On an Easter weekend when the offroad fixture list was severely decimated by the recent deluge of wet weather, there was to be one very notable survivor as the AMCA got their 2024 British Motocross Championship up and running. Selecting Preston Docks MX as the intended venue for round one proved to be an absolute masterstroke and incredibly wise as the sandy, Lancashire track was in prime condition along with it crucially also providing predominantly hard standing pits parking. When you then throw into the mix a big entry list boosted by a whole host of wild-card entries hungry for some race action, all the ingredients were in place for a red-hot early season thriller! And, that’s just what proceeded to unfold in a series which this year has received additional support from Holab Concepts and Joov Sports Products.

First up in the 2024 series was the combined Open/MX2 Class and with that mixture of engine capacities, the action was always going to be very frantic and extremely interesting. In the opening moto Ray Rowson, a rider who had previously competed at the top level of UK motocross was fastest away. Using all of his vast experience, Ray on the big 450F Honda held his advantage for two laps until three very fast MX2 Wildcard riders, Rory Jones, Ben Mustoe and Josh Waterman all found a way through. As Jones, the 2023 AMCA MX2 Champion took the win, early leader Rowson got home in 4th from Mark Roberts, Will Hughes and first MX2 series registered rider Liam Gale. After gating right down in 23rd, showing great style and speed, McKenzie Marshall stormed right up to 8th on his 250F KTM, also indicating that there was going to be plenty more to come from him as the weekend unfolded!

As the immaculate Jones led moto two from gate to flag, young Mustoe was to produce arguably one of the rides of the weekend! Finding himself right down in 30th he then stormed through the field to get home in 2nd as Waterman took another solid 3rd after gating 7th. Continuing the MX2 domination, Marshall was 4th with Hughes the first MX1 pilot to cross the line in 5th. Completing the top ten was Rowson, Logan Wilcox, Gale, Adam Wells and Roberts. Having badly broke his leg last year and currently awaiting a further operation on the damage, Wells is still in immense pain so another top ten placing was particularly pleasing for the Midlands based rider.

The third big Open/MX2 clash was to be a very dramatic affair as both Marshall and Jones led the moto before suffering high speed, spectacular crashes which occurred ironically at exactly the same point on the circuit! Incredibly both lads were able to jump back up, shake themselves down and quickly return to race mode! Also in this one, Waterman was involved in a five-rider collision on turn one unfortunately injuring his hand and being forced out of proceedings. At the front though and taking full advantage of Marshall’s and Jones tumbles, Mustoe was relentlessly racing onto the win. Showing fantastic character, Marshall still somehow recovered to claw his way back and bag a super 2nd from Rowson, Roberts, Jones and Wilcox.

With the track at it’s very roughest, Mustoe then crashed out of the last moto early on requiring medical attention a fate also suffered by Gale. The LRT Yamaha pilot took a heavy hit but although remounting his chances of a possible MX2 podium had been demolished. Upfront, Hughes on his new big green Kawasaki led the way for seven laps before those MX2 aces Marshall and Jones came through and take control. As Hughes eventually took 3rd from Rowson, the heroic Wells scored a fantastic 5th. So, on the Open podium, Rowson rolled back the years to climb the top step joined by Hughes and the very consistent Roberts. In MX2, Wildcard riders Jones, Marshall and Wilcox took the honours.

For 2024 the main 125cc Championship and 125cc Youth Championship is a combined contest. Although that meant that in this one there was a stacked start gate, there was though absolutely no doubting the eventual winner! In all four moto’s, Jimmy Margetson simply cleared off and scorched to massive wins, his smallest victory margin being a mere 33 seconds! Whilst Margetson’s style and speed were a joy to watch, the action behind him was equally stunning. Generally, it was Luke Newman, Harry Linton, Charlie Palmer and Wyatt McGregor providing the fireworks whilst Ollie Jewitt, Tom Goodfellow, Callen Jai Griffiths and Sebby Moore carried a major Youth 125cc threat.

As the immaculate Margetson waltzed to his first moto win of the weekend, Newman took 2nd from Linton, Palmer and McGregor with Jewitt, Goodfellow, Travis James, Jai Griffiths and Bobby Watson next up. On completion of this one, runner-up Newman discovered that his engine had lost all compression and having been extremely fortunate to make it over the finishing line he was then forced to switch bikes for the second clash of the day! Jumping aboard a brand-new machine, Luke frantically ran the new power plant in before then proceeding to grab the 125cc mot two holeshot only for that man Margetson to quickly take control! Newman’s new bike did though stay on tune and was singing all the way to the chequered flag as it carried him to another great runners-up spot. Once again Palmer, Linton, McGregor and Jewitt were in the frame. Having recently moved up from competing on 85cc machinery, Moore and Mason Care both gave a great account of their ability taking 7th and 8th respectively.

Both of Sunday’s two moto’s saw runaway victories for Margetson chased all the way the usual suspects. So, with the racing done, the 125cc Championship podium was Margetson, Newman and Linton whilst the superb Jewitt topped the Youth 125cc box from Goodfellow and Moore. Although Margetson had entered round one as a Wildcard, it appears that he may now be contesting the entire series. On the Preston Docks evidence, it’s certainly going to take a seriously fast fellow competitor to stop his march!

