Following six previous rounds which had produced plenty of great racing, drama and sadly a couple of tragic incidents, the destination of the 2022 AMCA British Motocross Championship titles were to be finally decided on Sunday. The venue for the finale was the hillside circuit at Nympsfield and although there was little further movement at the top of the standings in the respective classes, this last round promoted by the Uley MXC still served up some simply super action!
Going into Nympsfield, nine of the ten titles on offer were still to be sorted and it was the first class in the programme that was to arguably produce the main drama of the day! Just 7 points separated the top three Vets riders before the final round with Gary Davies leading the way from Shane Holmes and defending Champion Phil Mercer. After campaigning just about all of the series on 250F Honda, Holmes then arrived at the decider armed with a 350F KTM which he had borrowed from Jamie Wainwright and only tested the previous day at Apex Practice Facility. Quickly dialling in with his new mount, Holmes then proceeded to win the opening moto with Mercer in 2nd ahead of Davies, James Lane, Simon Lane and Matt Chaplin. In the second clash of the day, Davies then fought back to take the win but dramatically Mercer was to crash out. With his hand slipping off the handlebars, Phil lost control, going over the top of a banked turn, hitting the ground hard and suffering concussion.
So that meant the title race was now between Davies on 1483 points v Holmes on 1482, it couldn’t be much closer than that and as per the script, these two battling aces hit the front in the last and deciding moto. However before the completion of lap one, Holmes challenge was over, crashing after making contact with Davies when the Championship chasers landed off a jump. From here onwards it meant that Davies just had to finish the contest, enough to confirm the crown, and that’s just what he did, completing the job in style with another moto win. The Vets crown was Gary’s 12th AMCA title, what a truly remarkable achievement that is! Making it a double success, Gary also won himself a motocross holiday in Spain courtesy of Planet Moto and their First lap leader award. With both Holmes and Mercer out of the event overall reckonings, Gloucester based brothers James and Simon Lane took full advantage to finish their own season off in style with a place on the top three podium. In the separately scored Vets Over 50 class, the battered and bruised Mercer did gain some consolation by just about hanging on to take the title, 39 points clear of the always consistent Brian Staples.
It was always going to be a case of one from three in the battle for the MX1 crown following an outstanding season of close racing produced by Luke Burton, James Dodd and Josh Waterman. Arriving at Nympsfield, Burton held a single point advantage over Waterman with Dodd just a further 5 points in arrears. All three moto’s on Sunday were then to produce a fairly similar pattern as Burton and Dodd broke clear at the front to indulge in some no-holds barred, all-action battles in which they were never more than a few yards apart, simply stunning! The win count went 2-1 in Burton’s favour, enough to earn him the title, his 7th AMCA crown. With Dodd taking the silver medal position and Waterman in 3rd, Adam Wells recorded his highest final MX1 finish in 4th. In the MX1 Cup, Sion Talbot had already secured the title but still gave it his all, chasing Waterman hard in both moto’s two and three.
It was also a case of one from three in the Youth 85cc class as Jack Evans held a 11 point lead over Sebby Moore with Will Turner a further 23 points in arrears. Whilst the day did not start well for Turner dropping down to 11th place in moto one, Moore kept his own hopes firmly alive with victory from Evans, Oakley Kettle, Wyatt McGregor, George Bromley and Oliver Bebb. The fast starting Kettle then won moto two chased by all three title contenders.
So going into the final contest, Evans was still in charge of his title destiny, 10 points better off than Moore whilst Turner could not now mathematically take top slot. Determined to take the fight all the way, Moore then led the last moto before McGregor came through for the win as Evans confirmed his crown with a controlled 3rd spot. In the Small-Wheeled 85cc Championship it was a case of Oliver Bebb v Harley Piper for top slot, a contest which Bebb won finishing the season 29 points clear of his rival.
Having already won AMCA 125cc, MX1 and MX2 titles in consecutive seasons, Welsh ace Shane Carless was determined to add another crown this year. In defence of his MX2 success though it’s not gone exactly to plan for Shane and he’s certainly faced a whole host of very determined challenges in the form of Tommy Alba, the injured Henry Williams, Rory Jones, Corey Hockey and a whole host of others! Shane had clearly stated before Sunday’s event that he wanted to settle the nerves by starting with a moto win and thus increase his current 20 point Championship chasing advantage. And, that’s just what he did, quickly passing Jaydon Murphy as Howard Wainwright took a strong 2nd from Alba and Jones who had both come through the pack from 8th and 20th places respectively.
Although Carless then also grabbed the second moto holeshot in MX2, the very determined duo of Alba and Jones both got through. Satisfied with a safe 3rd, Carless was followed home by Ray Rowson, Adam Cook, Jake Preston and Jack Timms. So going into the last clash of the season, Carless was still favourite for top honours holding that same 20 points advantage over Alba, a rider who always give 110% percent effort and so much more! Knowing that a top ten finish would now be enough to retain his crown, Carless rode a careful, controlled final moto to get home in 5th behind winner Alba, Cook, Wainwright and Jones. In the Championship table, Jones took 3rd after overhauling Williams, unable to compete due to a broken leg sustained during round 6. In the separately scored MX2 Cup competition, just a single point was the difference on arrival at Nympsfield between Adam Cook and Cory McShane at the top. Cookie though has been superb all season and really mixing it up, typified by taking 5th overall at this finale, enough to also earn the Cup title aboard his 250cc 2T KTM.
With 32 points separating Matt Bayliss, a rider who has won the vast majority of 125cc moto’s this season and his main challenger Luke Dean, many must of thought that the superb Bayliss had the 2022 AMCA title just about in the bag! Dean though was having none of it and was determined to try and take the fight right down to the wire, and what a performance he was to produce! In a spectacular opening two moto’s, Luke was right on it and playing his part in a brace of stunning clashes which saw the two aces passing and repassing! These two top pilots won a race each so the Championship gap was still 32 points going into the last moto of the 125cc season.
Whilst Dean zoomed away to lead the pack, Bayliss was in trouble with his clutch expiring as he left the start gate. Then also suffering brake issues, could the impossible happen and Bayliss record a DNF thus handing Dean the crown? Well despite those mechanical issues, Bayliss remained cool, collected and calm to bring it home in 6th behind Dean, Matt Ridgway, Jordan Wright, Liam Gale and Joel Fisher. That result meant that a relieved Bayliss was indeed the Champion, 21 points clear of Dean with Chris Povey in 3rd. All of the above mentioned lads and others have featured in what has been a superb 2022 Championship chase and Fisher who took 5th overall also topped the 125cc Youth Championship ahead of Yarin Evans.
Many congratulations to all of the 2022 AMCA British Motocross Championship winners, AMCA Events team and organising clubs for delivering the goods despite the very difficult circumstances which arose during the first couple of rounds!.
Words and Images by Mike Wood
The results of the event are below.