Even ‘storm Brian’ couldn’t stop the mighty Purbeck MXC from staging the 2017 AMCA Weymouth Beach Moto-cross! And, what a very successful event it was with a massive 340 riders, a large crowd watching all the action for FREE and the organising club able to hand over a cheque for a whooping £1,700 to the Weymouth and Portland Lions club. Then making it a perfect day for the Dorset community, Sam Sunderland, the Red Bull KTM star and winner of the 2017 Dakar Rally, took the big Experts class victory. Joining super Sam in the winner’s circle was Luke Wicks in the Juniors class and the very fast Harry Kimber in the Seniors.
So after ‘storm Brian’ had finally cleared the coastal town, the Purbeck club and it’s very happy band of volunteers went to work on Sunday morning and construct the Weymouth beach circuit. And once the high tide had receded, it was time for the 2017 race action to commence. Opening proceedings was a Juniors class stacked and with the entry full signs up. Leading the thunderous charge was Mark Morris ahead of Dalton Cook, Brad Armstrong, Harry Watson, Steve Taylor, Luke Wicks and Luke Sansome. By lap two, Wicks aboard his 450F Honda was up into 2nd and reeling in leader Morris. With so many riders all out on a relatively short track, it meant that the fast front end riders were quickly catching the backmarkers. However Wicks was to make very light work of that heavy traffic, eventually moving to the front on lap four. From here onwards, Wicks controlled all the way to the chequered flag finishing nearly 13 seconds clear of Sansome with Morris, James Harris, Cook, Armstrong and Watson the next best.
In Juniors moto two, Morris again made another superb start and thus lead the way with Wicks down in 6th. Just like the opening clash though, Wicks was quickly on the move up the leaderboard, slotting into 3rd on lap one then moving into pole position by lap three. Also on the move was Sansome, getting up into 2nd, a position he was to hold onto after seeing off a very determined Brad Armstrong. Having started down in 12th, Brad came right through to pass Sansome on lap five before dropping back down to 4th. So Juniors moto two was victory to Wicks from Sansome, Morris, Brad Armstrong, Cook, Paul Armstrong and Wright. Competing in this class was David Wright, riding in memory of his son who had been killed whilst serving the forces out in Afghanistan.
During the Seniors practice, young Harry Kimber had looked clearly the fastest rider on show but when moto one went into action, the Yamaha pilot rather surprisingly found himself down in 8th. Leading the blast was Chris Blackmore from Jack Hooper, Lloyd Nightingale, George Boyce, Luke Stephens and Harry Pritchard. But though by the completion of a very frantic opening lap, Kimber was already at the front and there he remained. In a fast, competitive contest, Kimber took the win incredibly nearly one full minute clear of runner-up Pritchard. After starting down in 11th, Bradley Rowland put in a super effort to get home in 3rd but the recovery of the race surely belonged to James Cole. In the early stages James was 32nd before eventually storming back to bag a great 4th with Alexander Harvey in 5th and Ross Millard 6th.
Rowland then led the opening lap of the second Seniors moto before Kimber moved through to take complete control. With Kimber in such super form, Rowland was to be the only other rider to finish on the same lap total of 10. Harvey after starting 18th got right up to take 3rd ahead of Giles Richards, Lewis Ranger and Luke Stephens.
Although the 2016 Weymouth Experts winner and local star rider Jake Shipton was missing with a shoulder ligament injury along with Tommy Alba(broken ribs) and Dan Thornhill(mechanical issues), the 2017 line-up still had some outstanding quality. With all eyes on Sam Sunderland, it was to be Welsh star Shane Carless who instead led the pack into the opening turn followed by Sunderland, Josh Waterman, Matt Ridgway, Ross Keyworth and Ben Harrison. By lap two, Red Bull KTM ace Sunderland was in control although initially he found Carless to be a very determined challenger. Eventually Sunderland did manage to break free and glide to the win from Carless in 2nd as Waterman took 3rd. This was to be the 2016 AMCA MX2 Champion Waterman’s very first outing on a brand new 450F KTM which had been run-in during the previous week by his brother Jack. As Ridgway took 4th from Joshua Bentley and Ben Franklin, the man on a serious mission was without doubt James Dodd. Starting right down in 30th, somehow the FUS Husqvarna ace came back in style and earn a great 7th.
What a fantastic race the second Experts clash was as Carless grabbed the holeshot to lead the way from Sunderland, Dodd, Waterman and Ridgway. In the next three laps, Sunderland, Careless again and Waterman all took turns to control proceedings before the moto appeared to finally settle down with Sunderland back at the front of the fast moving pack. However the very determined Waterman, Carless and Dodd refused to be beaten, staying right on the tail of Sam and indeed on lap nine Waterman blasted that new 450F KTM into the number one slot. Unfortunately though Josh’s moment of glory was to be rather short lived as his clutch cried enough leaving Sunderland to take the eventual win from Dodd, Carless, Bentley, Franklin and Ridgway.
Afterwards Weymouth winner Sunderland said, “I was really happy to comeback and race at Weymouth after having not been here for a while. It’s a cool event and good fun with quite a few good riders. The 2nd race was cool and had a right old ding-dong at the front for the win. I only live 30 minutes down the road at Poole so it’s fairly local for me. The last time I raced here was on a 125cc when I was only 15 years-old so yes I really enjoyed today.” Hopefully Sam will be back in 2018 to defend his title, the date for you diary is 28th October. Words and pics by Mike Wood.
Juniors Unlimited Sponsored by Caroline Racing (Top ten overall) 1 Luke Wicks(450F Honda) 120 points 2 Luke Sansome(250cc Husqvarna) 108 3 Mark Morris(450F Suzuki) 100 4 Brad Armstrong(350F KTM) 90 5 Dalton Cook(250F KTM) 90 6 James Harris(125cc KTM) 84 7 Brett Selby(450F KTM) 76 8 Matthew Harris(250cc Suzuki) 74 9 Paul Armstrong(300cc Husky Sport/Enduro Tyres.com Husqvarna) 70 10 Tommy Reeve(250cc Kawasaki) 68.
Seniors Unlimited 1 Harry Kimber(250F Yamaha) 120 points 2 Bradley Rowland(144cc KTM) 104 3 Alexander Harvey(450F Yamaha) 95 4 Lewis Ranger(150cc Husqvarna) 86 5 Ross Millard(250F Elevetech Ltd KTM) 78 6 Giles Richards(250F KTM) 72 7 Luke Stephens(250cc KTM) 70 8 Jack Cole(250cc KTM) 70 9 George Boyce(250F KTM) 68 10 Kyle Proctor(350F KTM) 66.
Experts Unlimited Sponsored by Poole Motorcycles 1 Sam Sunderland(450F Red Bull KTM) 120 points 2 Shane Carless(450F Marsh MX Honda) 104 3 James Dodd(450F FUS FRO CPS Husqvarna) 95 4 Joshua Bentley(450F KTM) 92 5 Matt Ridgway(450F TMC Kawasaki) 90 6 Ben Franklin(250F Husqvarna) 88 7 Corey Hockey(250cc KTM) 78 8 Lee Wren(300F KTM) 64 9 Brad King( 350F Wincanton Print/Dirtbike bitz/Midwest Husqvarna) 57 10 Henry Siddiqui(450F Yamaha) 55.