Thursday April 6, 2017 at 11:41am
Hitachi KTM UK’s Jake Nicholls and Ben Watson head to Cadders Hill, Lyng, this Sunday (April 9) for round two of the Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championship supported by Pro Clean carrying the MX1 and MX2 red series leaders’ plates.
At a tough opening round at Culham in March, after heavy overnight rain made conditions challenging, both riders remained unbeaten and they’ll be aiming to repeat their performances around the Norfolk circuit.
With defending MX1 champion Tommy Searle still recovering from knee surgery they are the only world championship regulars in the Lyng entry so Roger Magee’s pairing should enjoy an automatic advantage. Although neither rider has had a particularly good start to the GP season – after four rounds Nicholls sits 22nd in MXGP and Watson is 19th in MX2 – this extra competition at the highest level can only serve to increase their already super-fast pace.
The sandy Lyng circuit is mostly old-school with a very fast left/right flick at the start and can get notoriously rough as the day wears on. It’s also Nicholls’ home round and the technical nature suits his style.
Last year, while still recovering from injury, he finished fourth overall but with the top three from that day all absent he must start favourite this time around although the depth of talent in MX1 means he can’t afford to take anything for granted.
At Culham it was Graeme Irwin (Buildbase Honda) and Steven Lenoir (Hobbs Racing Kawasaki) who finished second and third and both should figure at the front at round two.
Irwin is still building after shoulder surgery in the off-season but he won the opening round of the Michelin MX Nationals and Lenoir, the 2015 Maxxis MX2 champ, will just get faster as he gels with his new machine after an early-season switch from KTM.
Two-time champ Brad Anderson (Verde Sports Racing KTM) was a close fourth at Culham and the aggressive North Easterner is well-known for getting faster as conditions get rougher and don’t discount Rob Davidson (SJP Moto Husqvarna) who is a big fan of Lyng.
Other front runners should include Elliott Banks-Browne (Geartec Husqvarna) whose Culham score was ruined by a race two DNF after finishing third in the opening moto and then there’s former champion Kristian Whatley (Apico Husqvarna) who hasn’t shown his best form so far this season.
If anything MX2 is even more of a lottery with Watson sure to be challenged by a handful of established stars and hungry young up-and-comers.
Martin Barr (Buildbase Honda) showed his fighting spirit with second in Culham’s final MX2 moto after finishing the first race almost blind when he was forced to discard his goggles. Whenever the tough Irishman gets behind the gate he has to be considered a threat for the win.
Harri Kullas (MVR-D Route 77 Husqvarna) doubled up at Culham to race both MX1 and MX2 classes and he’s doing the same at Lyng although MX2 is his main focus and his second overall at the opening round underlined his fitness and speed.
Brad Todd (Putoline Planet Suspension Husqvarna) took a debut Maxxis podium last time out and will be looking for more of the same but there’s a ton of young talent including Jake Millward (Verde Sports Racing KTM), Lewis Tombs (Lings Husqvarna), Josh Gilbert (DTHORC Honda) and Liam Knight (Hobbs Racing Kawasaki) who will all be threats.
And Mel Pocock (REVO Husqvarna UK) has to be considered a genuine podium contender after his MX Nationals overall win last Sunday.
Lyng will also feature round two of the MXY2 championship which is currently led by Lewis Hall (Team Green) from Keenan Hird (Craigs Kawasaki) and Jake Edey (Gear4 KTM).
Admission is £20 for adults and £5 for children with family tickets priced at £45. Practice starts at 9am with the first race in the six-moto programme at 11.55am.
The Cadders Hill track is located one mile north of the A1067 Norwich to Fakenham road and three miles from the A47 Norwich to King’s Lynn road. Postcode is NR9 5QZ.
Picture © Nuno Laranjeira