Again, proving its immense popularity, the iconic Hawkstone Park attracted a deluge of wildcard entries as the AMCA staged round 5 of their 2023 British Motocross Championship on Sunday. Not only did those riders boost the start line numbers but also add plenty of extra spice to the racing on offer. However, those wildcards did not have it all their own way with some of the AMCA classes producing a story of very much ‘as you were’ and similar finishing positions to the already completed rounds!
On a track which was in absolute prime condition, one of the classes which did run to form was the Vets Championship as the Gloucester based Lane brothers continued their family battle at the head of the title race. Both Simon and James are former AMCA Champions with a total of 5 between them and it already looks like that total could well be extended in 2023! At Hawkstone, Simon made a trio of lightning starts to initially lead the pack but it was James (2) and Simon Bonser who took the moto wins. In the first one in which Bonser proved victorious, James Lane came through from an early 8th to then snatch 2nd place right on the line from his brother with Adam Wilkinson, Jamie Powell, Mark Swift, Sean Smith and Matt Ryder also in the frame.
After that excitement, James passed Simon Lane just two laps from home in the second moto then took just six laps to get past his sibling in the last one. So that means in a very tight Championship battle, Simon is still on top but his advantage is now just 3 points with James in 2nd, Wilkinson 3rd, Ryder 4th, Rich Meakin 5th and Matt Chaplin 6th. 2012 AMCA Vets Champion Ryder also tops the Over 50’s class and is 60 points clear of Brian Staples.
Also going pretty much as expected was the AMCA Open class although the day did end with a rather dramatic final clash! Having filled the top two placings in all 11 moto’s so far, James Dodd and Henry Williams looked to be at it again in the opening Hawkstone clash. Doddy controlled all the way with Henry on his tail but on the last lap the Apex GasGas UK youngster then took a nasty excursion over the bars, banging his shoulder in the process. Shaken but not stirred, Henry still got home in 3rd just behind Will Hughes as Max Lewis, Adam Wells, Josh Waterman and Aaron Patstone were next to finish.
Despite his fall, Henry then passed Dodd and Hughes to lead moto two until the closing stages before Dodd cleverly found a way through. In the last one, Williams was fastest away but on the opening lap the first drama occurred as Dodd’s Husqvarna ground to a halt in a corner due to an electrical fault. Although quickly restarting, Doddy was down in 7th before fighting back up to 3rd. However, on lap six, the gremlins struck again with the frustrated FUS Marsh Geartec star now dropping down to 12th. So, yet another recovery ride was required but with time running out he could only get back to 8th as Williams took the win from Hughes, Lewis, Wells, Patstone and Mark Roberts. On the podium Williams was a worthy winner from the very consistent Hughes with Dodd in 3rd. Those results mean that Dodd still leads the Championship but his advantage as been reduced to 14 points with Williams in 2nd and Hughes a further 51 in arrears but still very much in the title race.
There was to be a fantastic 39 riders on the start line for the opening Youth 85cc contest which is combined with the BWMA Girls 85cc series. Wildcard rider Mason Jones was to be in simply irresistible form in this one, winning all three motos in style. Twice fellow wildcard Ollie Jewitt chased him home whilst making it a truly ‘Wild’ day, another card rider Halim Own completed the podium. After missing the last round at Warmingham, Mason Care was the best series rider in 4th with Oliver Bebb in 6th and George Clark 7th. With a moto two DNF, Youth 85cc series leader Oakley Kettle was down in 13th overall and although he still tops the standings, his advantage as been cut down to just 6 points with Clark closing in. In the separately scored SW85cc competition, Ryan Jackson continues to lead the way after bagging another overall win.
Going into Hawkstone, just 3 points separated the top two girls of Holly Williams and Checoby Rainey and they were at it again, right in the mix as they disputed the right to be best girl! Rainey was first girl home in the opening moto with a 12th spot as Leah Rees-Evans took 15th and Holly Williams 21st. Rees-Evans then topped the girls placing with a super 10th and 13th in the remaining moto’s to deservedly claim first overall in the BWMA class. In the title race, it’s still Williams leading on a 663 score with Rainey 661, Erin Howes 578, Cameron Mansbridge 564, Sophie Jones 552, Poppy Banning 550 and Rees-Evans 521 next best.
