Elliott Banks-Browne on his Geartec Husqvarna once again, with two pro MX1 race wins, climbed on to the top step of the winner’s podium at round three of this year’s Bridgestone British Masters at a blustery Preston Docks race track, writes Dick Law.
But while Banks-Browne was doing his thing in the pro MX1’s, the on-form Josh Gilbert from two average starts was cutting his way through the pack, past many of the 450s to win the pro MX2.
The pro riders where lucky as the showers of Saturday cleared for their two Sunday only races but a strong breeze kept spectators and marshals well wrapped up.
Ryan Houghton on his RHR Yamaha seems to have got his starts more or less sorted out as he led the first joint pro MX1 and MX2 race in to turn one with Banks-Browne snapping at his heals as the big 450 machines out powered the 250s up the uphill start straight.
It took three or four laps before Banks-Browne found away past the flying Houghton and in to the lead, but Houghton just didn’t lay down and let Banks-Browne have it as fought back, despite a misfire on his Yamaha, and kept the series leader honest and under some pressure right till the end of the race.
Ross Rutherford spent most of the race in third with Carlton Husband working his way up to fourth.
On the MX2 side of the race, Jay Hague on his JTL Kawasaki had got a flyer of a start and was in fourth on the track, but first MX2. But behind him Gilbert was on his way as he powered through the pack with incredible corner speed that helped his get in to second place in the MX2s and was closing down very fast on Hague.
With three laps to go Gilbert was on Hague’s tail and the pair came so close to crashing as they approached the table to it made the crowd gasp, and then again as the pair of fast rider came to the hairpin Gilbert went for the lead again but had to check up to avoid them both going down. This left Hague with a small advantage which he held to the finish flag for a well-deserved win. Brad Todd had a comparatively quiet race in third, from Ashton Dickinson and Robbie Dawson.
The start of the second pro race was almost a carbon copy of the first with Houghton leading Banks-Browne from Dan Thornhill on his Cab Screens Honda, but as the pack despaired around the first lap Hague was in a heap in turn one. He had gone down hard on his head, got his legs run over and had a knobbly tyre mark up his back. His back was the main concern but after some first aid attention he made his way back to the paddock under his own steam but was being taken to hospital for a check-up later by his family.
Meanwhile, Banks-Browne, once again found away past Houghton for the lead and his second win of the day by just over three seconds as Thornhill only just held off Gilbert for third on the track, but they were not racing for the same award.
Jamie Law was fourth MX1 home which made up for a disappointing first race when he suffered a mechanical, with Jordon Eccles fifth.
Once again Todd had a quiet race but crossed the line second MX2 with Dawson third. Overall it was Banks-Browne from Houghton, Thornhill and Rutherford in the MX1’s while in the MX2’s it was Gilbert from Todd, Dawson and Dickinson.
“It’s been a good day today,” said a happy Banks-Brown, “I had said I wasn’t going to make the long trip up here to Preston Docks again this year, but I changed my mind and it was worth it as I have really enjoyed myself. The track was really fast today and quite hard just under the surface. I got two reasonable starts and managed to get through and in to the lead fairly quickly. It was just about managing the lead then and only going as fast as necessary as like I said, it was really fast and could have caught you out so easily.”
A pleased Houghton said with a big smile: “I don’t know what happened today as I was on it out of the gate, for a change. Starts have always been my weakness but recently they have been getting better. Leading both races and not being used to it I got all tense and had arm pump, I need to relax more. I am used to doing the chasing, not being chased, but I will get used to it and today has been good training for next weekend at Desertmartin.”
Thornhill was happy in third as he has had two podiums in a week and said: “Third overall at the Patchquick and third here, that can’t be bad. I didn’t get the best of starts in the first race and it was like world war three berried in mid-pack. But I dug deep make a couple of mistake like most of the other riders around me were doing and made the best of it. I race two I got a good start and brought it home third in the race and a podium again.”
Gilbert from the top step of the podium said: “It’s been a really busy week this week, what with the French GP last weekend, the Patchquick Wednesday and now this, but it’s good to keep racing as It better for you than just practicing.”
A pleased Rutherford said about his third overall: “It’s my first podium this year and I really enjoyed it out there today. The track was very fast, and I did struggle a bit getting past some of the 450s, but it was the same for everyone and you just have to deal with it.”
With three wins and a third place Josh Bentley won the amateur MX1 by two points from race one winner Adam Wells and with Harry Wells a distant third.
The last race in the amateur MX2 was cancelled as the event run out of time when the air ambulance had to be called late in the day, but the three that were run couldn’t have been closer. Rob Yates with two second places and a win took the overall by just two points from race one winner Charlie Putnam with race two winner Callum Green just two behind Putnam and four off the win.
With two wins backed up by two second places Greg Fisher won the clubman class but a bad second race cost Mark Kingsley who won both of Sundays races, a chance of the overall. Peter Sargent was third.