In 2024, the BWMA Women’s Championship has reverted to having its own standalone moto’s and at Preston Docks a fantastic 23 young Ladies/Girls were on the start line. And, what superb entertainment they were to provide culminating in a thrilling last moto. In the opening clash of the weekend, it was Grace Richards leading fellow Wildcard Libby Chatburn all the way from Nadiya Jones in 3rd. Several of last year’s top BWMA 85cc had moved up in class for 2024 and in this one Holly Williams was first new girl home in a great 5th. Despite still competing on her 85cc mount, Leah Rees-Evans really mixed it up to earn a fantastic 7th, one place ahead of the 2023 BWMA 85cc Champion Checoby Rainey. Also inside the top ten were Hannah Jones, Caitlin Newman and Grace Bates aboard her Stark Electric bike.

With Richards in complete control again in moto two, Nadiya Jones took 2nd as Chatburn produced a stunning performance coming from last up to 3rd with Ebony Brown, Rees-Evans, Rheanna Morgan-Rogers and Williams next up. Making it a hat-trick of wins, Richards then comfortably was first past the chequered flag in moto three from Chatburn and Nadiya Jones as Rees-Evans rolled off another stunner and bag 4th. So, to the last BWMA clash of the weekend and probably the best as Jones grabbed the holeshot before quickly being overhauled by Richards. Also swiftly moving through though was a very determined Chatburn and after hounding her rival for five laps, Libby hit the front. During the next four laps, battle raged as the leading duo ripped up the Preston sand but with just a couple of laps remaining, Grace was back in control and there she remained. Taking 3rd again was the very consistent and equally fast Nadiya Jones ahead of Brown, Rees-Evans, Morgan-Rogers, Williams and Hannah Jones. After scoring her fourth victory of the weekend, Richards topped the podium from Chatburn and Nadiya Jone. Defending BWMA Champion Marni Saunders missed this one due to other commitments but she is due to return for round two at Bromsberrow on April 20th/21st, this series just gets better and better!

There was no doubting the star of the 85cc racing at Preston as serial National winner Joel Winstanley-Dawson turned on the style! Grandson of former top motocross promoter Ken Winstanley, young Joel looks a certain star of the future displaying incredible speed, style and total control as he stormed to four moto wins. Also looking to have an abundance of star quality was the SW85cc winner Arthur Moore and he was indeed the rider who provided the main challenge to Winstanley-Dawson’s dominance. In in moto one, Moore really took it to Winstanley-Dawson, grabbing the holeshot and in a high-speed terrific scrap led most of the way until his rival got through on the last lap for the win. In this one, last year’s SW85cc AMCA Champion Ryan Jackson from Ireland took a superb 3rd with Jenson Clitheroe, son of former top rider Rob in 4th. Another super SW85cc pilot Finley Cookson was 5th as Oakley Skinner, Sean Simout, Alfie Pincher, Jack Bullock and Jacob Ince completed the top ten.

After Cookson had made a great start to moto two, it was then Winstanley-Dawson all the way as Moore, Jackson, Clitheroe, Simout and Skinner chased him home. Although Jackson and Moore briefly led moto’s three and four respectively, there was simply no stopping that lad Winstanley-Dawson as he reeled off another couple of classy wins. So, the BW85cc podium consisted of Winstanley-Dawson, Jackson and Clitheroe with Moore, Alfie Pincher and Tyler Shaw making up the SW85cc box. The 85cc racing also included the BWMA 85cc Girl’s contest with Lexi Emery topping that one from Cameron Mansbridge. In the four moto’s at Preston, both girls certainly got stuck in with Lexi’s best finish a 16th place in the final clash and Cameron’s 22nd in the same moto.

After just missing out on the AMCA Vets title in 2023, James Lane started the new campaign with four moto wins and an overall victory. On each occasion though James had to do it the hard way typified by the action in moto one when he passed early leaders Julian Freeberne, Mark Swift and Matt Ryder. Indeed, Ryder the defending AMCA Vets Over 50’s Champion was consistently the pacesetter in the opening three clashes before 2023 AMCA Vets Over 40’s Champion Simon Lane led the last one. For the elder of the Lane brothers having now turned 50, Simon though did not have the most memorable of weekends. In the first two his Yamaha bike was billowing steam as the engine filler plug had worked loose and was spitting oil! Then in race three the bike ground to a halt with a broken clutch early on, forcing him to switch over to bike two. In the Over 40’ it was eventually James Lane, two-stroke mounted Adam Wilkinson and Swift the top three with Ryder, Adrian Lewis and Simon Lane on the Over 50’s box.

In a busy programme, there’s also a new class for 2024 in the AMCA, the Honda Cup being open to any riders owning a Honda 250F purchased after 2021. With amazing prizes on offer at each round including the glamorous red FLY helmet, the real golden carrot is that the eventual Championship winner will take home a brand new 2025 CRF250R! At Preston, Joshua Fletcher-Williams won the opening moto of the series but already injured he was then run over by an opponent on turn one when competing in moto three of the Open/MX2 Championship! Unable to start in the second Honda Cup race, Matt Wright took the victory and also the overall top slot. Both the Honda Cup and the AMCA British Motocross Championship series moves onto Bromsberrow on April 20th/21st for round two.

Words and Images by Mike Wood

The results of the event are below.