The Union Jack was certainly flying high and proud above the Lower Drayton motocross circuit on Sunday evening after the riders representing AMCA Team Great Britain produced yet another stunning performance. In their home round of the IMBA European Championship promoted Cannock MXC and sponsored by FUS, Luke Burton (FUS FRO CPS Husqvarna) stormed to three MX1 wins and thus also extend his lead at the top of the title standings, joined on the podium in 3rd by wildcard Gary Gibson (DK Offroad Kawasaki). In this MX1 class the Brits were in a ruthless, dominant mood as James Dodd, Shane Carless, Paul Neale, Andrew Smart, Ryan Crowder and Edward Briscoe also finished inside the top ten.
Just one week earlier the GB MX2 team had totally dominated the podium places at the French round of the IMBA series and then incredibly were at it again back in the Lower Drayton bash! This time it was Ray Rowson (Apex Geartec KTM) taking the win from Josh Waterman (IDS Transport JD Racing KTM) and young wildcard rider James Wainwright (Moto4 Husqvarna). With Lewis King, Jack Cox and Clinton Barrs bagging overall top ten placings on the day, the IMBA MX2 table also makes very pleasant reading with Waterman leading from Rowson. For Rowson it was to be an extra special weekend, not only taking that win but also seeing his wife give birth just 24 hours earlier to a little girl, the couple’s first child, many congratulations Ray!
Earlier in the day and on a rather damp and heavy circuit, Luke Burton had posted the fastest MX1 qualifying time before clearing off to win the opening moto. Throughout this first contest, Ryan Crowder on his new Apico Husqvarna held a super 2nd spot resisting at times heavy pressure from Belgian leading rider Frederic Wiegert. Next up was a trio of Brits with Gary Gibson in a rather lonely 4th spot as James Dodd just got the better of Paul Neale for 5th after a tough race long tussle whilst Andrew Smart started well with a 9th place.
After his strong moto one performance, Crowder was forced out in the early exchanges of the second clash with clutch problems. There was though no such issues for the immaculate Burton who took another win from his closest title rival Wiegert who had earlier worked hard to pass then see off Gibson. After being surprisingly downfield in moto one, Shane Carless bounced back strongly in this one to get the better of Dodd for 4th with Smart in 6th, Ed Briscoe 9th and Neale 10th.
Confirming his maximum points overall win in style, Burton then led moto three from start to finish with Weigert again giving chase. In a race dominated by Brits, Gibson, Crowder, Carless, Dodd, Neale and Smart finished strongly, the only European to join their party being Swiss rider Daniel Huser. In the IMBA standings with three of the six rounds completed its Burton leading the way 44 points clear of Weigert with Dodd in 3rd and both Briscoe(6th) and Smart(9th) going well. Afterwards winner Burton said, “On a track that was heavy I wanted to save the bike as much as possible so I quickly put in a lap fast enough to earn pole position. Following my recent knee injury I have been training hard for this and going cycling and now feel almost back to where I want to be. I felt good today and it’s not only great to win the home round but also extend my lead in the series. Thanks to all my family and friends for their support.”
Still on a high after the birth of his daughter, new Dad Ray Rowson posted the fastest qualifying time then led the opening IMBA MX2 moto from gate to flag. For the opening three laps, James Wainwright had held 2nd before being overhauled by Josh Waterman who had initially gated in 10th. After being relegated to 3rd, Wainwright then came under heavy pressure from the hard charging Dutch duo of Joshua van der Linden and Jacky Tausch. Showing great composure and maturity, Wainwright continually resisted the challenge from Holland until the later stages. However although van der Linden went through, he then crashed thus handing a deserved 3rd back to Wainwright. In this moto, Lewis King took a strong 6th despite stalling on the penultimate lap with the next best Brits being Jack Cox in 7th and Clinton Barrs 10th.
Buoyed by that strong opening performance, Wainwright was very quick off the mark in moto two before Waterman got through on lap one followed by Rowson. From here onwards the battle was on and it raged all the way to the flag as Waterman just held on for the win with Rowson a very safe 2nd after having thrown away his goggles in the closing stages. Once again Wainwright had a great ride for 3rd as Bradley Tranter got the better of his FUS teammate Cox for 5th with King finishing 9th.
