Although only two blocks of racing were completed during round four of the AMCA British Motocross Championship at Bevercotes on Sunday, the action did still provide plenty of drama and talking points. In the championship standings, the biggest swing in fortunes came in the MX2 class as leader and current champion Josh Waterman dropped back to third and is now sixty-five points off top slot!
The IDS/JD Racing KTM pilot was to be hampered all day by niggling back-brake problems and had to settle for twenty-eighth overall! Over in the other hard fought Championship classes powered by Datatag and supported by Dunlop the current series leaders all maintained their advantages. The star of the day being Vets leader James Russell – who with his smooth, unflustered riding style was simply superb, banged in a maximum points haul.
The first MX1 clash at Bevercotes was, unfortunately, red-flagged in the early stages when Sean Wainwright suffered a big crashed and required medical attention. After a lengthy delay, Sean was airlifted off to hospital with early reports indicating that the injuries sustained were not quite as serious as first feared. Get well soon, Sean!
Gary Gibson was the quickest away in the rerun, but by the end of lap one Luke Burton had already found a way through. From here onwards, Burton led all the way despite the close and constant pressure from Gibson. Ryan Crowder came home on a super third despite a late challenge from Shane Carless. Jack Timms also had a great ride in fifth. Earlier in this scrap, there had been a couple of outstanding battles with Ben Saunders and Adam Harris. Brandon Benjamin, Paul Neale, Luke Meredith, Zac Stealey and Richard Cannings went for it down in tenth.
The slick, inconsistent surface was though to claim numerous victims throughout the day as both Harris and Cannings slipped off. Another rider biting the dust in this clash was top contender John May, who suffered a fall which resulted in his non-appearance for moto two.
Making a fantastic start, it was 2T ace Saunders who grabbed the MX1 moto two holeshot. Neale and Harris fell and now had it all to do. At the front, Carless took control on completion of the opening circuit but interestingly series leader Burton was down in eighth. From here onwards, Carless led all the way as Burton came up against stubborn resistance in his bid to make progress. Stealey, Dean Swift, Matt Ridgway, Timms and Robert Johnson were really on the gas!
Eventually though Burton got up to third, but despite then rapidly closing in on leader Carless and Crowder was unable to make progress with time running out. Taking tenth in this moto was James Dodd, bravely competing just one week after dislocating his shoulder. Despite the immense pain, James bagged fifty-six championship points to still maintain second place in the series standings. After their early fall, Neale worked very hard to get back to a strong fifteenth place whilst Harris was twenty-second. On the podium it was Burton, Carless and a delighted Crowder.
Luke Dean was fastest away in MX2 moto one with Waterman in tow, but on a dramatic opening lap it was all about to change. Waterman’s charge was brought to a halt when his back-brake calliper seized on, locking the wheel and making forward momentum just about impossible! So with Waterman out, the crowd were to be entertained by a super-fast three-way battle at the front as now Clinton Barrs led under intense pressure from Ray Rowson and Dean with Jamie Smith also right in the mix and holding fourth. In a thrilling scrap, somehow Dean then surged from third to first before Rowson came through to take the win. Great action! Barrs, always in contention, had to settle for third with Ryan Jones fourth, James Wainwright fifth and Cory McShane sixth.
Whilst McShane fell on turn one of moto two, Rowson made a superb start to lead the pack before storming to another win. With Cox sitting in second for most of the clash, the main focus was on a great scrap for third that featured Jansen Day, Barrs and Dean (who had initially gated in ninth). Two laps from home and Dean, right on the gas, not only won that fierce tussle but also brilliantly soared past Cox to bag second with Day getting home in fourth, Barrs fifth and Bradley Tranter in sixth.
Once again in this clash Waterman was struggling with a malfunctioning back-brake and had to settle for seventeenth place. On the box it was Rowson, Dean and Barrs. A rider who, on his return to MX2, is really in top form and proving that he is a serious contender! In the title race, Dean now leads the MX2 standings by fifty-two points over Rowson.
Earlier the 2T class had opened proceedings and it was Dylan Hodgkins who grabbed the holeshot before series leader Brad Turner quickly found a way through. Whilst Turner cleared off for the win, Hodgkins was working overtime to defend second place coming under severe pressure from Jason Kendrick, Bradley Doyle and Jordan Saunders. Eventually Hodgkins though was to be forced out with a rear-wheel puncture with just two laps remaining. So it was Saunders who had impressively moved up from an early ninth who grabbed second from Doyle. Another rider displaying great moto one style was Sean Eckersley who, after gating fourteenth, bagged a super fourth just ahead of Kendrick, James Lane and Jack Waterman.
In 2T moto two, Hodgkins was again quick off the mark before Turner surged to the front. Looking in the mood to build a big advantage, Turner’s hopes were then to be dashed when picking up a front wheel puncture on lap four. With conditions dry, slick and very patchy, Brad quickly dropped out of contention although there was still to be a super battle for the win in his absence. First Eckersley took control before then being replaced at the front by a very determined Saunders.
After starting in fifteenth, Jordan was right on it and took not only the moto win but also the overall verdict with Doyle and Kendrick joining him on the podium. Next best in this ultra-competitive class were Eckersley, Lane and Waterman. Despite that annoying puncture, Turner still has a forty-three-point advantage in the championship race from Doyle with Sam Smith third and Saunders moving up to fourth.
Darren Bennett led the opening Vets clash at Bevercotes by grabbing the holeshot before the super smooth James Russell took control. As the moto progressed, Simon Lane, Terry House and Sean Smith also then further relegated Bennett. For several laps Lane held off a very determined House before the KTM rider moved through and thus chased winner Russell home. In this moto one Gary Jones, Richard Chinn, David Bennett, Brian Staples and Stephen Elford also finished inside the top ten.
Showing just why he is the current Vets top man, Russell led moto two from start to finish with Lane holding second place throughout. This time around, House had to settle for third after initially gating seventh then finding plenty of stubborn resistance in his efforts to pass Smith. In what was a very entertaining clash, Chinn just edged out Staples for fifth whilst Jones, Darren Bennett, Elford and David Bennett hotly disputed seventh.
So far in all four rounds it’s been Russell, Lane and House filling the Vets podium. At Bevercotes the box again had that all familiar look but most importantly as the series reaches its midway point, the immaculate Russell has extended his series lead to sixty points.
With David Corbett taking the non-qualifiers class from Stephen Wheatley and Rikki Wainwright, the championship now moves onto a whole different challenge in five week's time with the unrelenting sand of Hawkstone Park awaiting!
Words: Mike Wood | Images: Mike Wood