After five rounds of the Red Bull Pro Nationals it couldn’t be any tighter at the top of the MX1 standings with Frenchman Nico Aubin and Scot Stephen Sword locked together on 167 points apiece.
Tyco Suzuki by TAS’s Scottish star had lead the championship chase from round one but following the weekend’s round at Canada Heights it’s Buildbase Honda’s Aubin – who’s taken the overall at the last two rounds – who now holds the series leader’s red plate by virtue of more race wins.
“The first moto I didn’t get a good start and was a bit unlucky,” explains Nico. “In the mud it’s really hard to come back so I just tried to make no mistakes and have a strong race so I was really pleased with a fourth in a mud race. In the second moto I came out early to prepare my gate better because that’s where I struggled in the first race, I made a perfect gate and got a big holeshot. From there I rode a little tight for the first 10 minutes, feeling the pressure a bit, then I found a good line and once I got that I just pushed a bit and made a good gap so I’m really happy.”
In the MX2 class a 2-4 card was good enough for the win for Neville Bradshaw who increased his championship lead to 29 points from Frenchman Steven Lenoir. Nathan Watson, last year’s Rookie champ, continued his progression in the adult ranks with third overall to move into third in the title chase.
“It was a pretty tough day for me to be honest,” admits Evo-Tech Stevens Honda’s Bradshaw. “I started off in practice riding my other bike and then in the first race I got so filled in I took my goggles off and got smashed in the eye which got pretty swollen. I couldn’t see out of it so that race I just needed to finish – especially as Lenoir was having a bad race and I wanted the points. To come away with the overall after that quite surprised me but that’s how our sport is – you’re here to do a job and you just have to get on and do it.”
It was the second visit to the super-tough Kent track in less than a month for Britain’s biggest, brightest motocross series. The first visit back in early July was called off after a day when torrential rain turned the circuit and infrastructure into a mudbath. This time around Saturday went off without incident but a prolonged and heavy shower at midday on Sunday made track conditions tough, forcing the red flag to come out for the fourth SW85cc race of the weekend when one hill became impassable for many of the riders. But once the rain stopped the track quickly dried out and it was business as usual.
In the Rookie class Lanes Kawasaki’s James Harrison took his first overall win of the season ahead of Dan Thornhill and Ben Watson. Series leader Jake Millward could only manage seventh overall and saw his advantage slashed to just eight points.
The BW85cc class followed the form book with Buildbase Honda’s Josh Gilbert taking three wins and a pair of runner-up finishes to extend his lead over Todd Kellett to a massive 166 points. Scooter Webster lies third a further 87 points behind.
In the SW85cc class South African visitor Marcus Phelps narrowly nailed the overall – his first of the series – ahead of championship leader Keenan Hird. Marcus pulled nine points back on Keenan who still holds a healthy 68-point advantage with two rounds to go. James McFayden finished off the podium but hangs on to third overall.
Christopher Mills’ domination of the 65cc class continued at Canada Heights with his fourth straight overall victory. His three wins over the weekend helped him stretch his series lead to 16 points over Powerband KTM team-mate Tom Grimshaw who ended the day second. Scott Russell took third overall to maintain his third-placed position in the championship.
Saturday’s races for the Open class of the British 2-Stroke Championship saw Expert series leader Matt Moffat make it five overall wins in a row while Robbie Joe Waller continued his domination of the Junior division. In Sunday’s races for 125cc two-strokes Lewis King took a narrow win over Carlton Husband in the Expert division while Ryan Snaith raced to a great overall victory in the Juniors.
The Red Bull Pro Nationals now move to Hawkstone Park in Shropshire for round six on August 25-26.