Maxxis British Championship, round eight.
Farleigh Castle, Somerset.
The final round of the Maxxis ACU British Championship took the Heads & All Threads Suzuki team to the historic track of Farleigh Castle in Somerset along with a guest ride from Scotsman, Tony Craig, on the RM-Z450 in MX1
The track was a little wet during practice but a warm Octobers day soon dried the surface, and the track turned prime for some very fast racing.
In qualifying the teams MX2 rider, Graeme Irwin, just managed to pip into the superpole event in 12th, and then improved on his time to get 8th pick of the gate. In MX1, Craig qualified in 21st with Luke Burton just behind him in 22nd.
The racing started with the MX2 riders out first, and Irwin gated just inside the top 10 in 8th. Battling hard with Neville Bradshaw for 7th, the gap increased slightly but in the later stages Irwin began to close in again. As he got with striking distance of Bradshaw he made a mistake on the last lap and was relegated to cross the line in 10th.
The second MX2 race and a coming together on the first corner opened the door for Irwin to take the holeshot, but as he made his way through the wooded section his RM-Z250 stepped away from him on the still wet surface and spat him off, dropping him to last. Undeterred, he pick himself up and rode strong all race to climb his way to well within the points, and came home in 12th.
The final MX2 race and Irwin was just inside the top 10 again. As he jostled for position the front group had started to pull away, but at the mid stage of the race he put the hammer down and began gaining ground crossing the line in 5th taking 8th overall and finishing the championship in 5th.
The first MX1 race of the day and both Burton and Craig were squeezed out on the first corner and down towards the back of the field. Burton made great progress and had climbed into 15th at he half way point, but a small mistake dropped him back and he crossed the line in 18th. Craig pushed all race but couldn’t quite break into the top 20 and finished in 23rd.
A better start for Craig in the second race saw him in 21st, but a little bobble on the first lap dropped him to 25th. He worked his way back and again crossed the line in 23rd. Burton didn’t get the start he needed and was left with work to do, but by lap three he had managed to move from 27th to 18th. On lap five a minor mishap caused him to lose some positions and finished in 21st.
The final race held better starts for both riders, Craig was just inside the top 20 and rode steady. He was involved in some close battles, for a top 20 finish, but finally crossed the line 22nd.
Burton made a scorching start and rounded the first corner in 5th. Despite his best efforts and riding the best he has all season, the usual front runners worked their way past as he and Josh Spinks were locked in their own battle. Burton fought for position all race and crossed the line in 14th, his best finish of the season, and claimed 20th overall. Early season problems had cost him a good championship position however, and he finished in 32nd for the year.
Kev Reid Images