In a restarted MX2 moto three, Wainwright led on both occasions before being overhauled again by Rowson and Waterman. Just like the previous encounter, a fast, exciting tussle unfolded with the roles being reversed as it was Rowson’s turn to just hold off Waterman for a narrow victory. Earning his well-deserved podium place, Wainwright got home in 3rd as Tausch and van der Linden both passed King. After clashing with Italian Riccardo Vitaliani, Cox took a tumble in this one but still finished 8th with Barrs 9th. Rightly very satisfied with his weekend, Rowson reflected on the podium stating, “I started the day well by getting pole position. Race one went well and I took the win but in race two could just not find a way past Josh. In the last one we had another great battle which could have gone either way so was nice to bag the win and take the top step on the podium in our home round. Now can’t wait to get home and see my new baby daughter.” In the MX2 Championship table, Waterman despite being rather emotional following the death of his niece Sophia Rae was pleased to be still leading the way, 14 points clear of Rowson. With three rounds to come in Switzerland, Italy and Germany it’s certainly still all to play for!
Sunday’s meeting also featured the opening round of the AMCA 85cc/150cc Youth Championship. In moto one, Alfie Rickwood made a flying start only to lose all that momentum when his TM machine developed a serious misfire. However despite being quickly passed by Brandon Hill, young Alfie still somehow nursed his bike home to take 2nd from Max Lewis in 3rd. With his bike then back on full-song, Rickwood blasted to a brace of wins in the remaining motos chased home by Hill with Joshua Fletcher Williams, Lewis, Jake White, Josh Ames and co right in there and battling hard.
Words and pics by Mike Wood.
IMBA MX1 European Championship (Round 3)
Moto one(top ten) 1 Luke Burton(GB) 2 Ryan Crowder(GB) 3 Frederic Weigert(Belgium) 4 Gary Gibson(GB) 5 James Dodd(GB) 6 Paul Neale(GB) 7 Menno van Meer(Holland) 8 Daniel Huser(Switzerland) 9 Andrew Smart(GB) 10 Jarno Verhorevoort(Holland) Other GB placings 11 Shane Carless 14 Ed Briscoe 15 Dean Swift.
Moto two 1 Burton 2 Weigert 3 Gibson 4 Carless 5 Dodd 6 Smart 7 Huser 8 van Meer 9 Briscoe 10 Neale Other GB placings 12 Swift.
Moto three 1 Burton 2 Weigert 3 Gibson 4 Crowder 5 Carless 6 Dodd 7 Huser 8 Neale 9 Briscoe 10 Smart Other GB placings 12 Swift.
Overall 1 Burton 180 points 2 Weigert 158 3 Gibson 147 4 Dodd 133 5 Carless 125 6 Huser 121 7 Neale 117 8 Smart 115 9 Crowder 101 10 Briscoe 101 12 Swift 88.
Leading Championship positions 1 Burton 475 points 2 Weigert 431 3 Dodd 392 4 Huser 373 5 Verhorevoort 341 6 Briscoe 331 7 van Meer 315 8 Smart 292 9 Ryan Verhagen 273 10 Jeremy Joris 271.
IMBA MX2 European Championship(Round 4)
Moto one(top ten) 1 Ray Rowson(GB) 2 Josh Waterman(GB) 3 James Wainwright(GB) 4 Joshua van der Linden(Holland) 5 Jacky Tausch(Holland) 6 Lewis King(GB) 7 Jack Cox(GB) 8 Rico Lommers(Holland) 9 Riccardo Vitaliani(Italy) 10 Clinton Barrs(GB) Other GB placings 11 Jack Gardner 20 Bradley Tranter.
Moto two 1 Waterman 2 Rowson 3 Wainwright 4 van der Linden 5 Tranter 6 Cox 7 Lommers 8 Vitaliani 9 King 10 Randy Morand(Switzerland) Other GB placings 11 Gardner 16 Barrs.
Moto three 1 Rowson 2 Waterman 3 Wainwright 4 van der Linden 5 Tausch 6 King 7 Vitaliani 8 Cox 9 Barrs 10 Lommers Other GB placings 19 Tranter 20 Gardner.
Overall 1 Rowson 174 points 2 Waterman 168 3 Wainwright 150 4 van der Linden 141 5 King 123 6 Cox 123 7 Vitaliani 117 8 Lommers 115 9 Tausch 114 10 Barrs 97. Other GB placings 12 Tranter 88 13 Gardner 87.
Leading Championship positions 1 Waterman 624 points 2 Rowson 610 3 van der Linden 590 4 Vitaliani 514 5 Cox 478 6 Lommers 469 7 Tausch 427 8 Erik de Bruyn 424 9 Jamie Lucas 344 10 Rik Rijkers 327. Other GB placings 13th Tranter 282 14 King 269 17 Gardner 225.
AMCA Youth 85cc/150cc Championship (Round 1)
Overall 1 Alfie Rickwood 174 points 2 Brandon Hill 168 3 Max Lewis 145 4 Jake White 139 5 Josh Ames 123 6 Aiden Woodman 119 7 Joe Butler 117 8 Ezra Blackwell 115 9 David Bradley 101 10 Joshua Fletcher Williams 91.