Well, what can I say about this one? Honestly, it’s hard to write these things every week without being overly repetitive (especially when it’s predominantly the same guys at each meeting claiming the overalls). Without taking anything away from the guys that are consistently heading the pack, week in week out, this one is dedicated to the riders who I believe have the potential for top results in the coming rounds.
So, let’s start with the Auto class. Oliver Easdown is certainly a man to look out for, not only in the coming rounds but as he progresses through the classes and onto the big bikes. After taking his first ever overall victory at Staplehurst, his talent is undeniable. That’s a truth that will undoubtedly resonate with the likes of Archie Edwards as the championship unravels.
Ben Osborne and Farron Gibbs are also showing early signs of promise. Osborne claimed his best ever result, assuming the second step of the podium as Farron Gibbs settled for a fourth overall. Although Osborne and Gibbs aren’t quite at a pace to mount an attack on Easdown or Edwards yet, they’re both sure to be pushing hard for podium finishes throughout the year!
How about the Junior class? Harrison Bowles is a name that immediately springs to mind. I’ve seen this little guy face much adversity over the years. Despite being so young, it seems as though everything has been pitted against him thus far in his riding career. However, he unquestionably has the potential to challenge for the top spot!
Alfie Walton. It’s been a roller-coaster start to the season for little Alfie in my opinion. I know this guy has the speed to battle with the guys at the front and, once he can establish a high level of consistency throughout the motos, he’ll be contending for the overall for sure! Harry Challis has also displayed countless signs of improvement thus far this year. A regular podium contender, Challis will most likely remain eager to keep striving for an overall as the championship continues.
The Small Wheel class boasts a broad array of talent through its impressive line-up, but the ‘94’ machine of Jack Anderson subjectively remains the most controversial in the class by a mile. Bassett may be stealing the moto wins at the moment, but it does not take a genius to recognise that race wins don’t always deliver the championship.
One merely has to refer to this year’s Monster Energy Supercross stats for a prime example. Could Anderson very well be the Junior class’ Ryan Dungey? Only time will tell but, one thing is for sure, based on his performances at Staplehurst you’d be a fool to disregard ‘94’ in the title hunt.
What about the Big Wheel class? Interesting to say the least. Excluding Mason Odds, there is literally a spreadsheet of riders all capable of taking a moto win. Beau Gosnell almost managed to deprive Odds of a race victory in the first moto at Staplehurst. Keep it on two wheels Beau, you’ll have him next time! Jack Dade, Bill Shepherd, Benjamin Causer, Elisha Elliot and Ryan Nicholls, to name a few… I know every one of these riders possess the tools to get the job done. My advice? Bide your time, even the mighty fall from their pedestals. Just make sure you’re the one there to pilfer the win when that opportunity comes!
Ebby Elliot? Exceptional rider, no doubt about it. But, have you ever wondered what goes on behind him? Staplehurst was enlightening for me personally, especially in the Senior class. Seeing Jake Swann hitting the double that only a handful of Open/AMX riders dared to brave made me realise the level of aptitude in this class alone. Swann claimed three second place finishes at the close of play. But, at the end of the season, I expect this guy to be challenging even Ebby for a race win.
Jordan Ward and Luke Shepherd are also names to keep in mind. It’s a long season and we have hardly scratched the surface, nonetheless, don’t be surprised to see either of these riders battling for podium finishes for the remainder of the season. Both have the potential for success, so I look forward to seeing them progress as the year goes on.
It’s hard to depict an upcoming rider in a class such as the Clubman. That’s just because they’re all so terrible. Of course I’m joking, there are ‘some’ semi-talented riders in the category. Seriously guys, even Lee White’s lap-times were only marginally better than Josh Bassett’s (winner of the SW85 class) at Staplehurst! That being said, I have noticed a few riders (Lee White, Bill Samuel and Dean Norris and David Cecy) who are gradually getting better over the last few rounds. What is left of the season should allow for some nail biting action!
EKSSC’s premier class, containing the Open/AMX riders, has witnessed one man taking eleven out of twelve moto wins so far this season. We all know who he is. Surely you guys are bored of seeing him leave you all behind every meeting? Seriously, someone pull your finger out and beat him! Ben Lambert-Williams and Dan Guy both forced him to settle for a third in the opening moto at Chippenham. It looked as though Lambert-Williams would put the ‘226’ machine to rest a few times at Staplehurst yet, to no avail.
Jack Eldridge also looked promising at several points throughout the day. However, he too could not get the job done. The one man who I thought might actually beat Beck in moto two was Nathan Whittle. Managing to lap faster than Troy and stay close to him for the entire moto, before falling short by not even a second, Whittle was the only rider sufficiently capable of hanging with Beck on the day. There are plenty of talented riders in the class, nevertheless, in terms of a championship rivalry mounting, I think we’d all like to see Ben Lambert-Williams challenging for the top spot again.
This week’s ‘MX Vice Rider of the Meeting’ award goes to Josh Bassett. Perhaps a slightly bias appointment, however, if coming through the pack from stone-dead last in the opening moto to take the first race win of the day doesn’t leave a lasting impression, then I don’t know what does.
Jump on board with Josh Bassett as he does just that. Watch as he carves his way through the field to challenge Anderson for the lead, before coming home to claim another moto win for his ever-growing archive of victories.
Full results are available on this link.
Words: Marc Carter | Lead Image: I D Bassett Photography/Carter MX