After a recent enforced break due to wet weather, the 2023 AMCA British Motocross Championship returned to action at the weekend with the latest round held at Lower Drayton in Staffordshire. Being a double header event, there was plenty of points on offer and Shane Carless (MX2), Shane Jones (125cc Youth), Ryan Jackson (SW85cc) and Matt Ryder (Vets O50) all took full advantage to bag maximum points.
Going back to that MX2 class and Shane Carless (FUS Marsh Geartec Husqvarna) picked up his first victory of the weekend in what was a rather dramatic affair! For the opening seven laps it was Howard Wainwright leading the way before being forced out after painfully twisting his knee. Also failing to finish was Wildcard rider Ben Mustoe who suffered a massive crash on lap five when holding 2nd spot. Thankfully young Ben was uninjured but had badly damaged his bike and his weekend was unfortunately over. So, after starting in 3rd Carless took full advantage and claim the moto win from Corey Hockey, Rory Jones, Jake Preston, McKenzie Marshall and recent new Dad Lee Truman.
With Preston going out of moto two with a blown motor, Hockey led the charge until three laps from home before Carless came through. In the closing stages, fast Lewis Hall, a rider returning to the sport and joining the Meredith MX team also found a way past Hockey. After a straight forward moto three win, Carless was then made to work very hard for his maximum points scoring victory in the last MX2 clash. In that one, Hockey looked on course to be first past the chequered flag until jarring his ankle. In immense pain, the Midwest Racing Husqvarna pilot dropped down to 5th behind Carless, Hall, Jones and Preston. Ominously, the Lower Drayton results mean that defending MX2 Champion Carless is now already at the top of the title standings!
Starting in the same superb form which he had shown during round one at Fatcat, Apex GasGas UK youngster Shane Jones was on it again! The stylish, smooth kid scorched to four big Lower Drayton wins in the Youth 125cc class. The only rider to really get close to the flying red machine was Wyatt McGregor on the orange KTM. Indeed, McGregor had spells where he led both moto’s one and three. His chances though of finishing in a deserved overall runners-up spot were spoilt in the last clash of the weekend. In that one, Wyatt found himself in a distant last place and with lots of work to do! Staying calm, he then brilliantly stormed back to get home in 12th. That was just about enough to earn the final podium step just behind the ultra-consistent Will Turner on the Midwest Racing Husqvarna. Also, right in the mix in this one was Jack Evans, Rees Jones, Phillip Tchorek and Riegan Rees. Although it’s early days, McGregor tops the Championship standings with just a further 10 points separating him from Evans, Shane Jones and Turner, this is already shaping up to be an outstanding contest!
The BWMA Women also competed in this Youth 125cc class and just like Fatcat it was Marni Saunders taking the overall win from Caitlin Newman. Having not competed in round one, Ria Truman took 3rd this time from Hannah Jones, Grace Bates and Amber McGregor, sister of the afore mentioned Wyatt McGregor! In three out of four moto’s, Marni was the first Woman home, her highest placing being a great 10th in the second clash. The only time Marni was defeated by her fellow females was in moto three when Newman (13th), Bates (14th) and Truman (15th) all got ahead of the early Championship leader. CPMX Racing KTM rider Hollie Roberts, the 2022 BWMA 85cc Champion showed again that she’s quickly adapting to her increase in engine power by taking 7th overall in this class. With consistency in motocross always the key to success, how about India Hodgkinson who was 10th overall just behind Autumn Jenkinson and Abbie Piggott. In all four of her races, India also finished in 10th place!
The BWMA Girls were also in action in the Youth 85cc combined class. With Fatcat winner Leah Rees-Evans only completing three laps of the opening Lower Drayton moto, it left the door open for her rivals to take full advantage in the title race. And after four frantic clashes, incredibly Holly Williams and Checoby Rainey are now locked together at the top of the Championship standings on 382 points apiece. During the latest round it was Williams who was first girl home in three out of four clashes before Rainey gained a last moto success. All weekend in this one the girls were to post some big results with Williams a fantastic 6th in moto two whilst Rainey had a 9th in the last moto. Joining Williams and Rainey on the podium was Erin Howes with Poppy Banning and Sophie Jones next best.
