The Eastern Centre adult motocross season kicked off on Sunday at the Halstead club's meeting at the revamped Wakes Colne circuit in Essex. The Halstead crew had worked hard over the Winter months, and despite a chilly dry day, the circuit was in prime condition for racing. The meeting was in honour of the late Graham "Chick" Garrod, who did so much for not only the Halstead club, but for offroad events throughout East Anglia.
The twelve race programme included three groups of allcomers, plus round one of the popular NGR over 30's championship, and after timed practice, the allcomers C group featured in race one, racing for the Graham Garrod memorial trophy. The first recipient of this new trophy was won by Lewis Dorling, with Vince Pryke in second place, followed by Gareth Robertson, who, despite crashing twice, still managed third place. Dorling won the other two moto's for the overall win, and Robertson's two second places, plus a third place finish, gave him second overall, from Pryke and lady racer, Geogia Patterson.
The group B races were dominated by Jordan Edwards, who won all three races with ease. Suffolk's Shane Brown claimed second overall, with Joshua Fullalove third, ahead of Surrey visitor, Roger Frean.
Group A saw the expert grade riders mixing it with the fastest juniors from timed practise, and Halstead club rider, Lewis Tombs, riding for the Buildbase Honda team as a replacement for the injured Jake Nicholls, was in great form, winning all three moto's. 2018 Eastern champion, Shaun Southgate actually led the first race for a couple of laps, until Tombs took over, and from then on, he was always in charge. Southgate was second in each race, and Norfolk's Declan Whittle raced to three third places. Behind the leaders, several young riders were thrilling the crowd with some closely fought battles, which included Harry Clark, Reece Martin, Rheis Morter, Josh Peters and Daniel Patterson.
With half a dozen former experts contesting the NGR championship this year, racing was hotly contested in all three legs, and provided the crowd with the closest racing of the day. Race one saw Matt French leading, with Will Kerry, Liam Walker and veteran Paul Bennett fighting over second place. John Hinz was battling with Mark Hunt on the first two laps for sixth place, but moved up to fourth with three laps remaining. Bennett then fell, letting Hinz into third place, then, on the last lap, he made his move, brilliantly passing Kerry and French to snatch the win.
Race two saw Kerry at the front until Hinz took over, only for the race to be stopped after a fallen rider had blocked the track. Chris Thorpe led the rerun with French and Kerry chasing hard, but it was Mark Hunt who was on a charge, and with two laps remaining, snatched second place behind Thorpe. French held onto third place, followed by Kerry, Hinz, and former champion, Liam Walker.
The third and final leg saw yet another winner. Kerry stormed to the front and although French, Thorpe and Hunt were all involved in a tight four-way battle for the lead, it was Kerry who took the win, and the overall on the day. Hunt fought hard again to claim second place, ahead of Thorpe, Hinz, and a tiring Matt French. Results.
Allcomers Group A overall.
1st Lewis Tombs Honda, 2nd Shaun Southgate Honda, 3rd Declan Whittle Husqvarna, 4th Ben Cole Husqvarna, 5th Adam Day Husqvarna, 6th Harry Clark KTM.
Allcomers group B overall.
1st Jordan Edwards Suzuki, 2nd Shane Brown KTM, 3rd Joshua Fullalove KTM, 4th Roger Frean Yamaha, 5th Edward Pegram Husqvarna, 6th Ross Young Honda
Allcomers group C Graham Garrod trophy overall
1st Lewis Dorling Yamaha, 2nd Gareth Robertson KTM,3rd Vince Pryke Husqvarna, 4th Georgia Patterson Honda, 5th Jason Turner Yamaha, 6th Liam Parker KTM
Round one NGR over 30's championship overall.
1st Will Kerry Husqvarna, 2nd Chris Thorpe KTM, 3rd Mark Hunt Husqvarna, 4th John Hinz Honda, 5th Matt French KTM, 6th Liam Walker KTM
Photos by Paul Harding-Payne