The Michelin MX Nationals British Motocross Championships put on another tremendous event this weekend, doing everything they could within the Coronvirus restrictions to get the meeting on and making people feel safe.
Images courtesy of Dave Rich
Rain during the week made the Landrake track super technical and rutty and in stark contrast to the sand-based Hawkstone Park circuit which was the venue for round one of the series and the varying conditions mixed up the results in many of the classes.
After a scintillating first-round anticipation was high for the Fastest 40 which had the added attraction of GP and Hitachi KTM Fuelled by Milwaukee Team riders Adam Sterry in MX1 and Conrad Mewse in MX2.
Sterry showed his speed in qualifying with the fastest lap while reigning MX2 champion Josh Gilbert on the Par Homes RFX Husqvarna showed his home track knowledge by taking pole in MX2 by close to two seconds over Mewse.
Fastest Qualifier Adam Sterry
When the gate dropped on Moto1 it was Dylan Walsh on the MSR Redline Honda powered by Revo who surfaced in the lead ahead of 2019 champ Harri Kullas on board his Cab Screens Deos Group Honda with a fast and furious battle behind them. Kullas was looking smooth and by lap six he was in the lead and looking good. Walsh’s race would end in heartbreak on lap 7 when his machine expired leaving Buildbase Honda’s Tommy Searle to take up the challenge for the win. Searle didn’t make the best start but was picking off places lap by lap and was closing in on Kullas as the race was reaching its end, but with the Cab Screens rider looking solid Searle’s late charge was relented and it was Kullas who took the win by less than a second over Searle. Sterry and Chambers Racing Husqvarna’s Jake Millward would duke it out throughout the moto with Sterry edging out his rival for third with Millward fourth, ASA United Husqvarna’s Brent Van Donnick fifth, Buildbase Honda’s Jake Nicholls sixth, Evgeny Bobryshev of Par Homes RFX Husqvarna seventh and BRT KTM’s Martin Barr eighth.
In moto 2 Searle was making no mistake from the start and powered his Honda to the first bend to land the holeshot with Kullas tucked in behind him. While Searle was on the gas at the front of the field, machine gremlins would strike Kullas, and Sterry had a big crash on the downhill with Van Donnick unable to avoid him, meaning DNF’s for all three, who at the time of their departure from the race were all running in the top six. While machinery problems and crashes halted some, New Zealander Walsh was picking himself off of the deck too, but he was soon making passes at a canter, and by the end of the moto he was up into second and just nine seconds off of winner Searle who controlled the race throughout. Barr would have a tremendous second moto in third with Bobryshev who at the midpoint of the moto was second until a fall, was fourth. Josh Spinks had an improved second moto in fifth, ahead of an out of sorts Nicholls in sixth. Last years runner up Lewis Tombs of Verde Substance KTM took seventh with Millward eighth.
With a 2-1 scorecard the round win would be Searle’s and with two consistent motos Barr would finish a fantastic second with Bobryshev third. With DNF’s in abundance and results a mixed bag, Searle now leads the Championship by 16 points over his teammate Nicholls with reigning champ Kullas in third, 22 points off of the top spot.
In MX2 the talk pre-race was about the addition of Mewse following his 6th overall at the previous weeks MXGP of Kegums, and Gilbert who had a career-best 11th at the same GP. Qualifying backed that up with Gilbert, Mewse and Jorgen Talviku of ASA United Husqvarna the top three.
It was a hard slog for the 250’s to make the start against their MX1 rivals in the first moto in the deep conditions but it was Gilbert buried in the MX1 pack with the MX2 lead followed by Talviku, Jamie Law on his 2 stroke, Tom Grimshaw and Conrad Mewse with both of the round one podium runners Rob Hooper Racing Yamaha’s Taylor Hammal and Buildbase Honda’s Steven Clarke both having to work overtime to catch the lead pack. Hammal though was on a mission, showing blinding speed to reach Gilbert’s back wheel by lap six after narrowly missing a big crash from Talviku who was in second. Josh would then fall too with three laps to go with the RHR Yamaha rider moving into the lead. A full-on dual ensued for the next three laps as Gilbert and Hammal both put everything on the line to gain the win, but by less than a second it was Hammal who would take his first-ever MX Nationals race win. Mewse would finish third 16 seconds off of the top two, with Clarke eventually getting up to fourth. 2 Stroke ambassador Brad Anderson of Verde Substance KTM would finish a solid fifth ahead of Chambers Racing Husqvarna racer Tom Grimshaw in sixth, James Carpenter in seventh and another Chambers rider Ben Franklin in eighth.
All eyes were on Gilbert and Hammal at the start of moto 2 and with an excellent start, Gilbert showed he meant business. At the other end of the field Hammal was in dead last and fifteen seconds behind the second from last place rider after a fall on the third bend of the opening lap. While Gilbert was at the head of the field mixing it with the top MX1 riders Hammal was slicing through the pack and was already within the top ten MX2 riders by the middle of the third lap, but another fall and another trip to the back of the field halted his progress and he had to begin the hard work again.
Mewse would stave off the challenge of Clarke to finish second, with the Buildbase Honda rider third, Ashton Dickenson recovering from a moto 1 dnf in fourth, Talviko in fifth, Grimshaw sixth, Hammal coming through the pack for seventh and Anderson eighth.
