If you haven’t seen the MX Vice videos from the opening Maxxis British championship yet, you should, or you haven’t read the first report here’s a little run down of the weekend from Ady Cowshall to freshen you up on what went down last weekend.
With Brad Anderson leaving the British championship for sunnier climes you might have thought MX1 was going to be pretty boring, think again! Shaun Simpson must have started off as favourite in many peoples eyes coming from the GP’s, then there is Whatley, finishing second last year and now in the old Anderson camp on the PAR Honda, Sword now back on an established Japanese brand, Barr coming off a strong season end….oh, did I forget the new international contingent, Strijbos and de Reuver.
So the deep sand of South Yorkshire was set to be possibly one of the most exciting starts to a new season for a good few years…
MX2 on the other hand is possibly already a frogone conclusion that the title will go to the Steve Dixon run Monster/Bike it/Cosworth Yamaha team, but it will at least be a titanic battle for supremacy between the main 2 men, Osborne and Tonus.
Tonus got the jump on teammate Osborne and the two started to gap the field, with 3 laps down the American surged into the lead looking to have the measure of his rival and pulled out a 2 second gap holding this for the next few laps, but Tonus wasn’t finished and he re-grouped having watched Osborne’s lines and reeled him in to make a pass on lap 7 and the two crossed the line with only half a second seperating them after 13 laps. Elliott Banks-Browne had made a mistake on the opening circuit and dropped from his 3rd place gate to 6th and had to work hard to re-gain the final podium spot by the chequered flag passing both Pocock and Irwin with only minutes remaining. New international Buildbase Honda signing Nico Aubin binned it on lap one along with Bryan Mackenzie and left these two way down the order with Aubin taking another tumble before the race was done.
Looked to be a re-run with the two Monster Yamaha’s out front but Tonus ate sand early on and retired leaving Osborne to bring home the bacon, behind him though there was another of Dixon’s Monster energy Bike-It Yamaha’s, riden by former Dixon man Mel Pocock, he was firmley in 2nd and held it to the flag with a great ride coming from Graeme Irwin on yet another Yamaha, Samsung RFX based this time giving the YZF’s all the podium spots. Notable ride from the other Samsung FRX rider, Frenchman Steven Lenoir coming through from 30th on lap 1 to finish 6th!
Tonus was in no mood to finish runner up this time out having handed the points lead to Osborne and came out of the gate all guns blazing, Osbore was tucked back a few places but soon disposed of the other riders to set his sites on catching his teammate, not only did he catch him but he passed him on lap 4 having set a blistering pace to reel him in! Tonus stuck with him and it looked like the 338 was giving it his all to break clear but the silky smooth Swiss rider was playing a waiting game, maybe the lack of energy used in race 2 left him with the confidence that Osborne would fade in the dying laps and he re-took the lead with 3 laps to go but Osborne stayed in contention crossing the line in 2nd less than 2 seconds down but holding the red plate for round 2.
With the top 5 reading Osborne, Pocock, Irwin, Tonus and Bradshaw you could of almost been forgiven for thinking it was a one manufacter series!
After qualification 1 was done former British Champ Sword was looking like the man to beat, however he was demoted to 4th in superpole with 2 foreign riders, Strijbos and Krestinov taking 1st and 2nd and back from a long absence, Jason Dougan getting 3rd gate pick. So the gate dropped, the bullshit stopped and it was the KTM of sand master Strijbos hitting the front, few predicted, after Hawkstone he would be a title contender but the guy was out of the blocks like a whippet and set off at a pace no one could match, in fact he repeated this with an unflustered dominance in all 3 motos, leaving a partisan crowd in no doubt he’s going to be very hard to beat. So the MX1 racing was all about who would fill the remaining podium places… It looked like Matiss Karro would take 2nd after running a comfortable race lying 2nd right up untill lap 9 when Simpson had forced his way up from outside the top 5 on the opening lap to displace the returning Dougan running with the MVR-D Honda squad after his injury filled 2011 campaign De Reuver dropped out of contention after crashing on lap 2 and had to play catch up for the rest of the race. So pre-race favourite Simpson got 2nd with Krestinov showing great speed taking 3rd again MVR-D Honda mounted giving the Route77 MVR-D team a great season opener.
Lanes Kawasaki rider Marc de Reuver got out of the blocks with Strijbos this time and the two sand fliers took off at pace with De Reuver looking meanacing for the first 2 laps pushing Strijbos hard, a mistake allowed Karro to come past but by then Strijbos already had a gap that just kept growing. Sword had his Tyco Suzuki up with the leading bunch but seemed to fade in the tough conditions eventually finishing one place in front of De Reuver who again sampled sand at close quarters finishing 7th. It was an international clean sweep with a Belguim on the top step, Latvian Karro next up and Estonian Krestinov completing the order.
It was another win for Strijbos but this time De Reuver stayed upright, well untill lap 7 when he yet again went down with a huge gap over 3rd placed Karro. Fast gating Par signing Dorron Coutts ran top 5 for quarter of the final encounter giving him a much needed confidence boost finishing 7th one spot in front of Stephen Sword who yet seems to have settled to the new machine.
So Strijbos came away with the only clean sheet on the day, 3 out of 3 and a firm points lead, with Karro getting another podium giving him 3rd overall 1 point down on Krestinov who sits 17 points adrift of the red plate holder. With Whatley riding injured and off to hospital Monday morning to get checked out, the closest Brit to challange the international imports is Simpson nearly 20 points down after 1 round!
Report and Pictures by Ady Cowshall