Joel Rizzi dominated the 125cc two-strokes with three win and a second. Only third place man overall Dominic Lancett spoiled Rizzi clean sweep but winning the last race of the weekend as Sam Price with four strong rides separated the pair.
George Simmutch dominated the MXY2 with four unchallenged wins leaving Rosy Jones and Sam Ongley to fight over the other two podium positions.
Sam Atkinson won three out of his four big wheel 85 races and finished second in the other what was won by second overall man Buster Hart with Jude Morris third.
Ollie Colmer crushed the opposition in the small wheel 85s by winning all of his races and had a 12-point advantage over second place man Keelen Hope as James Barker finished on the last step of the podium.
With three wins and a third place Billy Askew won the junior 65s from McKenzie Marshall who didn’t finish out of the top three all weekend and race three winner Kelvin Kelly.
The next round in the series is at Hawkstone Park on July 21-22.
1 Elliott Banks-Browne 45 + 45 = 90
2 Ryan Houghton 43 + 43 = 86
3 Dan Thornhill 35 + 41 = 76
4 Ross Rutherford 41 + 35 = 76
5 Carlton Husband 39 + 33 = 72
6 Jordon Eccles 33 + 37 = 70
1 Josh Gilbert 43 + 45 = 88
2 Brad Todd 41 + 43 = 84
3 Robbie Dawson 37 + 41 = 78
4 Ashton Dickinson 37 + 41 = 78
5 Rossi Beard 39 + 39 = 72
6 Jake Preston 33 + 34 = 67
1 Josh Bentley 41 + 45 + 45 + 45 = 176
2 Adam Wells 45 + 43 + 43 + 43 = 174
3 Harry Bradley 43 + 41 + 39 + 37 = 160
4 Ryan Brace 37 + 39 + 37 + 34 = 147
5 Dan Whitehead 34 + 37 + 31 + 39 = 141
6 Alan Pearce 33 + 29 + 33 + 35 = 130
1 Rob Yates 43 + 43 + 45 = 131
2 Charlie Putnam 45 + 41 + 43 = 129
3 Callum Green 41 + 45 + 41 = 127
4 Aaron Ongley 39 + 39 + 39 = 117
5 Josh Canton 35 + 34 + 37 = 106
6 Mitchell Warhurst 32 + 35 + 34 = 101
1 Greg Fisher 45 + 45 + 43 + 43 = 176
2 Mark Kingsley 43 + 35 + 45 + 45 = 168
3 Peter Sargent 37 + 41 + 39 + 41 = 158
4 Josh Watson-Bailey 35 + 43 + 41 + 37 = 156
5 Jason Queenan 39 + 39 + 35 + 39 = 152
6 Craig Barrow 31 + 37 + 32 + 35 = 135
1 Joel Rizzi 45 + 45 + 45 + 43 = 178
2 Sam Price 43 + 43 + 41 + 39 = 166
3 Dominic Lancett 37 + 34 + 39 + 45 = 155
4 Dylan Spencer 39 + 37 + 37 + 41 = 154
5 Cullen Scott 34 + 39 + 43 + 37 = 153
6 Troy Willerton 41 + 41 + 35 + 35 = 152
1 George Simmutch 45 + 45 + 45 + 45 = 180
2 Rory Jones 43 + 41 + 41 + 43 = 168
3 Sam Ongley 41 + 37 + 43 + 41 = 162
4 Aaron Patstone 39 + 39 + 39 + 39 = 156
5 Todd Leadbitter 32 + 43 + 37 + 35 = 147
6 Kurt Griffiths 35 + 35 + 30 + 37 = 137
Big wheel 85:
1 Sam Atkinson 45 + 45 + 43 + 45 = 178
2 Buster Hart 43 + 37 + 45 + 43 = 168
3 Jude Morris 41 + 43 + 41 + 37 = 162
4 Harvey Cashmere 39 + 41 + 39 + 41 = 160
5 Callum Baldwin 34 + 39 + 37 + 39 = 149
6 Jack Reybould 35 + 33 + 35 + 34 = 136
Small wheel 85:
1 Ollie Colmer 45 + 45 + 45 + 45 = 180
2 Keelan Hope 43 + 39 + 43 + 43 = 168
3 James Barker 41 + 37 + 41 + 37 = 156
4 Charlie Raynolds 39 + 35 + 35 + 41 = 150
5 Braydon Ferguson 31 + 43 + 39 + 34 = 147
6 Arai Ellcock 28 + 41 + 30 + 39 = 138
1 Billy Askew 45 + 45 + 41 + 45 = 176
2 McKenzie Marshall 43 + 43 + 43 + 43 = 172
3 Kelvin Kelly 41 + 41 + 45 + 41 = 168
4 Will Haddock 39 + 39 + 31 + 39 = 148
5 Ryan Waggot 35 + 37 + 39 + 37 = 148
6 Brandon Buckley 37 + 33 + 37 + 35 = 142