Going into Sunday’s final round of the 2018 AMCA British Motocross Championship at Long Lane, Shropshire, it was Josh Waterman(MX1), Luke Burton(MX2), Richard Cannings(2T), Simon Lane(Vets) and Joseph Brookes(Youth) leading the race to the titles. Producing very composed and calculated performances all of the above lads were to then safely negotiate this potential banana skin to thus proudly be crowned the Kings of the very popular AMCA series powered by Datatag and supported by Dunlop. Well done all you 2018 Champions!
In what as been a truly memorable week for IDS KTM ace Josh Waterman, the Gloucestershire based rider got the title ball rolling in this Wrekin MXC promoted event. Just seven days after claiming the IMBA European MX1 Championship in Switzerland, Josh comfortably added the AMCA title to his honours list at Long Lane. On a circuit in prime condition, he started the day with a 2nd place meaning that with his closest rival Shane Carless down in 5th he then required just a further 8 points to earn that British crown in this his maiden season on the 450F. Getting the job done with little fuss and also ensuring he avoided any potential clashes, Josh got home in a very safe 7th before finishing the day with another 2nd.
Although it was Josh taking the title and the rightful glory there was though no doubt who was the MX1 star in this final round! Gary Gibson on the very fast LDR TMC Kawasaki scorched to three big moto wins, a massive result which hauled him from 5th in the standings up into 3rd and thus pinch the bronze medal position in the Championship table. Also enjoying this finale were Luke Mellows and Luke Meredith, recording their best finishes of the season. Super fit Mellows went 4/2/5 for a very popular podium place in 3rd overall whilst Meredith was 4th overall and led the opening moto of the day for five laps. Afterwards the IMBA and AMCA MX1 Champion Waterman joked that he was looking forward to some fast food on the way home instead of the salad diet endured throughout a busy season. He also commented “What an amazing year it has been! I was on the podium in every round of the AMCA Champs and the series as been full of hard racing. It’s so nice to do the double and I want to thank everyone who has made this all possible.”
Aboard a Marsh MX Husqvarna, MX2 series leader Luke Burton went into Sunday’s event holding a very healthy 115 point advantage at the top of proceedings. Totally focussed on the job in hand, Burton then confirmed his fifth AMCA title by winning the opening moto at Long Lane. And Luke had to do it the hard way, gating 11th he moved quickly through to take control on lap three, overhauling both Clinton Barrs and Jack Gardner who had earlier led the contest. In moto two, Barrs again grabbed the holeshot to take control with on this occasion Burton coming through from 15th for the win. Gardner who has enjoyed a very profitable season and the very impressive youngster Henry Williams controlled the last MX2 moto of the campaign before the Champion Burton relieved them of their duties! So on the Long Lane podium it was Burton finishing with another maximum points haul and taking the top step from Williams and Barrs, both full value for their respective 2nd and 3rd places. Starting the day as Burton’s closest rival, Lewis King had to settle for 4th overall on the day but still maintained the series silver medal spot as Gardner took bronze. In getting that fifth crown in the bag, Burton said, “This has been an awesome AMCA series yet again with all of the organising clubs doing a great job. I am really buzzing after picking up another title but it would not be possible without the help from all my sponsors and the support of family and friends.”
With 84 points separating 2T leader Richard Cannings (M & S Brettle Yamaha) and Sean Eckersley this title race was still very much on. However whilst the day was then to go very much to plan for Cannings, his rival Eckersley did not enjoy the best of fortunes! As Cannings romped to a moto one victory, Eckersley’s day started with a rear wheel puncture and a 29th place finish! That result meant that Cannings was confirmed as Champion and the pressure was off. Whilst the fast Yorkshireman then also took the remaining two moto wins and thus sign off in style, the day did not get much better for the unlucky Eckersley. Crashing in moto two, Sean bravely recovered back to 6th before finishing with a strong 2nd. On the day it was Cannings, Mark Young and Ashley Benniston filling the podium places whilst Eckersley and Bradley Doyle took the Championship medal positions behind Cannings.
In the separately scored 2T MX2 class, Adam Hill had already secured the gold medal, also finishing a fine 7th in the main 2T table. Afterwards Champion Cannings announced that he would be moving into the 2019 MX2 class on his 250cc Yamaha also saying “It’s been a great season for me and the team. We all pulled together and achieved what I decided to aim for way back last November. The AMCA Championship as been a good series and with good tracks.” So with Cannings moving on watch out next year for the likes of fast Mark Young and Harry Linton. Young who despite missing the opening two rounds and a potential 360 points still took 8th in the 2018 standings!
Holding a big 138 point advantage going into Sunday’s finale, Simon Lane on the JSR Honda wrapped up his second AMCA Vets title with a moto one victory ahead of Gary Jones, Sean Smith, Matt Gordon, Colin Conduit and Brian Staples. In the remaining Vets moto’s, Lane checked out in style with a brace of wins although he was pushed all the way by a very determined Smith, the eventual series runner-up. Jones was 3rd overall on the day and in the standings but what about the man in 4th place, Mr Colin Conduit! All season, Colin has campaigned a 144cc Yamaha and despite going head to head with an whole array of fast four-stroke models which had an obvious power advantage, he has always been right in the mix at the front end of proceedings, a great effort! Also enjoying a memorable season was Brian Staples on the Redline Honda, securing his 4th consecutive title in the separately scored Vets Over 50 class.
On winning the main title, Simon Lane was quick to show appreciation for his parents support, “ This title was special for me as both my parents are now in their 70’s and they are the ones that started all this going many years ago but are still here to support me. I have really enjoyed this season, the competition is tough and I think the AMCA Championship is getting stronger every year. After two fantastic seasons with JSR Honda it’s time to move on and I will be leaving now to start my own team alongside my brother James . I want to wish JSR all the best for the future.”
Mathematically the tightest conclusion to any of the AMCA title races looked to be in the new Youth 85cc/150cc contest. Travelling to Long Lane, just 28 points separated Joseph Brookes (Nationwide Signs KTM) and Charlie Palmer (LDR TMC Kawasaki). All season long these talented youngsters have rather dominated at the front end of proceedings but who would prove victorious in this crucial decider? Well top honours and the title was to go to Brookes who finished the series with a classy maximum score. Confirming his eventual and richly deserved bronze medal position, Matt Tolley took 2nd on the day from Palmer, Yarin Evans, Harry Ridgway and Joshua Main.
So that’s a wrap for 2018 and the AMCA have already announced that the 2019 series will be extended to a ten round competition. With the annual rumour mill already rolling as everyone speculates on who’s riding what and in which class next year, it’s certainly going to be an interesting AMCA Winter! Report and pics by Mike Wood.