 4th.
Day 2 and race 4 in the wet conditions and more drama was to follow. Race 4 on the program and the track was already getting tacky and fast.
As teammate to Chelsea Gowland, Beanie Reece has the benefit of Chelsea's experience and order of the day was to protect the championship lead and not push unnecessarily. Out the gate and for her first Muscle Doctor Holeshot was Northern Ireland's Checoby Rainey with Reece right behind, Reece had a fall and had to work back through leaving Sweeney to take the lead briefly, Reece soon got back in control but the battle was on between Ellie Davidson and Millie Sweeney, Sweeney was next to take a tumble leaving Davidson to finish a career best in 2nd place, Checoby Rainey salvaged 4th place after the brilliant holeshot and Amber McGregor pulling back to 5th place after a fall.
Race 5 and Reece was back in control of the Holeshots, Holly Williams showed her potential by following Reece through the first corner ahead of Checoby Rainey, Davidson, Sweeney and McGregor. Reece had a less eventful racing riding a consolidated ride to secure first place and with the best finish of her campaign, Rainey came home a brilliant 2nd place ahead of Williams who rode a faultless race to finish 3rd, Amber McGregor 4th ahead of Davidson in 5th.
The final race of the weekend and possibly the most exciting as Reece again took the Muscle Doctor Holeshot, Williams again in 2nd with Sweeney and Davidson side by side as they rounded the first corner, Williams made a mistake dropping her right down leaving Sweeney and Davidson to give chase to Reece, Davidson piled on the pressure and briefly passed Sweeney for 2nd but Sweeney got the place back only to stall it in a corner two laps later leaving Davidson to chase Reece eventually pulling alongside, Reece then turned it up a bit to pull away, Davidson dropped it letting the remounted Sweeney to pass to finish 2nd, Davidson bringing it home in 3rd ahead of McGregor and Checoby Rainey in 5th.
85cc British Girls Youth Championship
1st Beanie Reece 300pts
2nd Amber McGregor 268pts
3rd Millie Sweeney 260pts
4th Ellie Davidson 258pts
5th Checoby Rainey 248pts
6th Holly Williams 244pts
7th Erin Howes 224pts
8th Sophie Jones 206pts
9th Lowri Rees 198pts
10th Leah Rees-Evans 45pts
65cc Rising Stars
The weekend was dominated by 11 year old Olivia Reynolds. The 65's racing in the same race as the 85's Reynolds at this tender age is already an incredibly accomplished, fast and skillful rider and an exciting prospect for the future of British Womens MX, In the combined qualification she finished in 3rd place ahead of some of the quickest 85cc girls in the country, on the Saturday she finished race 1 in 4th, race 2 she took the win after Beanie Reeces comeback, and race 3 shadowed Reece in 2nd to the finish. On day two when Reece was racing a cautious race to protect her 85cc wins and championship position, Reynolds rode so skillfully in the tricky conditions to take all three combined race wins. Poppy Banning also had some great races taking 6 seconds but also having some great races in the thick of the 85cc action, in third place was Cameron Mansbridge in her first competitive season making steady progress improving as each round progresses.
1st Olivia Reynolds 300pts
2nd Poppy Banning 282pts
3rd Cameron Mansbridge 270pts
Words and images by Howard Marriott
The results of the event are below.