Canada Heights just off the M20 in Kent is much loved by riders and spectators alike, and with bright sunshine and toasty temperatures not typical for the time of year, the track hosted the second round of the Maxxis British Motocross Championship this past weekend. Evotech Stevens Honda attended the round with one of its two MX2 riders and its sole youth rider, Joe Bamfield.
Qualifying got underway swiftly with veteran Neville Bradshaw qualifying in ninth in the MX2 super-pole, while Bamfield found himself a fraction of a second outside the top five in sixth in the MXY2 qualifying session.
The first MX2 race got off to a slow start for Bradshaw after a start outside the top ten, but he soon turned up the heat by leapfrogging into the top five three laps later, and finding himself in third another three laps after that. Keeping the leaders within his sights, he was able to reduce the distance to a mere stone’s throw at the finish line. Race two saw Bradshaw around the first corner in fifth, but a brief glitch dropped him back enough to lose touch with the leaders for several laps. He returned to the top five soon after though, leaving the pack behind and remaining close to the leaders. Unable to make further progress, he had to make do with a fourth place at the chequered flag.
The final race of the day looked to be the best yet. Bradshaw nailed the start and powered away from the competition, shadowing leader Elliott Banks-Browne. Due to an unfortunate rider accident, the race was red-flagged halfway in, giving Bradshaw second place in the race, overall on the day, and in the championship standings.
For Bamfield, things were somewhat tougher. After several red-flagged starts due to technical issues, Bamfield found himself virtually last around the first corner when the start finally was deemed to be a success, having dropped his bike. Undeterred, he made good progress, reentering the top twenty four laps later. Misfortune struck again in the form of a red flag due to a rider incident, which meant that his previous lap’s eighteenth place would be the official result. His second race was much improved with a start in thirteenth. Steady progress to eighth place followed, but Bamfield was unable to close the gap between himself and seventh place in time for the chequered flag, and he had to make do with thirteenth overall on the day.
“We had a pretty good day, actually,” commented team principal Matt Hutchins at the end. “For Neville it was exceptionally good with a second overall, which puts us in the championship hunt, so I’m very pleased with that. Joe had an unfortunate day really. In the first race he crashed in the first turn and the race was cut short due to a rider accident, so he only really had eleven or twelve minutes to make progress in. In the second race he had a reasonable start and rode through to eighth, which is a reasonable start to the season for him.”
Joe Bamfield: “Today didn’t go very well. In qualifying I ended sixth, and in the first race, I crashed on the first corner, and then struggled to get through the pack. It was so one-lined. The second race was alright, I should’ve won it but I had a bad start and made my way up to eighth.”
Neville Bradshaw: “Today was a good day. In the first race I didn’t get a good start, came from way back to third, caught the leaders and had the fastest lap times, so I knew my pace was good. In the second race also not so good out of the gate, but I went from fourteenth to fourth, and Aubin and I were having a really good ride, caught onto the back of the leaders, so again I had the speed. In the last race I had a much better start in second and had a good race to finish in second overall on the day and second in the championship. I’m really looking forward to the next round.”