Monday June 13, 2016 at 3:31pm
Watching the best riders in Great Britain race for crucial championship points at the spectacular red sand track at Desertmartin, Northern Ireland was a real treat. Rain made things a little bit tricky in terms of the concrete start, and vision but on the other hand it actually did the track, in terms of race surface, wonders.
We knew the racing had potential to get crazy as the series leader in MX1, Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Shaun Simpson went in with a broken hand while the championship leader in MX2, Buildbase Honda’s Martin Barr was the local legend with the added pressure of holding the Red Plate for the first time in his career.
Just as expected, the racing was mad, as were the results where Hitachi Revo Husqvarna’s Jake Nicholls and Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Adam Sterry both took their first ever race wins and overalls in their respective classes at round four of the Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championship supported by Pro Clean that took place yesterday.
Meanwhile, in the class that is spotlighting young talents, the MXY2, Holeshot Motocross’ James Carpenter took his second consecutive overall win.
MX1 RACE 1
Thorpey (Dave Thorpe, former world champion and owner of Buildbase Honda) must have lit a match to his Buildbase Honda’s yesterday morning with both of his MX1 riders, Graeme Irwin and Kristian Whatley on fire right from gate drop. The home-soil hero, Irwin, led his teammate, Whatley, around turn one with Hitachi Revo Husqvarna’s Jake Nicholls, Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Tommy Searle and Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Shaun Simpson in tow.
The fans egged Irwin on as he pulled an impressive gap right off the bat, while Searle found his mojo on lap three and blitzed past Nicholls and Whatley for second. While Searle was looking good, his bike wasn’t showing the same signs of life as it started smoking like a chimney. Meanwhile Simpson struggled with his broken hand as he dug deep to keep Verde Sports KTM’s Brad Anderson as bay.
In a dramatic turn of events, Irwin landed in some ruts over the finish line jump, crashed, and snapped his handlebars. Searle then inherited the lead, but it wasn’t long before his Kawasaki locked up, as expected.
With both Irwin and Searle out, Nicholls who had passed a fading Whatley who was suffering from arm-pump, took over the lead and rode it home for an uber impressive first ever MX1 race win.
Amazingly, Anderson pulled the pin on his grenade on the last couple of laps and got both Simpson and Whatley for second. Whatley tried to respond but had to settle for third while Simpson couldn’t believe his luck with Searle DNF’ing and Irwin crashing out, he nursed his hand home for fourth ahead of MVR-D Fuel 10K Husqvarna’s Tanel Leok.
MX1 RACE TWO
The skies opened up for the final MX1 race, which was led on the opening lap, once again, by the local Graeme Irwin. The race 1 winner Jake Nicholls was hot on Irwin crossing the line on lap one with Tommy Searle all over him. Searle was fired up after his bike giving up on him in the first race, “It was something in the head of the bike,” Searle said about his mechanical failure, “I’ll probably just change the sprocket for race two.” He joked.
In good spirits, Searle launched pass Nicholls on the big tabletop and went after the fan favourite where he managed to get the job done on lap two. As Nicholls watched Searle drop the hammer, he felt he needed to do the same and a few turns later he managed to get Irwin for second. With 10 minutes to go, Irwin got hard on the gas and railed around the outside of Nicholls, showed him a wheel and pushed him wide at the following turn to take back second place.
Searle pulled himself a massive lead before crashing spectacularly right in front of pitlane. Fortunately, he had a comfy margin and didn’t lose the lead, only 10 seconds or so. Irwin and Nicholls didn’t have a lot of hassles after their battle for second. The same can’t be said for the battle for fourth.
With the race all but over, Shaun Simpson, Kristian Whatley and Brad Anderson all tossed fourth place about as the track developed some gnarly ruts and square edged bumps. It didn’t come easily, but Simpson put in a gritty performance for fourth, ahead of The Bulldog, Anderson, who rocketed up the inside of Whatley with two laps to go.
Due to Tommy Searle’s DNF in Race 1, Hitachi Revo Husqvarna’s Jake Nicholls topped the box for the first time in his career ahead of Verde Sport KTM’s Brad Anderson who landed on the second step, which is by far his best achievement this season. Shaun Simpson rounded off the podium with two fourth place finishes.
MX2 RACE ONE
Going in, Ireland’s own Buildbase Honda mounted Martin Barr led the MX2 championship by 6 points over Apico Husqvarna’s Steven Clarke, but it was Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Adam Sterry who stole their thunder in qualifying when he set the fastest time. Barr & Clarke trailed him, in that order too.
A morning blanketed with drizzle made for perfect track conditions when the gates dropped for race one although the continuous spitting of rain made vision a problem, roll-offs where a must.
Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s James Cottrell had definitely eaten his Weet-a-bix for breakfast and got off to a cracker of a start, while the red plate holder and fan favourite Martin Barr had a shocker when he got tangled with another rider.
The poleman, Sterry was around sixth out of turn one but shone on the red sand here in Desertmartin and it wasn’t long before he had taken over the lead and checked out for his first race win of the season.
