The sandy expanses of the Fatcat Motoparc in Yorkshire was the venue for round one of the 2023 AMCA British Motocross Championship on Easter weekend. Held over two day’s, this year’s series is also incorporating the BWMA (British Women’s Motocross Association) and the fast females who were competing in a couple of the same groups as the lads certainly got stuck in, producing determined, high class performances!
The first combined contest was for the Youth 85cc class and with a fantastic 33 riders coming under starters orders, the action was always going to be frantic! In all four encounters the super-fast and very talented Wildcard Josh Vail scorched to massive victories. On three of those occasions, Mason Care got home in 2nd spot but his copybook was spoilt in the third clash of the weekend when finishing in last spot! So, Care had to settle for 6th overall as Oakley Kettle took the runners-up position with Ollie Jewitt in 3rd .
For the girls, Holly Williams was the highest placed finisher with 13th in moto one as Checoby Rainey took 18th, Leah Rees-Evans 19th and Lillie Eastlake 20th being the next best. In the three remaining clashes, Williams, Rainey and Rees-Evans were consistently the highest female finishers, saving there very best until the last moto of the weekend. In that one, Rainey, Rees-Evans and Williams were superb getting home in a fantastic 8th,9th and 10th respectively with Rees-Evans taking the round one overall in the girls contest just a point clear of Rainey.
The second combined contest which featured the main BWMA series also included the Youth 125cc lads. Taking the win for the boy’s in the opener was Wyatt McGregor from Jack Evans, Ben McConville, Will Turner and Phillip Tchorek. In the BWMA class, last year’s Elite Ladies runner-up Rheanna Morgan Rogers was the first female home in a great 14th with Marni Saunders 15th, Amber McGregor 16th, Caitlin Newman 17th and Grace Bates18th. After starting with a DNF, Apex GasGas rider Shane Jones was certainly the star of this joint boys v girls class from here onwards, winning all three remaining moto’s but that was only enough for an eventual 5th overall. Taking the podium spots were Wyatt McGregor, Jack Evans and Will Turner, all 2022 85cc class riders. For the BWMA, Morgan-Rogers was again top finisher with a super 13th in moto two before it all went wrong for the KTM rider! Crashing out when inside the top 15 in the third clash, the event was over for Rheanna. So, from here onwards it was the combination of Lauren May Collingwood, Saunders, Newman, Bates and co who continued to take the fight to the boy’s and it was Saunders on the Kawasaki machine who was to claim the BWMA overall in round one.
Taking the overall win in the ultra-competitive 125cc contest was new FUS Marsh Geartec Husqvarna pilot Damon Strydom. Despite having not felt 100% fit due to a bout of flu, Damon was right on it, winning the opening three clashes but boy was he made to work hard for success! Along with the afore mentioned Cox, wildcard Jimmy Margetson, fast, hard-charging CPMX KTM pilot Harry Linton, Luke Dean, Chris Povey, Luke Newman was always in the sharp end of the action and gunning for glory with the leadership of the moto’s changing on more than one occasion, what great entertainment! Typical of the action, in the final moto of the 125cc weekend, Dean and Strydom both took turns to control proceedings before both Margetson and Linton came through and inflict super Strydom’s first defeat.
After taking five years out from racing, former double AMCA 125cc champion Jack Cox was back and what a performance he was to produce. On the pace and even leading 125cc moto’s, Jack went 4/4/3 before a broken rear shock in the last clash when holding 3rd ruined his scorecard. Unfortunately, there was also some bad news from this class as the experienced Phil Mercer crashed early in moto one suffering serious injuries and a trip to hospital, get well soon Phil!
Having scored back to back AMCA MX2 titles, defending Champion Shane Carless is looking for a hat-trick in 2023 but at Fatcat, feeling a little under the weather, the Welshman had to settle for 4th behind winner Ben Mustoe, Rory Jones and Howard Wainwright. In truth though, the supremely talented ASA United GasGas wildcard rider Mustoe was on another planet, quickly checking out and firing to very big wins in all four moto’s. Along with Carless there was plenty of capable challengers to young Mustoe’s dominance including Tommy Alba, Rory Jones, Corey Hockey, Howard Wainwright, Jake Preston, Lee Truman and McKenzie Marshall. Suffering a mixed bag of fortunes, 15-year-old Marshall always looked right on the pace but heavy crashes in moto’s two and four stopped his progress. For Alba the issue was mechanical gremlins and he was even forced to borrow his LRT Yamaha teammate Liam Gale’s spare bike in moto three only for the spark plug to break-up resulting in a DNF! Despite that DNF and other issues, Tommy still went 2/3/2 in the remaining clashes for 6th overall. So, of those challengers it was Jones who proved to be the most consistent going 6/4/3/4, enough to earn him a richly deserved 2nd overall with Wainwright coming back from a moto three fall and bag enough points for the final podium spot.
In the new Open class contest, James Dodd and Henry Williams dominated all four clashes in the process producing a thrilling and very entertaining quartet of battles in which the two very fast, riders were almost never more than 10 yards apart! With Dodd on a 450F and Williams 350F the FUS v Apex contest raged all weekend. Williams took moto one before Doddy cleverly bagged the remaining victories, simply superb! In the race to finish 3rd overall, Will Hughes, Adam Wells, Luke Meredith and Mark Roberts were also right on it. Eventually it was Hughes getting that final podium place.
Two new names on the AMCA Vets Championship scene, Adam Wilkinson and Simon Bonser were to be the prominent performers at Fatcat. Riding a 125cc GasGas, Wilkinson, a regular visitor to the Yorkshire venue certainly showed that he knows the fast route through the sand, producing a stunning performance by winning all four moto’s. His victory in the first race of the weekend was arguably his best, coming from last to take the honours with Bonser in 2nd, Matt Ryder making a welcome return to the Championship in 3rd and the always consistent Lane brothers, Simon and James next up. On his way to maximum points, Wilkinson had to also pass fast starting Bonser in all three remaining clashes, what a performance from the little 2T pilot! So on the podium it was Wilkinson from Bonser with Simon Lane in 3rd as former AMCA Champion Ryder just missed out but still bagged a strong 4th.
Completing the Fatcat action, on Sunday only there was a couple of moto’s for Unlimited Junior riders. In these two outings, young Daiyaan Manuel totally dominated and scorched away to a brace of comfortable victories. In this one Grant Reed took 2nd with Paige Felipes 3rd. The 2023 Championship now goes South to Brookthorpe in Gloucestershire on the weekend of April 29th/30th.
Words and Images by Mike Wood
The results of the event are below.