Hot on the heels of the second-last round of the Red Bull Pro Nationals at Hawkstone Park, Evotech Stevens Honda returned to Hampshire for the penultimate round of the Maxxis British Motocross Championship. With Jordan Divall not feeling well, it was down to Joe Bamfield and Neville Bradshaw to bring home the glory for the team at the stunning hillside track at Langrish.
Qualifying started with an eighth for Bradshaw, a position he improved on by one place in the super-pole, whereas Bamfield found himself putting in the fourth-fastest time in the MXY2 class.
Bradshaw had his work cut out for him. With a bad start in mid-pack, the South African worked hard to gain a position every lap. By mid-race, he was back in the top ten in eighth, but was unable to progress much further after running into strong resistance from fellow Honda rider Nicolas Aubin. The second race got off the start much better. In sixth off the start, Bradshaw found himself battling for his position with championship leader Mel Pocock and Aubin again, all the while keeping rival Lenoir in check. Seventh place was the end result.
The third race again was a nightmare of a start for Bradshaw. In mid-pack again, he made rapid progress early on but then had to work even harder to pass Yamaha-mounted rival Graeme Irwin, a battle that rewarded him with a seventh place, and a sixth overall on the day.
For Bamfield, the first race was a mess. A bad start was compounded by a crash soon after, leaving Bamfield in dead last, and having to work his way forward again. Relentlessly pursuing his rivals, Bamfield leapfrogged up the pack, returning to the top fifteen with five minutes left on the clock. With two laps to go, Bamfield moved up into twelfth, from where he was not able to make much more progress. The second race was a vast improvement. Starting in seventh, Bamfield found himself making more modest progress with the pace much faster than in the first race. Nonetheless, he was able to make a last-lap move on one last rival to end the race in fourth for a seventh overall on the day.
Commented team principal Matt Hutchins: “I’m really pleased with the speed that Joe has shown today. He has been working hard over the last few months and it’s starting to pay off now. We will work on his starts now and I’m sure we will then see him run consistently at the front. Neville’s had another solid day and has shown some good speed. He’s now in third in the championship going into the last round which is great for the whole team.”
Joe Bamfield (#54): Qualifying was good, a fourth. First race was terrible. I had a bad start and crashed, but went from dead last back to twelfth. In the second race, I had a top ten start and worked my way up to fourth, which was ok.
Neville Bradshaw (#272): Today was a decent day; I managed sixth overall. My riding was really good and I had good speed. I struggled a bit with my starts in the first and last race, but I came through well, and maintained my third position in the championship with one round to go.