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Shipton takes the double as Irwin claims the crown

Friday August 19, 2016 at 10:38am
Shipton takes the double as Irwin claims the crown
Round five of this year’s Michelin MX Nationals travelled to Essex and the historic Wakes Colne venue, scene of many a British championship rounds in days gone by.

Working hand in hand with the Halstead club the MX Nationals squad turned the tired looking track into a modern circuit fit for a championship round or any series by grading, re-facing and reshaping the jumps and just doing mundane things like cutting the grass.

Gallons and gallons of water were hosed on to the racing surface to make it safe for racing as we have had no rain for weeks and weeks.

Pro MX1 series leader, Graeme Irwin (Buildbase Honda) had crashed a week before the event at another championship series and had broken his thumb but was going to try and race, broken thumb and all.

“After braking my thumb in a crash at the masters last weekend I came here with damage limitation in mind” said the smiling Irwin, “But with Gert (Krestinov) out with a neck injury and with Elliot (Banks-Brown) going out of the first race after a big crash I finished third and that was enough to sew up the championship a round early as I now have a fifty-eight-point lead with just fifty points up for grabs. I would have liked to have gone out in the second race but we have the next round of the Maxxis coming up next week and I need to rest my hand to give me the best chance at that championship”

There was a new face on the top step of the pro MX1 podium this round as the young Jake Shipton (Crescent KTM) won both races with Brad Anderson (Verde KTM) pushing him all the way, while in the pro MX2’s once again Martin Bar (Buildbase Honda) kept his 100% overall record going by winning that class but he didn’t have it all his own way as Brad Todd (Planet Husqvarna) won his first pro race in moto two.

Irwin got the holeshot at the start of the first combined pro MX1 and MX2 race with Shipton, Brad Anderson (Verde KTM) and Elliott Banks-Browne (Geartec Yamaha) in his wheel tracks and the first of the MX2’s, local chap Lewis Tombs (Geartec Yamaha) sixth and with Barr back in twelfth place with a lot of work to do.

On lap two Shipton passed Irwin for the lead as fastest in qualifying, Banks-Browne found a way past Anderson for third and started to close in on Irwin fast.

Tombs was pushing Dan Thornhill (Cab Screens Husqvarna) from the very start and snatched fifth place from him later in the lap with James Harrison (Cab Screens Husqvarna) following Tombs through a lap later.

It all went wrong for Banks-Browne on lap six when scrubbing over the jump at the bottom of the track he lost control and sent his Yamaha cartwheeling down the track braking his handlebars on the way.

He was seen out by the first aid team and was taken to hospital to be checked out saying he would be OK as he left the circuit.

At the halfway stage Anderson took second place from the suffering Irwin as Liam Knight (Dyer and Butler KTM) and Harrison fought over forth on the track, something that would make no difference to the results as they were in different classes.

All this time Barr was coming and climbing his was up the leader board and with three laps to go he passed Knight for the MX2 win, from Knight, Tombs and Todd, while in the MX1 side of things it was Shipton from Anderson and the new champ Irwin with Harrison seventh on the track, but fourth in class.

Anderson lead Shipton, Liam Garland (MBO Sport KTM), Harrison, Tombs and Josh Gilbert (St Blazey Husqvarna) round the opening lap of a shortened pro race two after an incident the race before that took a while to sort out, but by the end of lap two Shipton was in the lead and getting the flow.
Anderson came back at Shipton a couple of times in the next lap as Harrison pushed Garland back to fourth place on the track.

Todd was the first of the MX2’s in fifth but he had Tombs, Gilbert, Barr and Carlton Husband (Phoenix Honda) all lining up behind him.

For the rest of the race as the shadows lengthened the top four became spaced out with the only movement came from Barr coming up to fifth, taking Tombs with him and Garland slipping back to seventh place.

Shipton crossed the finish line almost eleven seconds clear of Anderson with Harrison fourth from Garland, Josh Spinks (Heads and All Threads Suzuki) and Thornhill while in the MX2’s it was Todd from Barr, Tombs, Gilbert and Husband.

“What a great day” said Shipton with a big smile on his face, “I had trained very hard over last winter and blew my knee out before the first round so that why I wasn’t there. But it’s a really good championship as you get to race with a lot of the top guys like Brad and Graeme. It’s my first win so I don’t really know what to say about it as I am so overwhelmed, its just sinking in. And I overtook Brad Anderson and that’s no mean feat, though I must admit I was a bit scared when I heard his bike behind me”

Anderson was reasonably happy with his second overall and said, “Second overall is OK, but you know me I always want to win. In the last race with the sun getting low and with some deep shadows the track was becoming a bit naughty. I got a good start in the second race but Jake (Shipton) was really on it today and going fast so second overall and going home safe and unhurt is good”

While Harrison who was happy with a change from sand tracks added, “I really like this sort of track and was looking forward to coming here to race. They have done a brilliant job of the track considering how dry it’s been in the last couple of months. I just tried to keep up a good pace, stay consistent and keep it on two wheels which I managed for a third overall”

