It feels like the 2014 Garmin Arenacross tour has only just started. But, already, we have just one round remaining, as the penultimate round took place in Sheffield earlier today. Once again, the action was fast and furious in all of the classes, as the tight, technical track offered multiple passing opportunities.
The action kicked off with the first professional heat, as per usual. The lead changed hands a lot early on in this heat, as Bayliss, Voase and Ramette all held it briefly. However, it was Fabien Izoird, the series leader, that eventually took, and held, the race lead until the finish. When the Frenchman passed Ramette, Coulon followed him through. These two were the class of the field, evidently, as they had a comfortable gap over Angelo Pellegrini in third. At the finish, Coulon was just two seconds down on the eventual winner Izoird.
Steven Clarke, the winner last week in Birmingham, took the holeshot in the second pro heat. However, he went down soon after this and walked off the track clutching his wrist. This opened the door for Kristian Whatley to take control of the lead ahead of Daniel McCoy. Kristian went off the track soon after this, and lost the lead too! McCoy briefly held the lead following that incident, before Loic Rombaut snatched it from him and claimed the heat win. The Australian finished second, ahead of Whatley, Luke Arbon and Alfie Smith.
Luke Arbon attempted to improve on his fourth from heat two by taking the holeshot in the third professional heat. But, with Izoird and McCoy behind him, it seemed likely that would give up the lead early on. Izoird put a block pass on Luke soon after this, and then Angelo Pellegrini got around his teammate and into second. Surprisingly, the Italian started to catch Fabien a little bit. But, it was not to be; he missed out on the win by just over a second. McCoy, Arbon and Romain Biela rounded out the top five in this one.
Thomas Ramette grabbed the holeshot in the fourth and final professional heat, but it was short-lived, as Whatley stole the lead just seconds later. It wasn’t long before both Coulon and Bradshaw followed him around Thomas; these two also got boosted up a spot when Whatley went off of the track again! Cyrille Coulon seemed very comfortable out front; he had a comfortable margin over Bradshaw – all he needed to do was bring it home. However, he went down hard in the rhythm section, and required some medical attention, which obviously knocked him out of the race. So, Bradshaw, Whatley and Ramette occupied the top three spots at the end of the fourth heat.
Finally, it was time for the much anticipated pro main event. Fabien Izoird took the holeshot, and it seemed to be over at that point, as few people have been able to challenge the talented Frenchman. Pellegrini started second, ahead of Whatley and Rombaut. Kristian went down early on in the main event, and gave up his spot on the podium, as a result; he then stalled his MBO Sport Yamaha again. It was quickly turning into a disastrous night for him. Overall, there was not a lot going on in the final, as the top three occupied their positions for the duration.
Izoird took the win by three seconds over Angelo Pellegrini, and clinched the 2014 Garmin Arenacross title, as a result! It was clear from very early on that he was the man to beat, as he has been a consistent threat for the win aboard his LPE Kawasaki each week. Loic Rombaut was not as fast as we have seen him at previous rounds, as he had nothing for the top two – he finished third, five seconds further back. Coulon and McCoy rounded out the top five, with Whatley recovering for seventh.
Todd Kellett, the rider that clinched the 2014 rookies title last week, elected not to race in Sheffield after waking up sick, which opened the door for a new winner for the first time this year. Mitchell Lewis grabbed the holeshot, and stretched out his lead immediately. Surprisingly, the track proved to be very difficult for most of the rookie riders. Ben Harrison finished second, after moving into that position early on. Joe Clayton finished up on the podium in third.
Harry Kimber took the holeshot in the Big Wheel 85 main event, but Aaron Booker took control of the lead very quickly. Marcus Phelps moved into second shortly after, and immediately tried to make a run at Booker. After battling for a little bit, Phelps went down hard, but quickly got back around Kimber and into second again, which is where he finished. Aaron Booker won by nine seconds in the end, with Kimber finishing third, two seconds further back.
In the Small Wheel 85 class, Ben Burridge took the holeshot and never looked back, as he held on until the finish. But, he could not relax at any point, as Lewis Hall kept him honest and finished less than a second down. Preston Williams ended up in third, which was a great result, all things considered. The SW85 main had to be delayed, as his bike would not start on the line. So, he was lucky enough to be out there, let alone on the box! Buster Hart won the 65 main event by two seconds from Todd Leadbitter and Jay Sevitt. Once again, these guys deserve props just for tackling the daunting track!
Words: Lewis Phillips
Image: Elliot Spencer