Once again Hondas ruled at round two of the Michelin MX Nationals at a revamped and improved Preston Docks, as the on-form Jake Nicholls on his Buildbase Honda annihilated the pro MX1s with Josh Gilbert on an Adventure Centre Honda taking both wins in the pro MX2, writes Dick Law.
Micky Eccles was fastest MX1 in qualifying from Nicholls but was unable to capitalise on that advantage come racing time as Nicholls got the holeshot and just disappeared in his smooth no-nonsense style, still winning the race but just over 35 seconds.
Elliott Bank-Browne, who had a massive crash in qualifying, had hurt his hand and was struggling to hold on to the bars going over the big jumps. He proved how valuable a good start is by gating second to Nicholls and maintaining that position through to the end of the race despite multiple attempts by Gilbert to get by him on his MX2 machine.
Dan Thornhill was fourth at the start but slid off on the opening lap but regrouped to finish seventh on the race, but fourth MX1 rider.
Kristian Whatley’s year of woe continued with a strong fifth place start, but he was feeling very ill and slipped back to 11th place come the end of the race. Eccles took full advantage of Thornhill’s crash and Whatley’s illness by moving from sixth at the start to finish fifth on the track, but third in class.
Brad Anderson was out on his 250 two-stroke in the MX2s and was hitting the berms hard on his way from ninth to fourth on the track, but second MX2.
For Nicholls race two was the same as the first as he got the holeshot and went on to win, but behind him things couldn’t have been more different as the Phoenix Tools Honda pairing of Carlton Husband and Gert Krestinov were side by side going around the first couple of laps till Krestinov found his way in to second and set off after Nicholls.
For the first four laps Krestinov was keeping Nicholls honest and in sight till his machine spluttered to a stop and was diagnosed with a charging problem. This left Gilbert in a strong second place as Husband slipped down to fifth after tangling with Anderson in an incident that put the injured Banks-Browne on the deck.
Biggest mover in the race was Ryan Houghton as after starting tenth he charged up through the pack, passed and was re-passed Anderson, passed him again for third over the line, but second MX1, with Banks-Browne doing damage control third.
Overall in the pro MX1s it was Nicholls, of course, from Banks-Browne and Eccles with Houghton just missing the podium by a single point. In the MX2s Gilbert was on a maximum from Anderson and Tombs.
“It’s been another good day,” said a happy Nicholls. “It’s nice to be on the re-designed track here today as it has been the same for a while now. It was a bit dry yesterday, but they did a decent job overnight getting it damped down. I enjoyed the track, but it was quite tough and did get very bumpy, but I was trying my hardest and pushing on as you don’t learn anything by slowing down and it can be more dangerous. Good starts helped and with the bike working well and with a couple of wins it’s all good.”
Second overall in the MX1s, Banks-Browne said: “I am OK with second overall after my massive crash in the second lap of practice. It was a big one and I put my hand out and it hurt so bad I thought I wouldn’t be able to ride. But we taped it up and it wasn’t too bad for the first race after getting a good start behind Jake but then I had a problem with my forks so second was good. I got a bad start in race two as someone came up the inside of turn one which nearly took us all out. But I was coming through OK till I came up behind Carlton and Brad, who were messing about at the back and Brad brake-checked Carlton and I wasn’t ready for it. I hit Brad’s wheel and went down. That twisted my wrist again and I was in a lot of pain again. I will have it checked out in the week and hopefully will be out again next weekend.”
Head of the MX2s, a very happy and smiley Gilbert said: “Fastest MX2 in qualifying and two moto wins, it can’t get much better than that. And if you include the MX1s I was second overall out of all the riders. I had two good start and had to pass a couple of 450s but once in second place, on the track, it was quite comfortable.”
Peoples’ favourite Anderson said: “I enjoyed riding the two-stroke round here today, but in the first race I got a bad start and that took a lot of my energy getting up to the sharp end of the race, and by that time Josh had got away and I couldn’t do anything with him. In race two I get a better start, had a bit of a problem with Carlton and by that time Josh had got away again, but to be fair he is riding so well at the moment I don’t think I would have had anything for him. Hawkstone next weekend and I am looking forward to it and will keep the two-stroke singing.”