In the boy’s 85cc contest, the fast-starting Oakley Kettle took the opening win from George Clark, Oliver Bebb, Mason Care, Alfie Irons and Ryan Jackson. From here onwards, Care scorched to three moto wins with Kettle the only rider to head him. So, on the podium it was Care the victor from Kettle and Clark and it’s also those three riders at the top of the Championship but in a slightly different order. In the title race, Kettle leads the way 21 points clear of Care with Clark a further 5 in arrears. In the separately scored SW85cc class, Jackson has now won the opening two rounds and holds a 34-point advantage over Harrison Rees and Jacob Ince in 3rd.
Just two weeks after having knee surgery, Nev Bradshaw was a surprise starter in the Lower Drayton 125cc class. And showing tremendous desire and determination to compete in the sport he clearly loves, the speedy South African then proceeded to remarkably win the opening race ahead of Luke Dean, Damon Strydom, Chris Povey, Jack Cox, Charlie Palmer and Harry Linton. In a super second race, Nev then had to settle for a runners-up spot after battling with Dean. Having taken the opportunity to test and punish the knee, Nev then headed for home leaving the super quick Dean to take a further two moto wins on the second day of action aboard his Meredith MX Fantic.
In the very early stages of Sunday’s 125cc racing though there was to be drama when series leader Strydom crashed out when the rear wheel axle came loose on his Husqvarna machine! With Strydom out of contention, his FUS teammate Povey stepped up the challenge and thus take a strong 2nd ahead of Cox and Yarin Evans who was having a fantastic ride in 4th on the SRH Racing KTM. Following his earlier incident, Strydom was up and running again in the final 125cc moto but it was Dean who took the victory with Povey in 3rd, Cox 4th and Matt Ridgway just edging out Charlie Palmer in a fantastic tussle for 5th. Dean’s super Lower Drayton performance as seen him also go to the top of the Championship table, 29 points clear of former AMCA Champion Cox and the FUS boy’s Strydom and Povey.
Just like the Fatcat round one battles, the Open class proved to be a fierce head-to-head battle at the front as James Dodd (FUS Marsh Geartec Husqvarna) took on Henry Williams (Apex GasGas UK). And, the end result was also to be the same with Doddy scoring a 3-1 moto win success. Showing his usual reliable consistency, Adam Wells the Apex teammate of Williams took 3rd overall despite suffering from some front fork issues in moto three. Fourth place in this class went to birthday boy Will Hughes. It was though not a totally memorable birthday for Will, suffering a day one crash which left him a little sore! Mark Roberts, Luke Meredith and Matt Burrows were next best in this class which also featured former AMCA Champions Josh Waterman and Luke Burton. Recovering from severe cramp in his hands which as kept him out of recent action, Josh completed one Saturday moto earning a 3rd place before retiring from the second clash, whilst Luke, coming back from a knee injury, finished with a brace of 3rd placings in Sunday’s moto’s.
The new slim, trim Veterans rider Simon Lane was to take the Lower Drayton top honours in that particular class ahead of his brother James Lane and former AMCA Vets Champion Matt Ryder. Having recently lost that little bit of weight, Simon Lane was in super form winning the open three moto’s before being caught and passed by the younger James in the final clash. Round one winner Adam Wilkinson on his two-stroke GasGas took 4th at Lower Drayton and is now 2nd in the Championship sandwiched by the Lane boy’s, Simon the leader and James in 3rd. Next up is Ryder who is also the Vets O50 series table topper. The main Vets series also currently sees Matthew Chaplin, Brian Staples, Sean Smith, Simon Bonser, Richard Meakin and Richard Tudor inside the top ten.
Completing the Lower Drayton programme was two races on Sunday for supporting Unlimited Juniors. In that one, Ben Fletcher and Mitch Evans scored a win each. The overall though went to Evans who backed up his race victory with a runners-up spot in moto two.
Words and Images by Mike Wood
The results of the event are below.