With 20 riders registered including the two fastest ladies in the UK at the moment, Chelsea Gowland and Bethany Farmer along with a host of up and coming girls ready to take them on, it was time to go racing for the title of British Womens Motocross Champion at the Norley track, promoted by the Clwyd and Chester Club.
The Championship is sponsored by Leicester company Westermans International Ltd who were in attendance to present the trophies and have put up prize money for the top three at the end of the year with £1000 for 1st, £500 for 2nd and £250 for 3rd. BelRay oils sponsor the holeshot prizes for each race and Duck Smart for the registration gifts along with SIS energy supplements.
With six 15 minute plus one lap races over the two days, there was plenty of anticipation to see how this was going to shape up particularly on the rough, hard sand surface of the Norley track. Race 1 set the cat among the pigeons when Championship favourite Chelsea Gowland, Honda, fell on the first corner giving Beth Farmer, KTM, the BelRay holeshot prize and the lead. This was an unexpected start but Chelsea was not to be put off, she pulled out all the stops to work her way through the pack and chase for the lead but Beth was too far in front. Maybe it was the occasion or the pressure but Beth made two unforced errors and with a lap to go Chelsea was right on Beth’s tail and eventually pushed through to take an unexpected win. There were great battles behind them with Catherine King, Husqvarna, having a great battle with Georgia Ithell, KTM 125, for 3rd and 4th with Rhianne Barker, Yamaha, and rising star Leonni Tighe, Kawasaki, pushing her hard for 6th place.
Race 2 was another exciting race setting the scene for the rest of the championship with close racing all through the field and new riders being able to show their full potential. Chelsea this time had a faultless rider taking the BelRay holeshot chased by Beth Farmer throughout the race, but the big surprise was the fiercely determined 16 year old Leonni Tighe, we knew she was quick but she forced her way out of the King sandwich. For most of the race Millie King, Husqvarna, held off Leonni while she held off sister Catherine King but her determination saw her take Millie in the closing stages to take a well earned 3rd place. 6th place was taking by another rising star Charlotte Hall, with Georgia Ithell pushing her hard in a close battle for 7th.
Race 3 and again Chelsea took the BelRay holeshot prize this time the young Leonni Tighe was close to stealing it off her. Now running in second Leonni pushed as hard as she could but was quickly taken by Beth Farmer who gave chase to Chelsea, in turn Leonni did her best to keep with Beth but the pace was just a little too quick, in turn Georgia Ithell was chasing as hard as she could to keep with Leonni finishing in another 4th place to Leonni’s second 3rd place of the day. Catherine King followed with Rhianne Barker back up there for 6th place.
The second day saw conditions change with the overnight rain and drizzle on and off throughout the day. Race 4 saw the places change again showing how close and exciting the racing was with Catherine King taking her turn to take the BelRay holeshot prize, she was quickly taken by the on form Chelsea Gowland but the battle for second was going to be a hot one, Beth Farmer was struggling and made a mistake too many and struggled to gain ground leaving Catherine King to battle it out with the exciting Leonni Tighe. This was an exciting battle but the determination of Leonni gave her a well deserved second place just beating Catherine some close racing. Beth Farmer eventually picked off Catherine but couldn’t catch Leonni, settling for 3rd place while Catherine just finished ahead of her sister Millie with Charlotte Hall finishing in 6th place.
Race 5 and it looked like Chelsea was going to again pull away a big lead after taking the BelRay holeshot, but uncharacteristically she made a mistake 3 laps in dropping her bike in the soft sand at the bottom of the hill. It took a while for her to get going but this gave Beth Farmer the chance to pull enough of a gap to take a well deserved win but with one lap to go she dropped her bike, quickly getting it going the finish was going to be close. Chelsea took 2nd place Catherine King on another strong ride but ran out of time and couldn’t catch Beth and she took her first race win of the series. Leonni Tighe was in another huge battle with Catherine King but this time just couldn’t take and settled for fourth place followed by Rhianne Barker and Eleanor Calby in 6th place.
The final race was proving that anything could happen and with so many places changing over the weekend everyone was looking forward to another great race. We weren’t disappointed. Beth Farmer took her 2nd BelRay holeshot award of the weekend but was soon taken by Chelsea who eaked away a comfortable lead but the race for rest of the top 10 places was closely fought with Charlotte Hall finally proving she could do it by taken the 3rd place from the on form Leonni Tighe who had to settle for fourth place with Eleanor Calby popping back in fifth place and Georgia Ithell in 6th place.
The racing over the weekend was exciting with so many new comers battling and mixing it up with the established stars all the way through the field making the future really exciting and the prospect of some great young riders coming through. Trophies were presented by series sponsor Claire Spillane from Westermans International Ltd.Round 2 of the new British Womens Motocross Championship will be at Warmingham Lane on June 18th.
Report by Howard Marriott and pics by Geoff Griffiths
1st Chelsea Gowland 297pts
2nd Beth Farmer 283pts
3rd Leonni Tighe 262pts
4th Catherine King 250pts
5th Georgia Ithell 228pts
6th Millie King 222pts
7th Charlotte Hall 221pts
8th Eleanor Calby 217pts
9th Rhianne Barker 198pts