After a pretty successful last round at France for the British boys, now comes the turn of the Cannock MCC putting on the home round at Lower Drayton Farm in Penkridge.
Drafting in a team of AMCA Championship favourites and wildcards, the British riders looked strong going into morning practice. The Open IMBA team consisted of Josh Waterman, Gary Gibson, James Dodd, Ryan Crowder, Shane Carless, Andrew Smart, Kieron McAvoy and last-minute entries Sean Wainwright and Jordan Saunders. Crowder set an impressive P1 qualifying time, shortly followed by Waterman and Gibson with the Belgian rider Salaets hot on Gibson's tail.
The MX2 team consisted of fiery-looking Ray Rowson, Luke Burton, Jack Gardner, Lewis King and Richard Roberts. With Rowson meaning business in qualifying this put him P1, followed by Belgian rider Glenn Bielen. Burton and King were right behind him.
After Waterman took a comfortable lead on the first race and the win, it was down to Carless and Dodd to make it one, two and three for the Brits in the opening race. In which they did just that! Sean Wainwright put in a smooth P6 finish for his first-ever IMBA race, which was something pretty special to watch.
Moving onto the second race and things didn't go so smoothly for the gold-shirted Waterman, who made a little mistake that resulted in him bending his bars and taking half the hedge with him. This led to Carless putting in an amazing nine-second lead in front of GB's Gary Gibson to take the race two win. Heading into race three, the British riders gave it their all and pushed for Gibson to take the race-three win followed by Carless, Waterman and Dodd. Careless took the overall.
"Track was really wet in qualifying so made it quite tricky, but it needed to be wet to last the day so they did a good job," Waterman said. "It was close at the line, but I won race two with the yellow shirt on (signalising that he was the IMBA leader) and gated second behind Carless. I chased him for about five laps, jumped and landed in a soft spot.
"It ripped my feet off the footrests, so I had massive whiskey throttle into a marshall pallet," he continued. "Bear in mind this is in fourth gear flat out. The bike got wedged on a stake, so I struggled to get the bike off. I ended up snapping the stake to free the bike. It was bent up really badly. I broke both rads and bars were twisted bad. The best I could do was nineteenth. Not the result I wanted to be honest, but I made best of a bad day I think."
The MX2 races got off to an explosive start with Belgian rider Beilin taking the holeshot in front of King, who was closely followed by Rowson and Burton. Beilin made a little mistake, which allowed the three GB riders to take the top-three spots. Jack Gardner also finished an impressive fifth.
Race two was where things started to heat up a little, with Burton taking a twenty-three second lead over Rowson. King and Gardner were right behind him. It is safe to say the British boys were not holding back! Strong rides in race three came from Burton and Rowson, who battled it out in the first few corners. Rowson made a mistake and finish P3, however, with Burton taking the win and the overall for the weekend.
"I was a little disappointed with second in France, as I put so much time and work in to get there for the bike to let me down," Burton said. "I had a ECU problem where the bike just keep cutting out on me, but I was happy to get second overall, It could have been a DNF on the cards, but the bike started and took me to the finish. The team and I are putting in a lot of work trying our best to get the results. I'm still not one hundred percent myself, after a big off at the superclass, but I'm getting there now. I'm just hoping to keep fit and push for the IMBA title."
Safe to say the British riders put on a great show for the home-round crowd and hopefully this will continue on at the next AMCA Championship round on the 7th/8th July at the historic circuit of Hawkstone Park. See you there!
Words: Sophie Mcginn | Lead Image: AMCA Events