Shaun Simpson proved he’s still the master of the mire by Beating his title rival Tommy Searle in the wet and rutted conditions at FatCat, the opening round of the 2019 Maxxis British championship.
But there was a surprise new face on the podium as Honda’s new boy Lewis Tombs took the CRF450 to his first ever podium finish in his first Maxxis championship ride on the bike in the MX1 class.
And in the MX2 series, it was Bas Vaessen who stole the overall from his KTM team-mate Conrad Mewse. British MX2 champ Mewse won the opener with Vaessen right behind him, but the positions were reversed second time out. That gave Vaessen the nod for the overall, although both tied on points. Third overall went to Revo Husqvarna’s MX2 GP rider Alvin Ostland with his team-mate Dylan Walsh fourth.
Scotsman Simpson, who dislocated his shoulder three weeks ago, was on form right from the start of the day when he fastest in the rain-hit qualifying. He took his RFX KTM to a start-to-finish win in the MX1 opener despite an off-track excursion when he almost crashed trying to avoid a backmarker.
He was chased hard in the early stages of the race by Cab Screen Honda man Harri Kullas, who eventually couldn’t keep up with Simpson and settled for a safe second.
Searle fought through from a sluggish start to take a well deserved third place. Searle rounded the first lap in eighth place then worked his way through the field to take third, but he was a long way behind Kullas.
Mel Pocock took his KTM to a good fourth place and looked comfortable in the tricky conditions.
Behind him was Tombs, the man who only snared the Buildbase Honda MX1 ride two weeks ago and had only ridden the bike a handful of times before the event. He had gated second but didn’t have the pace to challenge the leaders. The MX1 rookie admitted the pressure got to him, but he still brought it home in a brilliant fifth, in front of Brad Todd, Jake Shipton and hardcore hero Brad Anderson on the 250 two-stroke. Ando was obviously showing no ill effects from his recent Hawkstone spill where he badly damaged his face. Ando ran out of fuel in both races but still was credited with finishes.
Second time out and it looked like it was going to be a repeat of the first moto when Simpson caught up to holeshot man Jake Millward and made his way through to the lead after getting by Kullas.
But then Kullas went out with a sick Honda, and Pocock also retired with a machine problem. That left fast-starting Tombs in a solid third place.
Searle worked his way up from fifth place on the opening lap and managed to get by Tombs on the third lap, then set off in pursuit of Chambers Husky rider Millward. It only took the BOS GP man two laps to get by, and into second place although Simpson already had a decent lead.
When Simpson made a mistake and went off the track, Searle capitalised and shot through into the lead which he held to the end. Simpson remounted in third and soon demoted Millward again, who held on for third at the flag from Tombs and Yamaha’s Ryan Houghton whose steaming bike was lucky to finish.
The MX2 racing showed the real class of the GP men as they dominated the top four overall spots, much to the disappointment of last year’s championship runner-up Josh Gilbert who took sixth overall behind Yamahas Martin Barr.
The opening moto was headed by sand specialist Ashton Dickinson who looked strong at the front in the early stages, holding the lead until lap three when he made a mistake and dropped down to fifth.
Vaessen took control at the front, with his team-mate Mewse on his tail. The pair had a good scrap at the front for the lead, with Mewse finally taking the front spot at just before half distance as Vaessen briefly slipped off. Vaessen was quickly up then watched and learned from Mewse’s lines and reeled him in, but couldn’t get by and took second.
In the early stages of the race, it was Brits Gilbert and Barr who looked like they might take third, but fast-starting Gilbert had a crash over a jump few were attempting to double. He got back on, his hands covered in mud, and took seventh place.
That left Barr in third but he had no answer for Ostland who had worked his way up from a poor start to take third place away. Barr took fourth from Walsh, who chased him over the line.
The second moto saw Gilbert push his Buildbase Honda to a clean holeshot and he led the pack from Vaessen, Liam Knight, Michael Ellis and Ostlund while Mewse was outside the top ten.
KTM man Vaessen managed to take the lead on the second lap while Mewse began his relentless charge through the field and entering the second lap he was already fifth.
All eyes were on the champ as he picked off his rivals one by one and started to charge after his team-mate at the front. But eventually time ran out and he had t take second, which gave him the same points as Vaessen but the Dutchman got the overall nod on his better second race finish.
It was the Husky show in third and fourth as Ostland lead his Kiwi team-mate Walsh over the line. And that’s how they would finish overall. Gilbert took a solid fifth from Barr and Alexander Brown.
The MXY2 race was a show of dominance by two-stroke expert Joel Rizzi who won both motos after catching and passing Verde KTM’s Dominic Lancett who holeshot both motos.
Lancett was second overall with second then third place finishes, while Kyle McNicol took the final podium place thanks to a third then fourth place finishes. Max Ingham chased Rizzi over the line in the second moto, but his 13th in the first race meant he was only fifth overall, behind Ike Carter.
MX1 Race one:
MX1 Race two:
MX2 Race one:
MX2 Race two: