Monday May 15, 2017 at 1:50pm
Ben Watson (Hitachi KTM UK) extended his MX2 series lead and Graeme Irwin (Buildbase Honda) grabbed the MX1 leader’s red plate at round four of the Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championship supported by Pro Clean at Hawkstone Park on Sunday.
Dry conditions leading into the event resulted in a track that didn’t cut up as badly as expected, shaving seconds off lap times as the country’s premier championship passed the halfway stage.
Opening round winner Watson, who’s seen his lead cut first at Lyng and then Canada Heights, hit his stride in the Shropshire sand and took full advantage of a mechanical problem suffered by Harri Kullas (MVR-D Route 77 Husqvarna) in the opening moto to extend his lead with the race win.
He was chased home by Martin Barr (Buildbase Honda) and Todd Kellett (St Blazey SJ Hodder Husqvarna) who took his first top-three finish at this level.
Watson’s Kiwi team-mate Josiah Natzke beat him into second in race two with Kullas coming home third with the overall going to Watson from Natzke and Barr.
In the championship Watson now leads Kullas by 30 points with Barr another 13 points adrift in third.
“It was a great day for me and it couldn’t have gone much better to be perfectly honest,” said Watson. “I went 1-2 which was consistent and it got me the overall and allowed me to extend my lead in the championship.
“Harri [Kullas] had a bike problem in the first race which put him out and I’ve come away with a 30-point lead. I was happy with my riding on the day but the track didn’t cut up as it normally does and wasn’t quite as technical as I hoped it was going to get but I can’t complain because I had a good day.
“I’m still taking it race-by-race. There’s a long way to go so my focus is on each weekend and I’m not thinking about the bigger picture.”
Up in MX1 Irwin was in dominant form, backing up his pole in quali with a 1-1 scorecard that lifts him four points ahead of Steven Lenoir (Hobbs Racing Kawasaki)
“That was a perfect day,” said Irwin. “It couldn’t have been any better apart from the fact that I got a bad start in the first race but other than that it was awesome. I qualified in pole, won both races, the bike was fantastic, I didn’t get stung by any bees – everything was sweet.
“The first moto I had to work really hard to get there. I didn’t have an easy race and got banged about but fought my way through and in the second race I got the holeshot and just checked out. A huge thanks to all my team and sponsors.
“Now I’m bringing the red plate home to Desertmartin. That’s going to be a proud moment for me.”
French favourite Lenoir, the leader heading into Hawkstone, ran 2-2 for second overall ahead of ironman Kullas – who doubled up in both classes – who went 3-4.
Gert Krestinov (Phoenix Tools Honda Racing) recovered from a crash-induced 13th in the opener to finish third in race two to maintain his third place in the championship.
The meeting also featured the second round of the ACU British Two-Stroke Championship where series leader Mike Kras (GL12 KTM) kept his unbeaten streak going with another pair of wins from Lewis Trickett (ASA Scaffolding Honda) who recorded a pair of runner-up finishes.
Neville Bradshaw (DB Racing Honda) – who also raced the MX2 class – was third overall with a 3-3 card.
Picture © Imagerich Media