Just seven days after a tough first round of the 2017 AMCA British Motocross Championship, the riders had to dust themselves down and find the energy to do it all again on Easter Sunday. After starting on a track making its debut, it was back to the more familiar terrain of Nympsfield for round two in this super series that is powered by Datatag and supported by Dunlop. Following a day of great racing, which included thrills and spills, Luke Burton (MX1), Luke Dean (MX2), Jason Kendrick (2T) and James Russell (Vets) now lead their respective title chases.
Already showing that he is very determined to hold onto his MX1 crown, defending champion Luke Burton scored another overall victory at Nympsfield to thus increase his early advantage to forty-six points. In the opening race on Sunday it was Ryan Crowder who grabbed the holeshot before Shane Carless controlled the next two laps. Burton, who gated third, stylishly went up a gear to move through and take the win, after Crowder slipped back to seventh. A four-rider train that contained Carless, Gibson and Dodd chased him across the line. Getting home in fifth was John May, who had a great ride after initially gating fourteenth, whilst Paul Neale was now really getting dialled into his new 450F and took a strong sixth.
If MX1 moto one was good, then the second clash of the day was an absolute classic that thrilled the large crowd in attendance. Carless, Dodd and finally Burton all took turns to lead but that only begins to tell the full story! With Gibson and May also in the mix, this fast and furious battle went right down to the flag. The eventual win went to Burton, who had crashed earlier and dropped to fifth before coming back to pass all of his rivals. May somehow found a way around Dodd and Gibson, with a great effort on the final lap, and was right on the tail of Carless in second place. Simply superb! Once again in MX1, young pilots Neale and Crowder produced strong rides. Adam Harris, Ashley Thomas and Andrew Smart also in the mix.
Gibson had suffered a knee injury in that fierce battle but, despite being in immense pain, he still decided to compete in the last MX1 clash. What a wise move that may have proved to be! Grabbing the holeshot he led all the way, resisting pressure from both Burton and in the latter stages Dodd. Burton then encountered a rear-wheel issue, so he was forced to back off and reluctantly settle for a safe third as his teammate, Dodd, continued to rapidly reel in Gibson. With then just one lap remaining, Dodd was ready to pounce only for the contest to be red-flagged due to a fallen rider.
Carless was also in trouble in this moto, as he gated tenth and got up to sixth before suffering mechanical gremlins. Those problems restricted him to nineteenth. Burton, Gibson and Dodd were on the podium. That mirrored the current positions in the championship table. Afterwards MX1 winner Burton said, “I’ve increased my lead in the championship with another first overall so I am very happy. I would like to say a massive thanks to FUS FRO CPS Husqvarna, my mechanic Mark Jordan and all my friends and family for their continued support."
There was drama right at the start of the opening MX2 moto with, amongst others, Jansen Day and Josh Waterman involved in a big collision. Quickly on their feet, despite the crunching impact, the two pilots now had it all to do. Meanwhile the fast Bradley Tranter grabbed the holeshot and thus lead the pack. One lap in and Luke Dean, who had earlier posted the fastest-qualifying time, hit the front and there he stayed. Along with Dean, the front five (consisting of Tranter, Clinton Barrs, Ray Rowson and Cory McShane) broke away and left Lewis King, after gating right down in nineteenth, to take a great sixth. Also recovering in style was Waterman, who stormed through the pack to earn a fantastic tenth. He was just behind Jack Gardner, Jack Cox and Luke Mellows.
Recovering from his earlier spill, Day made a very quick start to lead the pack in the second moto. Dean, however, turned on the style, was right on the gas and quickly found a way through. From here onwards it was Dean all the way from Waterman, Day, Barrs, Cox and King. After starring in the opening clash, Tranter had an early nightmare in moto two and fell twice on lap one. Going right down to twenty-seventh, he then showed tremendous determination and controlled aggression to get back to eleventh. A super ride! Ray Rowson, the series leader and expected frontrunner, injured his shoulder when in ninth, so was forced out of the moto and the rest of the meeting.
