In what as been a very hectic start to the 2017 AMCA British Motocross Championship, riders go into battle yet again this Sunday, April 30th at round three. And, after two dry, hard tracks in Gloucestershire, conditions will also be very different this weekend on the soft, loamy soil which prevails at Lower Drayton, Penkridge in Staffordshire.
In a top quality MX1 class of this series powered by Datatag and supported by Dunlop, defending Champion Luke Burton aboard his FUS/FRO/CPS Husqvarna has made a supersonic start. In the six races completed so far, Burton has stylishly won five of the clashes, his only defeat coming during the final moto at Nympsfield when a rear-wheel issue forced him to settle for 3rd behind Gary Gibson and his FUS teammate James Dodd. Currently holding 2nd spot in the standings, Gibson twisted his knee at Nympsfield so could well be a non-starter this weekend. So the door may well be left open for Dodd, Shane Carless and John May, riders already prominent in some terrific racing at the front of the pack, to now move on up, overhaul Gibson and reel in Burton! In his debut MX1 season, Paul Neale on the TMC Kawasaki holds 6th in the Championship table with Ryan Crowder, Ashley Thomas, Andrew Smart and Luke Meredith despite a big, Nympsfield crash rounding out the early top ten. Looking to break into that bracket, there’s Ben Saunders, Adam Harris, Ben Hunt, Matt Ridgway, Dean Swift and Edward Briscoe all waiting to pounce.
After two rounds, just one point currently separates leader Luke Dean (SevenSeven2 Yamaha) and defending Champion Josh Waterman (JD Racing/IDS KTM) at the top of an ultra-competitive MX2 class. So far, Waterman(3), Dean(2) and Ray Rowson have bagged the moto wins but following an injury at Nympsfield, Rowson has slipped down to 10th in the standings and is set to miss this weekend’s action. Hot on the heels of the leading duo are a trio of fast, determined Kawasaki pilots, TMC teamsters Lewis King and Jansen Day along with DK Offroad ace Clinton Barrs. Next best in MX2 at present are Bradley Tranter, Jack Gardner, Luke Mellows and Jack Cox, all riders who are more than capable of claiming moto wins and podium spots themselves. Another threat in MX2 on Sunday could come from James Wainwright, a rider who generally performs very well at Lower Drayton.
Although Brad Turner(AMS IDS KTM) bossed the opening round of the 2T series with maximum points, a rather problematic round two means that he is now sitting in 2nd in the standings behind a very consistent Jason Kendrick. Third in the early table is Nympsfield overall winner Sam Smith. Already the 2T boys have produced full line-ups and plenty of stunning, fast racing. Currently filling the top ten Championship places are Tony Griffiths, Jordan Saunders, Bradley Doyle, Ashley Beniston, Shaun Buchan, Sean Eckersley and 2016 runner-up James Lane.
Making a very impressive start to his campaign, 2004 AMCA Champion James Russell (Premier Bikes KTM) currently leads the 2017 Vets series. After round one, Russell was level at the top on 164 points alongside Simon Lane and Terry House. However during round two, Russell then stamped his authority on proceedings by blasting to a superb maximum score. So going into this weekend’s action, Russell is now 22 points clear of Lane with House a further 4 points in arrears. Completing the Vets top ten after two rounds are Martin Atherton, Richard Chinn, Gary Jones, Stephen Elford, Brian Staples, Richard Vincent and Darren Bennett.
The Lower Drayton circuit can be found at Penkridge which just off junction 13 of the M6, postcode ST19 5RE with the action underway by 10.30am. Words and pic by Mike Wood.