Matching his 2-1 results from Hawkstone, it would be Gilbert on the top step of the podium at the end of the day and in doing so extending his lead at the top of the standings. Mewse would be second while Hammal would take the final podium spot by a point over Clarke. Hammal moves up to second in the series now just a point ahead of Clarke.
The Youth classes would race over two days and it was certainly challenging for the Small Wheel 85’s having to contend with the deep ruts.
The racing in the Gaerne Small Wheel 85 class was out of the top drawer with a whole host of riders capable of posting a win, but it was Reece Jones with two victories and two thirds who would stand on top of the podium after two hard days racing. Ryan Waggott couldn’t grab a moto win but with a trio of second places he would finish second overall and in doing so kept hold of the red plate and the series lead. Josh Vail grew stronger as the weekend went on taking third with Freddie Gardiner a smooth and consistent fourth, Harlow Green fifth and Brandon Buckley sixth. Spare a through for Joey Benifield who was battling for the final race win and the overall with Jones when he would crash out and suffer a DNF which relegated him to seventh overall. Moto three winner Charlie Richmond also lost out on a podium spot due to non-scoring final moto.
Charlie Heyman was in a class of his own in the Fly Big Wheel 85’s clearing off in the distance in each of the four moto’s to make it eight races from eight unbeaten in 2020. Last years Small Wheel champion Tyla Hooley is starting to put the hammer down in the Big Wheels now and rode well for second overall with the returning Wal Beaney in third. Billy Askew and Mackenzie Marshall swapped positions during the weekend with Askew taking fourth courtesy of beating Marshall in the final moto. Ben Mustoe would finish sixth.
ASA United Husqvarna’s Bobby Bruce has been a revelation in the Talon MXY1 125 class and again went through the card taking his win total to 8 this season and amassing a whopping 70 point lead at the head of the standings after just two rounds. Cab Screens Deos Group’s Joe Brookes was Bruce’s main rival but a crash and a DNF in his first moto relegated him to fifth overall, although he finished second in all three of his remaining races. Jak Taylor gave a good account of himself in every race for second overall, with Harvey James third, Charlie Griffiths fourth, Brookes fifth and Charlie Palmer sixth.
Local hero Louie Kessell would miss out on a maximum in the Talon MXY2 with Team Green Kawasaki racer Cullen Scott spoiling the party and winning the opening moto and Tyler Westcott taking advantage of a mistake to take the chequers in the final moto. Kessell though with two moto victories would gain the overall over Scott in second with Westcott in third. Team Green Army racer Ben Clayton was solid in fourth, Ben Clark was fifth and Connor Mullan sixth. There is now just a 4 point difference between Kessell and Scott as the series heads to Cusses Gorse MX for round three.
Joe Clayton kept it smooth in the gnarly conditions with two race wins on Sunday helping him notch the overall in the Oakley Expert MX1 category over red plate holder Shaun Southgate with moto 2 victor Josh Taylor always in the mix in third. Richard Bird battled hard for fourth with Zac Stealey fifth and Ben Edwards sixth.
In the Bell Expert MX2’s Jake Preston did his title credentials no harm by piling up the points and two race wins to take home the overall and red plate over race three winner and title contender Ollie Beamish, and Bradley Wheeler who saved the best to last by taking the chequered flag in the final race. George Clarke would finish fourth ahead of Sean Eckersley and Drew Anderson in fifth and sixth respectively.
There is a bit of confusion in the Pro Green MX Amateur MX1 group with the results accrediting Rob Cross with all four moto wins and the overall while at the presentation the overall was awarded to Team Green Army’s Callum Gordon, with Ross Kersey second and Cross in third. Just off of the box was Stephen Kelly in fourth, while Bradley Maddever was fifth, Ross Parkinson sixth and red plate holder David Rushton in seventh.
In the Pro Green MX Amateur MX2’s Kieran Yorke edged ahead of title rival Mitch Young with a strong weekend of results including two moto wins and the overall. Young would open his weekend with a win and would claim second courtesy of beating Jack Moore in the final moto after they tied on points. So it was Moore third, race three victor Aaron Ongley in fourth, Ben Thomson fifth and Harry Foster sixth.
Peter Bulley staked his claim on the Moto Connection MX1 Clubman red plate with a great performance over the weekend racking up two wins on the Saturday and the overall over his title rival Ryan Osborn who came to life on Sunday, winning each moto on that day for second overall. Rounding out the podium was Charlie Roper, with James Johnson, Alex Christopher and Alex Christopher making up the rest of the top six.
In RFX Clubman MX2, Tallon Aspden showed his liking for the conditions and rode well in all four moto’s to be the number one at the end of the weekend ahead of red plate holder Alex Buchanan and race three winner George Boyce. Jed Stockham would finish fourth while Connor Warren came out all guns blazing in the final moto to pull off an excellent victory which helped him to fifth overall with Ashley Watt in sixth.
Once again full credit to the whole MX Nationals team for putting on a tremendous event in challenging times. The series now moves onto Cusses Gorse in Wiltshire on the 5th and 6th September.
Words and pics courtesy Dirthub