The combination of a Long Lane circuit running in reverse direction mixed with a nice sprinkling of ‘Wildcard riders’ and changing track conditions resulted in a very interesting round 6 of the AMCA British Motocross Championship on Sunday. That decision to go in the opposite direction proved popular with the riders, making the going more technical and a little slower. Those ingredients also meant that battles raged right throughout the day in most classes and created several very close finishes!!
The first thriller and tight finish occurred in the opening moto of the day, and what a classic 125cc contest it was! Nathan Bache grabbed the holeshot ahead of Corey Hockey, series leader Luke Dean, Bradley Tranter and Yarin Evans. Two laps in and both Hockey and Dean had passed Bache and so the fun was about to begin! On a mission both the Midwest Husqvarna of Hockey and the Meredith MX Fantic of Dean were at full gas and reeling off some very fast laps. Racing just a couple of yards apart this one went right down to the wire with Dean getting the verdict by the narrowest of margins as Nev Bradshaw who had gated 9th bagged a very strong 3rd spot followed by Jack Cox, Damon Strydom and early leader Bache.
In moto two, Charlie Palmer led the pack away before Hockey again hit the front with Cox in tow on this occasion. And in another super tussle, there was very little to chose between the leading duo until Cox unfortunately stalled his motor. Although able to quickly restart, both Dean and Bradshaw passed Cox and turned up the heat as they started to reel in Hockey. Eventually Dean, a rider in simply super form, overhauled Hockey to hit the front as the latter rider hung onto 2nd just ahead of a simply rip-roaring tussle which saw Bradshaw just edge out Cox for the right to finish 3rd. Next up was Strydom and young South African ‘Wildcard’ Luke Grundy.
Over in the UK for one-month, South African Champion Grundy started the day with a fall in the opening moto but then showed his true talent by dialling into the Long Lane circuit. In the last race of the day, Grundy produced a classy performance leading from start to finish as Dean, Bradshaw, Cox, Hockey and Strydom were right in the mix.
On a day which produced some super racing, arguably the opening Youth 85cc/BWMA Girls 85cc was the best of the lot! In moto one, Mason Care, Oakley Kettle, Arthur Moore and Riegan Rogers were involved in a simply stunning four-way battle at the front. Although Care went onto take the victory, for the entire duration he was under pressure with Rogers getting home in 2nd from Kettle 3rd, Moore 4th, Jenson Severn 5th and George Clark 6th. After that moto one thriller, surely the second 85cc clash could not be as good, oh yes it was! The fast Care again led the way with Severn, Kettle and Moore inserting the pressure. Despite being on a small-wheeled machine, it was though Moore taking a brilliant win as Kettle also relegated Care. In the last one with rain falling and changing track conditions, Care took another win by the tightest of margins with Kettle chasing hard and Moore in 3rd. Currently in great form, Leah Rees-Evans made it four out of five overall wins in the BWMA Girls 85cc contest as Checoby Rainey and Holly Williams, the two girls fighting it out at the top of the standings at present were next up. Showing no fear as the track became rougher and wetter, Rees-Evans went 10/17/12 to earn her Long Lane BWMA success.
So far this Championship season, it’s been the old one-two at the front of the combined Youth 125cc/BWMA Women’s series with the immaculate Shane Jones on his Apex GasGas UK machine taking the win ahead of KTM mounted Wyatt McGregor. In moto one though at Long Lane it all changed with Wyatt’s motor coughing and spluttering as it struggled for power whilst Jones again marched away at the front. That sick engine left Wyatt in last place, losing another 44 points on Jones in the title race. In that opening contest, Travis James, Jack Evans, Caiden Jai Griffiths, Will Turner and Phillip Tchorek were next best.
