With quite a major contrast in weather conditions over the two days of the latest AMCA British Motocross Championship action held at Bromsberrow, it was to prove to be a stern test of a rider’s fitness levels and desire to succeed. On day one the entry was faced by a blue-sky scene with the mercury rapidly rising and creating energy sapping temperatures whilst day two although being cooler was then hit by a period of thundery rain which changed the dynamics of the track. Despite that inconsistent weather though, the racing throughout was red -hot with the organising Uley MXC doing a superb job in preparing a revamped circuit, so well done to them!
The weekend at Bromsberrow was the penultimate event of the 2023 series thus also testing the temperament of those riders in Championship contention, could they remain cool and composed under pressure, well let’s find out! First out on track was the combined Youth 125cc/BWMA Women’s Championship and in that one both of the series leaders, Shane Jones (Apex GasGas UK) and Marni Saunders (Kawasaki) safely came through with flying colours and overall victories. In the first of the 125cc Youth moto’s, Wyatt McGregor was fastest away before dropping down to 5th. At the front, series leader Jones was now in control and that’s where he remained chased home by Will Turner, Cailen Jai Griffiths, McGregor, Jack Evans and Logan Jay Powell.
Having scored 17 consecutive moto wins, Jones was then to suffer a rare defeat in the second 125cc Youth clash when the fast McGregor got the better of him. In Sunday’s two battles Jones returned to winning ways passing Tom Goodfellow early in moto three before scorching to another gate to flag success in the last one. That meant that he took top step on the podium. Joining him on the box were McGregor and Turner with Evans just missing out by a mere 2 points.
Over in the BWMA Woman’s contest, Marni Saunders increased her Championship lead by being the first Lady home in all four moto’s. Hannah Jones was also having a very consistent weekend going onto not only earn 2nd overall but in the process leapfrog Caitlin Newman in the series standings. Completing the BWMA podium was Grace Bates as Hollie Roberts, Amber McGregor and Newman were next up. Despite the changing conditions, the Ladies proved that they certainly had the fitness and desire to mix it with Marni inside the top ten placings during both of Saturday’s hot moto’s. Hannah’s best finish was a great 11th in a moto two which Grace also recorded a fine 13th.
Next to put their title credentials on the line was the FUS Marsh Geartec Husqvarna boys James Dodd and Shane Carless in a combined Open/MX2 class. The decision to merge certainly added plenty of extra spice to the contest thus producing plenty of red-hot super racing! In the first moto it was to be a FUS one-two and victory for the MX2 series leader Carless as he came through from third to get the better of his fellow team member Dodd with Josh Waterman, Henry Williams, Rory Jones and Josh Taylor next up. Moto two and Open class leader Dodd led from gate to flag ahead of Championship title rival Williams.
Although the second day of racing produced different conditions, the result was the same in the opener as Doddy was right on it to bag another vital win as MX2 ace Jones produced a stormer to get home in a close 2nd place. Making it a weekend hat-trick, Dodd was then first past the flag in the last one ahead of Williams, Jones, Taylor, Will Hughes and Waterman. Those results meant that Dodd was the Open class overall winner from Williams and Wildcard rider Taylor, also increasing his Championship advantage by a further 12 points in the process. Over in MX2 it was to be a richly deserved maiden AMCA top step for Rory Jones (IDS Transport/J.L Cox Cranes Ltd GasGas), joined by Waterman and Carless who suffering from sore hands had been riding conservatively to ensure that he maintained his title chasing lead.
After suffering a very frustrating season due to arm and hand cramps caused by blood circulation issues, it was great to see Waterman back on the podium. Swapping his 450F Honda for a lighter 250F KTM, he was certainly immediately on it, ultra-competitive and right on the pace throughout the weekend! Also, massive well done to MX2 winner Jones who’s been really banging on the door and threatening that podium top step all season long! Rory has also reduced the gap on Shane to 34 points at the top so it’s still certainly all to play for at Brookthorpe in two weeks’ time!