Ryan Morris, King and finally Waterman all took turns to lead the third MX2 moto in what was another thrilling scrap. After Waterman had worked overtime to fight off a persistent King for the win, King then came under pressure himself from Dean. In a very close finish, King just held onto second spot by the very narrowest of margins over Dean. Day, Tranter, Barrs, Mellows and Jonathan Roderick-Evans were also in the mix. Cox, meanwhile, had to settle for twentieth this time around after a painful early crash. With King grabbing that second spot, it also meant that he took the final podium place after finishing level on points with the hard-charging Barrs.
On the podium, winner Dean was naturally a very happy man. “It was a great day’s racing and the Dursley club had the track in the best shape possible considering the recent dry weather," he said. “Getting a good start was crucial as it was hard to make up time. I had two good ones, which all helped me to quickly push hard at the front. Getting my first MX2 overall for the SevenSeven2 Yamaha UK team, I am delighted."
Just one week earlier, Brad Turner had blasted to maximum points in the opening 2T round. But, showing just how quickly fortunes can change in motocross racing, Brad encountered one of those crazy days at Nympsfield when he found himself generally in the wrong place at the wrong time! The end result was eleventh overall, which thus saw him slip back to second in the championship table behind Jason Kendrick.
Shaun Buchan made a super-quick start in the opening 2T moto at Nympsfield, only to slip off in the tight first turn. That incident also held up Turner. At the front it was Sam Smith who led all the way to take the win from Bradley Doyle and Kendrick. Somehow, after that turn-one incident, Turner got right back to a fantastic fourth with James Lane, Tony Griffiths, Jordan Saunders, Sean Eckersley, Jake Morgan and Dylan Hodgkins in tow. After grabbing the early glory with a holeshot, Buchan got back to eighteenth.
Race two and it was Kendrick all the way from gate to flag, with Griffiths right there for close company throughout. Starting with a spill, Turner had to again turn on the gas as he sliced through the pack from thirty-first right up to bag third. He finished just ahead of Doyle, Saunders and Ashley Beniston. With Lane and Jack Waterman both falling in this race, Eckersley was next in the standings in sixth and just in front of Smith. After being caught up in turn-one carnage, Smith then produced an outstanding ride to claim seventh.
Making his best start of the day, the Nympsfield nightmare that Turner was fighting through was completed in moto three when he picked up a rear-wheel puncture whilst holding fourth. Eventually stopping to have a rapid-wheel change, he was credited with thirty-first. At the front, it was Buchan who grabbed the holeshot before Smith took over on lap two. Racing onto the win, Smith took the honours in this one from Kendrick in third. On the podium it was Smith from Kendrick and Griffiths.
James Russell, Simon Lane and Terry House all finished on one hundred and sixty-four points at the previous round of the Vets. During round two on Sunday, these aces again dominated proceedings by filling the top three in the motos. Russell was a convincing winner this time around though and has now built a lead of twenty-two points. Although Darren Bennett had grabbed the moto one holeshot, from here onwards it was Russell all the way as House just got the better of Lane. Bennett eventually took fourth from Richard Chinn, Gary Jones and Martin Atherton.
In both moto two and three it was again Russell who led from gate to flag, as Lane got the better of House. In all three contests though, Chinn was the star aboard his two-stroke TM and produced great rides. His reward for that sterling effort was a fourth overall ahead of Atherton, Jones, Brian Staples, Stephen Elford, Richard Vincent and Stephen Marlow. This class also featured the former AMCA 750cc Champion Andy Watkins, who went onto earn twelfth overall.
With Richard Meakin and Andrew Hill taking the non-qualifiers victories, the action was over. Promoting the opening two rounds of the championship and just seven days apart was a very brave and bold move by Dursley MXC, but they pulled it off! It is now over to Cannock MXC, when battle resumes at Lower Drayton on the last day of April!
Words: Mike Wood | Lead Image: Mike Wood