The second night in Aberdeen’s P&J Live Arena promised even more amazing action amongst Britain’s best off-road racers. Tru7 Honda’s Jake Nicholls had missed Saturday night through illness but would line up for the second night, and unfortunately Darjen Kawasaki’s Chris Bayliss had dislocated his knee in a heat race crash on Saturday. He would accompany his brother Matt in opening ceremonies but would not be able to race.
Words: Ben Rumbold | Lead Image: Arenacross UK
In the first Pro Sprint Heat race, reigning MX1 British Champion Tommy Searle on the GTCI REVO Kawasaki was lined up alongside his replacement in the Crendon Fastrack Honda team, MX2 Champion Conrad Mewse! The top two in the series would have to deal with each other in the heat races for the first time this season. Mewse’s teammate Josh Gilbert was also in with them and beat them all to the first corner, but Searle quickly went to the front through the whoops that began the lap. Elliott Banks-Browne on the Mark McCann 64 YouTube Channel Husky was aggravating Conrad, and the pair swapped 3rd and 4th positions back and forth several times in the opening lap! Finally Conrad pulled a block pass to make it stick on the third lap.
Searle made hey at the front, as Mewse chased Gilbert down for 2nd. He got past through the whoops on lap 6 of the 8, as Joe Clayton did the same to his teammate Banks-Browne for 4th. Mewse gave notice of his speed by closing in on Searle to finish only half a second back by the flag! These two could be going at it like this all season long!
The AX E5 Electric Class delivered one of the best races of the night, with Archie Race from Durham leading into the first corner alongside Bradford’s Roy Townley Junior, who pulled away through the whoops.
Saturday night’s winner Seb Chartell from Towcester moved forward to close in on Roy as Mason Staddon moved up into 3rd. As they started the last lap, Chartell attacked Townley Jr but couldn’t go thru. On the very last circulation they made contact in the penultimate corner, then Chartell blasted around the outside to take the win in the last few feet!
The top four overall that qualify from Aberdeen for the Wembley finale are:
1: Seb Chartell
2: Roy Townley Jr
3: Mason Staddon
4: Seth Golding
Rising from his sick bed like a Phoenix, Jake Nicholls took the holeshot in Pro Sprint Heat 2 from Scottish hero Shaun Simpson and FUS Husqvarna’s Adam Chatfield. Jack Brunell was moving his Troy Lee Designs GASGAS forward from a poor start to slice into 3rd by the end of lap one. Nicholls dramatically crashed out of the lead through the whoops on lap two. The crowd roared as Simpson inherited the lead on his Gabriel SS24 KTM, but the red flag came out to send them back to the gate. Nicholls was interviewed by announcer Jeff Perrett as he walked off but he didn’t make the restart.
There was confusion at the gate as some riders opportunistically nabbed a better start position than the first attempt, and they had to do a complete reset for fairness. It’s under official ACU ruling now!
Brunell made the best of the restart with a much better getaway and holeshot, with Jason Meara in 2nd on the All Moto Yamaha powered by Start Solar and fending off Simpson. Shaun grabbed the lead with a block pass at the start of the whoops, but he badly went over the bars at the end of them! He rode slowly back to the pits but sadly that was the end of his night.
As Brunell cruised away, Chatfield advanced into 2nd past Meara with Jayden Ashwell on the AJP Geartec Husqvarna inheriting 4th as James Mackrel dropped back on his All Moto Yamaha.
After having to battle through traffic on Saturday, AX Supermini star Isaac Ash holeshot on Sunday from Lewis Spratt and Harry Lee. Harrison Schofield moved forward to finish 2nd ahead of Lee and Spratt, whilst in the Small Wheel clash Alfie Stott, the local boy from Aberdeen, drove the crowd wild with the lead in the class!
Archie Edwards made a move past Stott with two laps to go to win the Small Wheel class, as Ash cruised away to another victory by over 5 seconds.
The AX65 saw another gate-to-flag win, this time for Casey Lister ahead of John Slade and Jamie Currie. Finlee Pope was well up off the start, but Caleb Ross and Daniel Devine moved up to 4th & 5th after two laps. On the last lap, Ross dropped back, but Lister cruised to a 4.6 second victory over Slade and Currie and he has a dominant points lead in the series.
Mewse strikes back
In Pro Heat 3 after the interval, it was Mewse’s turn to take the holeshot from Searle with Gilbert 3rd ahead of the two McCann bikes. Clayton passed Gilbert in the whoops and Banks-Browne was snapping at the Cornishman’s heels.
