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Race Report: Liverpool AX

The Echo Arena, in Liverpool, hosted the fourth round of the 2014 Garmin Arenacross series earlier today, in front of a very large crowd, once again. There were a lot of surprises in Liverpool, as the results were very different to what we have seen at the previous rounds.

Unsurprisingly, the action was both fast and furious throughout the afternoon (this round was run in a different time slot, rather than at night, as it usually is). Fabien Izoird, the series leader, took another commanding win in the first heat, after Kristian Whatley crashed out of the lead early on. Elliott Banks Browne finished second; he has been very fast since round one, but he has not translated that into good results at each round. James Harrison, Jason Dougan, and Alfie Smith completed the top five in this heat. Neville Bradshaw (piloting a CRF450 for the first time this season) took the holeshot in heat two, and rode away to an impressive victory from title contender, Daniel McCoy.

In the third pro heat, Fabien Izoird and Loic Rombaut controlled the race, as they got out front early. In the end, Fabien took the win by a second and a half from his countryman. McCoy finished third in this heat, and secured his spot in the main as a result; the SR75 duo of Cyrille Coulon and Carl Nunn rounded out the top five. Banks Browne took the holeshot in the fourth and final heat, and took the win. Whatley went down early, which thwarted his chances of going straight to the main.

Kristian also went down in the first turn in the LCQ, and failed to qualify for the main, as a result. Loic Rombaut and Jamie Law were the two riders that transferred to the main from the last chance qualifier. Interestingly, a handful of big names did not make it to the main this time; Brad Anderson, Steven Clarke, Bryan Mackenzie, Tyler Villopoto and Romain Biela all went home early, along with Whatley.

When the gates dropped for the pro main event, Elliott Banks Browne claimed the holeshot aboard his Buildbase Honda. Fabien Izoird, Jason Dougan, Daniel McCoy and Luke Arbon all started up front, with EBB. Fabien Izoird began applying pressure to Elliott immediately, but struggled to find a way through at first. At one point, Izoird passed EBB, but Banks Browne retaliated straight away and reclaimed the lead. It was not too long after this that Fabien crashed, which gave Elliott a bit of valuable breathing room. This allowed McCoy to move up into second, and Dougan to jump up to third.

From there, it was smooth sailing for Elliott Banks Browne, as he pushed forward to take the main event win on his birthday! Daniel McCoy finished second, and was joined on the podium by Jason Dougan in third, surprisingly. Neville Bradshaw finished fourth, in a strong ride; the 450f is clearly a massive help to him on-track – Luke Arbon rounded out the top five. Fabien Izoird ended up finishing in tenth, which was quite disastrous for him. However, he does still have a six point gap over McCoy in the standings.

Todd Kellett has proven to be the man to beat in the rookies class thus far, and Liverpool was no different, as he once again claimed the number one spot with some masterful riding. Jay Thomas took the holeshot, and held the lead for a brief period of time, before Kellett stormed through. The rookies main event was certainly entertaining, with multiple passes, and crashes. Whilst in the lead, Thomas got a bit wayward, and took out Charlie Putnam (who had started the main in second). In the end, Kellett seemed to be one of the only riders able to stay upright; he took the win from Joe Clayton and Mitchell Lewis. Jay Thomas finished sixth after taking the holeshot.

In the Big Wheel 85 class, Marcus Phelps was dominant, yet again, as he grabbed the lead early on and extended his lead when he jumped the triple consistently. Although Aaron Booker did begin to close in at one point, a back marker held him up, which stopped him from making anymore progress. Once again, Harry Kimber climbed up onto the podium in third. Nathan Claughan and Lee Perfect round out the top five.

Ben Burridge clinched the main event win in the Small Wheel 85 class, and in a commanding fashion, too – he was the only rider in his class to break into the thirty-three second lap time bracket. Eventually, he won by around a second and a half, from Adam Collings, and Kurt Griffiths in third. Preston Williams and Ryan Mundell rounded out the top five. Buster Hart took the holeshot in the 65 main, but crashed soon after, handing the lead to Harrison McCann. Harrison didn’t look back after that, as he went on to take the win from Finn O’Malley and Jack Lindsay.

Words: Lewis Phillips

Image: Kev Reid

MX Vice Editor || 25

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