Meanwhile, after being passed by Sterry, Apico Husqvarna’s Bryan MacKenzie found some nice lines in the opening laps and managed to pass Cottrell for second. Geartec Yamaha’s Michael Eccles did the same a lap later. Cottrell responded and used his newfound speed to battle Eccles for the most part of the race before making a big mistake, which lost him a good 10 seconds and two valuable places.
Things went from bad to worse for Cottrell in the final stage of the race when he crashed out, while Steven Clarke rebounded nicely from a shocker of a start.
The championship leaders, Clarke and Barr, put in two outstanding performances from way back to make the last two laps of the race nail biting. Fans were toppling over the fences showing support for Barr which urged Clarke to go hot up the inside of Eccles for third. Barr emerged from the back section of the track with half of a lap to go ahead of Eccles and all over Clarke for third. As a heart-breaking end to the race, with a handful of corners to go Barr got cross rutted jumping into the canyon and went down hard. Amazingly he got up quickly but couldn’t restart his bike. Eventually his Honda restarted and only managed to come home in seventh.
Capitalizing on Barr’s spill, SJP Moto Husqvarna’s Rob Davidson put in a solid ride for fifth, which was his best race finish this season.
MX2 RACE TWO
After a dramatic start to the day for Barr in Race 1, Clarke gained 6 points on him which meant the duo were tied on 128 points for the championship lead heading into race two.
When the gates slammed down on the red colored sand, both championship leaders were asleep on the gate with Clarke heading around turn one in tenth, while Barr was even worse off as he crossed the line outside of the top 20.
Instead it was Planet Advanced Racing KTM’s Brad Todd who looked like he was from another planet with his cat-like reactions off the gate that assisted him in claiming a massive holeshot over Apico Husqvarna’s Bryan MacKenzie and the race one winner Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Adam Sterry.
Sterry was cutting lap times 3 seconds a lap faster than anyone on track and he took the lead with ease and stabilized it. Bry-Mac managed to get Todd on lap two but both were in trouble with the new championship leader Apico Husqvarna’s Steven Clarke charging hard in fourth.
It didn’t take Clarke long to get Todd for third before he set his sights on his teammate MacKenzie for second. With 5 minutes to go Bry-Mac had a huge moment when he got cross rutted up the step up, cased it and was thrown about 120 degree’s sideways. Somehow, he landed it and rode off. It was amazing, and in addition he maintained his 7 second lead on his teammate.
As Sterry blitzed everyone for yet another win and his first overall victory, MacKenzie came home for second place ahead of his teammate Clarke, both Apico Husqvarna riders rounded off the podium in that order too. Todd controlled fourth ahead of Crescent SJ Hodder KTM’s Todd Kellett, with those top five finished being their best race results.
As for Buildbase Honda’s Martin Barr, he pulled out of the race on the first lap with his team saying that he injured his shoulder in his crash on the last lap of the first race. The red plate holder tried to race in the final race today, for the championship and for his fans but disappointingly didn’t have the strength.
Barr has fallen to third in the championship standings; he is now 20 points down on the new championship leader, Clarke, who leads his teammate, MacKenzie, by 13 points.
MXY2 RACE ONE
After a couple of false starts due to an issue with the gate, the race finally got underway with Carnegie Fuels LTD KTM’s Dylan Carnegie taking the holeshot ahead of David Galvin and the championship leader Holeshot Motocross’ James Carpenter. Carpenter has the red plate for a reason and made light work of Galvin and Carnegie to take the early lead.
As Carpenter started putting in some solid laps out front, Carl Nunn KTM’s George Grigg-Pettitt started chipping away at the leaders before crashing while challenging Galvin for second. Matthew Loughlin capitalized on GGP’s error and took over third while Grigg-Pettitt remounted in fourth.
In the latter stages of the race, Loughlin started to fade which allowed GGP to make an easy move for third, while two of the championship hotshots, RMJ Academy Husqvarna’s Dexter Douglas and P&H Motorcycles’ Michael Ellis had also made their way into the picture and took over fourth and fifth.
At the checkers it was James Carpenter who extended his championship lead while David Galvin put in an outstanding ride for second ahead of George Grigg-Pettitt, Dexter Douglas and Michael Ellis.
MXY2 RACE TWO
Local lad David Galvin nailed a mega holeshot ahead of the championship leader James Carpenter, George Grigg-Pettitt and Jack Bintcliffe. Once again, Carpenter wasted no time in nabbing the lead, which saw him run away for his third race win of the season.
David Galvin made a solid statement with his performance this weekend despite being wiped out by GGP in the final race. On lap three Galvin came around with his gear ripped to shreds, but he still managed to finish eighth, while GGP only finished thirteenth.
Henry Williams was penalized for jumping on waved yellow-flags in Race 1 but put a positive spin on his day with an impressive ride for second place in race two ahead of Dexter Douglas who is fast labelling himself a top-three guy. Team Green Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Dylan Woodcock made the best of a good start to finish fourth while P&H Motorcycles KTM’s Michael Ellis rounded out the top five.
After an action packed day, Holeshot Motocross’ James Carpenter was a cut above with his 1 – 1 result for the overall in MXY2. Meanwhile RMJ Academy Husqvarna’s Dexter Douglas landed on the second step with his 4 – 3 result ahead of the local lad David Galvin.