The Maxxis British Championship returned to Culham this past weekend, as the old-school circuit played host to the first Maxxis British Championship round. Rain threatened to derail proceedings, unfortunately, but the circuit coped well and was extremely demanding.
Ben Watson made a statement in the qualifying session, as he sat atop the times with an advantage of more than two seconds. ‘919’ failed to turn that into a holeshot in the first MX2 moto, however, as Harri Kullas emerged as the early leader. Kullas took advantage of a clear track and established an advantage immediately, hence why most presumed that it would be impossible for Watson to overcome the deficit. He did just that though and swooped into the lead at the halfway point.
The Hitachi Construction Machinery KTM rider managed to create a twelve-second cushion by the end of the moto and had the fastest time too. Kullas finished second, which was a good start to what promised to be a hectic day, with Josiah Natzke in third. Natzke actually closed in towards the end, after running alone in third for the entire moto. Mel Pocock, who started on the cusp of the top ten, and Brad Todd completed the top five.
The second moto was fairly similar to the first, as Watson had a mediocre start and worked his way forward after a couple of laps. Luke Norris actually took the holeshot in his Geartec Husqvarna debut, but lost the lead to Jordan Divall early on. Divall had a good run out front, but failed to stop Watson and had to watch him sprint away at the head of the field from lap three on. Divall still looked set to take twenty-two points home, but gave up the spot to Martin Barr with two to go. Barr moved forward from seventh on lap one.
Luke Norris held on for fourth and was actually just a second down on Divall at the chequered flag, with Brad Todd in fifth again. A brace of fifths was actually more than enough to give Todd third overall! The Planet Advanced Racing Suspension Husqvarna rider stood alongside Ben Watson and Harri Kullas on the box. Kullas finished second overall after working his way up from fourteenth to eighth in that second moto.
Jake Nicholls was just as impressive as his teammate, despite not taking the holeshot in the first of two motos. Jamie Law led the field early on in the first encounter, much to the surprise of pundits, but could only fend off Nicholls for a brief period. The race for the win was over as soon as ‘45’ broke into first place on lap two, as he maintained a comfortable advantage over Steven Lenoir in second. The top three were actually set from lap two on.
Elliott Banks-Browne chased those two across the line, after grabbing pole position in the timed session earlier in the day. Graeme Irwin put pressure on EBB, but crashed with a couple of laps to go and eventually limped to the finish in fourth. Kristian Whatley secured fifth place.
A better start in the final moto made life a lot easier for Nicholls, as he led on lap one and established an eight-second advantage after just two laps! Irwin started second, but failed to fend Brad Anderson off and had to eventually settle for third. That was good enough for second overall, however, as Steven Lenoir could only manage a fifth place this time around. Where was Banks-Browne? The Geartec Husqvarna rider was pushing Lenoir for a spot inside of the top five, but had to withdraw with a freak mechanical issue.
Words: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: ConwayMX