Going into this penultimate round with a nice 82-point advantage at the top of the 125cc class, Luke Dean (Meredith MX Fantic) was on it right from the off at Bromsberrow, taking the moto one win from Corey Hockey, Damon Strydom, Jack Cox, Charlie Palmer and Harry Linton. Having made the switch earlier in the season from MX2 over to 125cc, Midwest Racing Husqvarna pilot Hockey then bagged his maiden AMCA 125cc Championship moto win with a glorious ride in the second clash. Corey led from gate to flag as Cox passed Dean for the runners-up spot.
After that win in the heat of Saturday, Hockey found himself down in 5th early on in Sunday’s wet opener as the super Dean passed fast Cox and Palmer before marching onto victory. At the flag, Hockey had climbed back up to 2nd with Cox 3rd, Strydom 4th and Palmer 5th. In the last frantic 125cc moto of the weekend, Hockey and Cox set the pace at the front before Dean charged through for another win as all of the above names plus the always fast Yarin Evans was in the mix. So, it was a Dean, Hockey, Cox podium and in the title race Dean has moved ever closer to the title, just reward after going so close back in 2022! He now holds a 97-point advantage over Cox with Strydom leapfrogging Linton and going into 3rd.
Just 2 points separated Oakley Kettle and George Clark at the top of the Youth 85cc Championship but that gap is now increased to 43 points with Oliver Bebb becoming the closest challenger. Whilst Kettle was superb at Bromsberrow on his AD Modular/Beer Trading Company KTM taking the overall win with a 1/3/1/1 scorecard, Clark only completed the opening day of action going 5/4. Kettle’s best win of the weekend probably came in a wet moto three when he passed Bebb and Bobby Watson before gliding past the fast Mason Care with just two laps remaining. Kettle’s only defeat came in a hot moto two when he had to settle for 3rd whilst at the front Bebb passed Care on the final lap for the win. In this class, Ryan Jackson took a fine 5th overall to thus also extend his SW85cc Championship lead to a three-figure total.
The BWMA Girls 85cc class also compete with the lads and once again they produced some star performances. Leah Rees-Evans and Checoby Rainey scored a fantastic 6th and 7TH overall respectively with Erin Howes and BWMA series leader Holly Williams also inside the top ten. Rees-Evans also bagged yet another BWMA class overall verdict at Bromsberrow whilst scoring a hat-trick of superb 5th placings in the moto’s contested. Checoby’s highest finish was 6th in the opener and her weekend results was also to prove crucial in the race for the BWMA 85cc title. Going into the event she was just a single point behind Holly but it’s now a 10-point advantage so this particular contest is surely going right down to the wire and potentially a nerve jangling, title deciding, final moto of the campaign!
Whilst it now looks very likely that it will be one of the Gloucester based Lane brothers lifting the 2023 AMCA Vets title, former Champion Matt Ryder is also still mathematically in the race. At Bromsberrow, James Lane went 1/4/1/1 for the overall ahead of Simon Lane and Ryder. Crucially at the top, James only reduced Simon’s lead by just 2 points so the elder of the brothers still has a nice 45-point advantage going into the decider at Brookthorpe.
After having had a few years out from the series, Matt Ryder is looking strong on his big red Honda whilst taking 4th overall at the weekend was another 2023 AMCA Championship returnee Richard Meakin. In the Bromsberrow standings, Brian Staples, Matthew Chaplin and Richard Tudor were next up whilst in the separately scored Vets 050 class it’s still Ryder topping the table from Staples and Stuart Kilmarten.
Completing the action and on Sunday only was a class for Juniors Support. Contesting two moto’s, Lewis Watkins took both wins chased home by Daniel Hurst whilst Grant Reed did enough to earn 3rd overall.
Words and Images by Mike Wood
The results of the event are below.