Searle did his best to hang on to Mewse’s coat-tails but again the Honda man had figured out the track. Searle washed out on the corner after the whoops on the final circulation, gifting Joe Clayton 2nd place and a direct transition to the main. Tommy remounted for 3rd to make sure he got through as well.
The Pro-Am Final lived up to its billing as one of the best of the night. Teenager Travis Steels grabbed the holeshot just ahead of Matt Lomas. Sion Talbot, winner of night one on each stop so far, then fought into 2nd place ahead of Josh Greedy. They engaged in a great three-way scrap for the lead. Kyle Lane was back in 4th but could not catch them. Talbot nearly spun off on the loose surface just after taking the 2-lap board. Greedy then went through to 2nd in the whoops, narrowly missing Steels’ back wheel!
Josh looked to make a move in the corner before the whoops on the last lap, but Steels blocked him and Talbot nearly sneaked thru, but Greedy kept it on, and powering through the whoops nearly nabbed Steels again! Travis bobbled in the penultimate corner but just held on from Greedy and Talbot, with the overall also finishing in that order. The consistent Greedy leads the standings by 4 points from Talbot, with Steels just 6 further back!
In Pro Heat 4 Meara and Brunell went through the first turn and whoops together, with Brunell just coming out on top. Teammates Meara and Mackrel held 2nd & 3rd until Ashwell barged past Mackrel and Chatfield went through as well, which was enough to put “Chatters” directly to the main.
The AX Futures race was a little processional as Charley Irwin made it a clear sweep of all four motos in Aberdeen andtakes a commanding lead in the championship over Joel Fisher, who held a solid 2nd from Jake Farrelly on the night.
Head to head
The H2H races were pretty straightforward up until the last few. Ben Clayton opened proceedings with a fairly straightforward win over Mackrel, then Matt Bayliss pulled the first of numerous holeshots in this competition on his KX250, this time over Martin Barr.
Luke Burton, getting a reputation for being good at these races, holeshot and pulled away from Jake Preston, whilst old buddies Pocock and Banks-Browne went through the whoops side-by-side. Mel gained the advantage but EBB had an issue with the bike and pulled in.
Matt Bayliss outdid another 450 from the start in the shape of Ben Clayton, then things livened up with Burton Vs Pocock! Absolutely together through the first set of whoops, Burton just came out in front by the corner. Pocock then cut back and jumped into the side of Luke, who went down hard! Mel came round on lap two to see Luke just getting up. They sportingly fist-bumped and Mel completed the race.
This left Mel facing Matt Bayliss for the right to progress! The pair of Kawsakis were side-by-side thru for almost the entire first lap! At the start of the second lap Pocock nudged inside to lead. Bayliss got him back, but they came together through the rhythm section and Bayliss hit the ground big-time! Pocock was through but for sure he felt a little guilty about it!
The Pro LCQ was sparsely populated with only 6 riders. Banks-Browne holeshot ahead of Barr and pulled clear to take the win. Barr held off the close attentions of Mackrel for 2nd, and at last had the consolation of the People’s Choice vote so he also made it through to the Main!
Super Super Final!
The Pro Super Final was easily the best of the season so far. Things have been building up to a Searle vs Mewse clash and the pair hit the front immediately, with EBB blasting into 3rd through the first lap whoops! Brunell went for a pass on EBB on lap two but got it wrong, losing out to Pocock and Gilbert in the process. On lap three Banks-Browne shocked everyone by moving past Conrad through the rhythm lane into 2nd! That truly fired Mewse up and he came back with a block pass before the whoops. Suddenly he was right on Searle’s back wheel!
Gilbert and Brunell closed in on EBB for 3rd, but all eyes were on the leaders, as Conrad went inside Tommy for his favourite move before the whoops, and they both hit the floor! Banks-Browne held off a block pass attempt from Gilbert to inherit the lead as the points leaders picked themselves up!
After several laps Gilbert made a move through the whoops to take the lead from Elliott. A lap later in the same spot Brunell moved inside EBB who briefly took him back on the cutback but just lost out!
Mewse and Searle were flying in recovery and both of the points leaders closed in on EBB as the 2-lap board came out. Mewse got thru but Searle was denied the move by the famous EBB cutback! On the last lap Brunell spun out on a rock to lose 2nd to Mewse with two corners left, but Gilbert held on for an amazing first win indoors, and it was a Crendon Fastrack Honda 1-2 for good measure!
Mewse was apologetic to Searle in his post-race interview, and he now sits atop the points standings by a single point from the Kawasaki man. Gilbert is also still in with a shout and getting better all the time. If you haven’t got your tickets for Birmingham or Wembley yet, get in there fast!