With the engine fault rectified and the motor again sounding sweet, it was back to normal business in the last two moto’s as Jones led home McGregor. In the overall reckonings, James was to take a well-deserved runners-up slot as the always consistent Evans did enough to earn the final podium step with Turner, McGregor and Linc Hasted filling places 4th to 6th. Turner’s hopes of a place on the box realistically disappeared in a scary last moto moment when he went off course and got tangled in the track marking! Quickly freeing himself, Will managed to climb back up to 8th. Over in the BWMA Women’s series, Championship leader Marni Saunders took another overall win ahead of her closest rival Caitlin Newman and 21st birthday girl Hannah Jones. Marni steered her Kawasaki to a 14/12/14 scorecard in the three moto’s which featured a stacked entry.
Back to the big boy’s and Shane Carless on the FUS Marsh Geartec Husqvarna showed just why he is the boss of the MX2 class by bagging another smooth, quality maximum score. Going very much to plan, Shane led the way in moto one from gate to flag with Rory Jones comfortably filling 2nd place as the rest gave chase. Youngster McKenzie Marshall took 3rd from Jake Preston having a rare outing on a 250F instead of the usual 250cc 2T FUS Husqvarna in 4th and just ahead of a superb two-stroke battle which raged for just about the entire duration featuring Lee Turman, Wildcard Josh Coleman and Charlie Griffiths. Getting home in 8th, Liam Gale had a very interesting start to the event after having to swap to his spare bike when his number one mount had stopped on the start line! In moto’s two and three, Gale was 15th and 8th as all of the above-mentioned names disputed the leading positions along with Kawasaki mounted Lee Sealey and Logan Wilcox on the Wulfsport Meredith MX Suzuki.
After the first Open class moto of the day had kept very much to the storyline of the season so far, with James Dodd nicking a very narrow win ahead of title rival Henry Williams, it was then all change in the remaining two moto’s. Stirring it up was ACU Revo Championship rider Callum Green who was to take both of the victories. Entered as a Wildcard, Green led moto two all the way as Williams and Dodd disputed 2nd place with the latter getting the verdict by making a very daring pass on the final lap and with the chequered flag insight! Taking a strong 4th in this one was Will Hughes ahead of Harvey Tillotson and Ryan Mawhinny who had travelled to the event from Northern Ireland.
Enjoying himself and showing that he had discovered the fastest lines around the Long Lane circuit, Green again controlled proceedings in the last moto, leading from start to finish. Looking like a repeat of the earlier contest, Williams and Dodd were at it again in another classic battle for 2nd, circulating the track at high speed and in close proximity! Unfortunately, though that tussle came to a shuddering halt when Dodd crashed heavily. Thankfully unhurt following that tumble, Doddy was still able to safely remount and get home in 3rd with Shaun Mahoney, Hughes and Mark Roberts next up.
What a dramatic day it was to be in the AMCA Vets Championship as series leader Simon Lane made his customary fast start and head moto one from Matt Ryder, Danny Blakeley, Sean Smith and James Lane. Quickly James got up into 2nd and started to reel in brother Simon, the battle for top spot was now definitely on! That race for victory though was never to materialise with Simon picking up a rear-wheel puncture. With James taking the win, Simon still managed to hang on for a vital 2nd as Smith, Ryder, Rich Meakin and Blakeley filled the eventual top six. Moto two and Simon was again fast out of the traps only to be reeled in by James with just a couple of laps remaining. That result meant it was now all change in the title standings with James going 3 points clear of Simon at the top but there was to be a very dramatic twist in the final moto of the day!
Making his best start of the day, James led the way and despite heavy rain now falling he looked to be comfortably on his way to another win. On a lap seven though his handlebar clamps became totally loose forcing him out of contention both for the moto and overall win but more importantly possibly the title race! With the unlucky KTM rider scoring a DNF, Simon Lane took what could well prove to be a vital win chased home by Ryder, Meakin, Smith, Blakeley and Brian Staples. That result meant it was Simon Lane, Ryder and Smith on the podium and Ryder also continues to top the Vets Over 50’s class.
Words and Images by Mike Wood
The results of the event are below.