Matching the superb Youth 85cc entry there was also a full line-up in the 125cc Youth/BWMA Women’s class. Continuing his truly incredible run of results, Shane Jones won all three moto’s with only Travis James and Grace Packman briefly getting ahead of him. Indeed, what a performance Packman, Grace Richards and Libby Chatburn, all wildcard entries in the BWMA class at Hawkstone were to produce. Eventual winner of the BWMA, Richards started with a 6th in moto one before finishing with an 8th then a truly fantastic 3rd in the last clash. For Packman it was 9/15/12 and Chatburn 11/18/14. After topping the opening three rounds of the BWMA, series leader Marni Saunders went 21/20/17 and 4th overall in the Women’s class. Although that may not have been the results Marni was looking for, she has however extended her Championship lead to a 53 point advantage over Caitlin Newman with Hannah Jones, Hollie Roberts, Grace Bates and Amber McGregor next best.
Going back to the Youth 125cc lads and with super Jones in control, the equally fast Wyatt McGregor took a quality hat-trick of runner-up placings. Starting with a 3rd and 6th placing, Kenzie Cole was well in contention for a podium spot until a last moto DNF ruined his march. So that left Travis James, Phillip Tchorek, Will Turner, Jack Evans and Logan Jay-Powell to battle it out for 3rd overall. With Turner’s hopes being severely hampered by a moto one fall which left him trapped under his bike, the bronze medal spot eventually went to James. In the Youth 125cc title race, Jones 650, McGregor 638, Evans 596, Turner 580, Tchorek 540 and Rees Jones 425 make up the top six.
Despite openly admitting that he was not a fan of the Hawkstone sand, 125cc series leader Luke Dean would have been very pleased with his efforts come Sunday evening. Going 3/2/5, that was enough to take the final podium place behind runner-up Jack Cox and the very fast wildcard winner Jimmy Margetson. In what is an always exciting contest, Margetson was under intense pressure and had to work overtime in moto one and see off Hawkstone expert Cox. Whilst the front two produced a classic scrap, Dean took a strong 3rd despite the very close attention of Damon Strydom, Corey Hockey, Harry Linton and youngster Freddie Gardiner. Going into this event, Chris Povey had held 2nd in the title race but a crash early in moto one was to finish his Hawkstone participation for the day, suffering from a head injury.
With Margetson stylishly controlling the second 125cc contest from the front, Cox held 2nd spot early on before dropping back to 5th as Dean, Strydom and Hockey who has recently switched from the MX2 class over to 125cc, all overhauled him. The last 125cc contest was then arguably the best although there was no disputing the winner as Margetson stormed to another victory, this time 11 seconds clear of a hungry chasing pack. In a battle for 2nd which raged for just about the entire duration, Hockey, Cox, Gardiner, Dean and Strydom continually swapped positions. Eventually, Hockey stamped his authority on that tussle as Linton, Jayden Jones, Charlie Palmer and Luke Newman rounded off the top ten. Following the frantic Hawkstone action, it’s still the Meredith MX Fantic of Dean sitting at the top of the standings on 643 points ahead of Cox 582, Linton 563, Strydom 539, Palmer 503 and Newman 469.
After wildcard Ashley Greedy had posted the quickest MX2 qualifying time, the Welshman’s opening moto did certainly not go quite to plan! Crashing early on lap one, Ashley found himself in a distant last place as upfront series leader Shane Carless quickly took control after passing Rory Jones who was being hindered by an intermittent loss of speed due to a broken powerband valve. Whilst Shane, in his usual cool, composed manner cruised to a smooth win, Greedy was simply storming through the 33-rider strong field. Eventually he somehow got right back to a superb 8th behind Matt Bayliss, Lewis Hall, Jones, Josh Coleman, Liam Gale and Jake Preston.
Following that first race drama, from here onwards Greedy was wheel perfect winning both of the remaining two moto’s in super style. With Greedy clear at the front, the action behind him though was superb with Hall, Bayliss, Jones, Coleman, Gale and Carless continually changing positions. Backing up his opening moto 3rd with a very strong 2/3 scorecard, it was Hall though on his Meredith MX Fantic who deservedly took the overall win, joined on the box by the Welsh boys Carless and Greedy. Those earlier mentioned problems in the opener for Rory Jones was to actually cost him dearly in the race for the podium placings after finishing the meeting on a total of 135 points which was the same score achieved by Greedy! Despite that disappointment though, Rory is still holding 2nd in the Championship table, 42 behind leader Carless with Lee Truman in 3rd.
Words and Images by Mike Wood
The results of the event are below.