Barr was happy with his performance and said, “It’s not been a bad day today. I was quickest MX2 in qualifying this morning so that set me up well but in the first race I didn’t get such a good start as the first corner was quite wet and caught a lot of people out, and I nearly went down as well. I was about sixth MX2 at the end of the first lap and I could see the two riders in front of me and picked them off when I could. I passed Liam Knight with a couple of laps to go for the win. I got a good start in race two but lots of riders cut the first turn and when they re-joined it I think it was Josh Spinks that got taken out and his bike was there in front of me and I couldn’t make the turn and lost loads of positions. I had my work cut out then and with the race being shortened because of the delayed start I had to put the hammer down and get up to second place before the end. I still got the overall and I have kept that streak running”

Over the moon with his first pro MX2 race win and second overall, Todd said, “It’s great to get my first race win of the championship but it wasn’t easy. I didn’t get such a good start and came from the back but in race two I was second going into turn one and got in to the MX2 lead quite quickly, but I started to worry halfway through the race as the rear tyre went down which strangely gripped better in places. It’s given me a lot of confidence which I want to carry on to next weekend at the Maxxis at Preston”

Halsted club member Tombs was third overall but was disappointed the gap between his second place and Barr lead had opened up a bit more and said, “It’s been an OK day for me. I couldn’t get a good feel for the track in qualifying and that sort of messed my day up a bit. I was leading the first race and seemed to lose the plot halfway through the race and dropped back a bit. I seemed to do the same thing in race two as well and ended up with two thirds, and third overall. I now need to put that behind me and concentrate on getting ready for the Maxxis at Preston next weekend”
The Bell expert MX1 cup brought out some of the closest racing of the weekend as Brad Woodrolfe and Luke Parker (Herts MX Honda) tied on points at the top of the score sheets but with only one race win between them.

Races one and two on Saturday went the way of Brad Cavill (KTM) with Woodrolfe chasing him over the line in the first race and with Parker doing the same in the second as the on form Shaun Southgate (Hurts MX Honda) struggled with a problem in race one where he dropped from second at the halfway stage to fourteenth by the end of the race and one lap down for just four points.
It all changed around on Sunday as Parker and Southgate shared the win’s Cavill had a DNF in race three and a fourth place in the last race of their weekend.

So overall it was Woodrolfe the winner from Parker, Southgate and Cavill, but in the championship its now Parker the new leader by ten from Southgate with Cavill dropping to third place.
Luke Mellows (FUS Moto 4 Husqvarna) won the Fly expert MX2’s with a win and two second places but nearly lost the overall in his third race when after getting the holeshot he slipped down to sixth place by the end of the race.

Race four winner Henry Williams (RFX KTM) had trouble in race two where a bad start made him fight his way from thirteenth place at the start to finish in sixth but that was enough with his other results for second overall with race one winner Adam Wells (Yamaha) third.

Williams still leads the championship by a slightly smaller amount from Wells and Mallows.
Jamie Carpenter (Holeshot KTM) had his weekend in the MXY2’s just get better and better as on Saturday he scored a third and a second but on Sunday he went two, one for first overall while Taylor Hanmell (Dyer and Butler KTM) slipped off while in the lead of race one and dropped to seventh place.

He recovered to fourth and backed that up with a win and two second places for the number two spot on the podium but won the 125 two-stroke part of the event.

Michael Ellis (P&H KTM) despite winning race three was third overall but still has a forty-three-point lead in the championship from Hanmell and Carpenter.

Adam Collings was the man to beat in the big wheel 85’s as he finished second in the first race and went on to win all the rest as all the other riders seemed to struggle with consistency.

Rossi Beard (DC Racing KTM) was involved in a close race with Lewis Hall (Team Green Kawasaki) in race one and ended the race in fourth place which set him on the road to second overall with race one winner Joel Rizzi (RFX KTM) third overall.

But Rizzi still leads the championship by eighty-three from Beard and Sam Nunn (GMX KTM)
Once again Ike Carter (MBO Power Husqvarna) won all the small wheel 85’s but things didn’t go so well for the team as Carter’s two race bikes were stolen out of the back of the team van while it was parked outside a local hotel on Saturday night.

The team did an overnight run back to their depot to pick up a couple of bikes not being used by another of the team’s riders who is out injured for Carter to ride Sunday.

Bobby Bruce (KTM) followed Carter home in three out of the four races and combined with a third in the last race gave him second overall with Louie Kessell (St Blazey KTM) third.

Jake Thompson won two of the four clubman races and backed that up with a second and a third for the overall win with Josh Canton second, but in third place overall was Heads and All Threads Suzuki manager Neil Prince who showed he has lost none of his style but maybe he lost a bit of his youthful fitness.

Report by Dick Law

Photos by Elliot Spencer

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