Third overall Lewis Tombs said: “I usually struggle with this place, but I seemed to put myself in good places in both races and was mixing it with some of the MX1s so two third for third overall is good. But it looks like I will have to put in some more hard work to stay with Josh as he seems a mile ahead at the moment.”
There was no catching Richard Bird in the expert MX1 as he won all four of his races in great style for the overall win from Ryan Crowder who chased him over the finish line three times out of the four. Steve Bixby was a distant third from Zac Stealey and James Lassu.
It was close at the top of the expert MX2s with Jamie Wainwright and Tom Grimshaw tied on points but with Wainwright getting the bigger trophy because of his higher last-race finish. Third and fourth places were almost at close as Ben Franklin stole the last podium position by just two points from Josh Coleman.
Aiden Christie won three out of his four races to win the clubman MX1s but a sizable margin from race two winner James McCarthy with Guy Price third.
Four wins from four starts earnt Lewis Parkinson the clubman MX2 overall but behind him three riders were very close on pints for the two remaining podium positions. Harry Foster was eventually awarded second with Kristopher Rea and Fabio Rizzi tying on points for third, just three behind second place, but with Rea’s second place in the last race gaining him the last podium place.
The combined MXY2 and 125 youth race was a lot closer then it looked on the result sheets with battles going on all over the place, but when the racing was all over Aaron-Lee Hanson with a second and three wins was MXY2 winner overall from Callum Green and Josh Peters while Joel Rizzi won all four 125cc part of the event from Sam Price and Bobby Bruce.
The combined big and small wheel 85s is always good value as Jack Grayshon just beating Ryan Mawhinney by a couple of points with Buster Hart taking third place on the big wheel podium. Baily Johnston won all four of the small wheel side of the race and was mixing it along with Ollie Colmer among the big wheel boys all weekend long. Arai Elcock was second overall with Boston Gilbert third as a disaster in his first race dropped Colmer off the podium and into fourth.
Race 1: 1. Jake Nicholls, 2. Elliott Banks-Browne, 3. Micky Eccles
Race 2: 1. Jake Nicholls, 2. Ryan Houghton, 3. Elliott Banks-Browne
Overall: 1. Jake Nicholls 50, 2. Elliott Banks-Browne 42, 3. Micky Eccles 38
Championship: 1. #45 Jake Nicholls, Buildbase Honda 100, 2. #44 Elliott Banks-Browne, Geartec Husqvarna 82 , 3. #148 Micky Eccles 82, Manchester M/Cs Husqvarna
Race 3: 1. Josh Gilbert, 2. Brad Anderson, 3. Lewis Tombs
Race 4: 1. Josh Gilbert, 2. Brad Anderson, 3. Lewis Tombs
Overall: 1. Josh Gilbert 50, 2. Brad Anderson 44, 3. Lewis Tombs 40
Championship: 1. #1 Brad Anderson, Verdesports Substance KTM 94, 2. #3 Josh Gilbert, Honda Adventure Centre 76, 3. #66 Lewis Tombs, Planet Husqvarna 60
Race 3: 1. Richard Bird, 2. Brad Cavill, 3. Zac Stealey
Race 4: 1. Richard Bird, 2. Ryan Crowder, 3. Steve Bixby
Overall: 1. Richard Bird 100, 2. Ryan Crowder 82, 3. Steve Bixby 68
Championship: 1. #157 Richard Bird 157, 2. #146 Ryan Crowder 144, 3. Zac Stealey 122
Race 3: 1. Jason Meara, 2. Josh Coleman, 3. Tom Grimshaw
Race 4: 1. Finley Rossi Beard, 2. Ben Franklin, 3. Jason Meara
Overall: 1. Jamie Wainwright 79, 2. Tom Grimshaw 79, 3 Ben Franklin 72
Championship: 1. #61 Tom Grimshaw 146, 2. #10 Jason Meara 133, 3. #661 Josh Coleman 115
Race 3: 1. Aiden Christie, 2. Jamie McCarthy, 3. Harry Fletcher
Race 4: 1. Aiden Christie, 2. Jamie McCarthy, 3. Guy Prince
Overall: 1. Aiden Christie 97, 2. Jamie McCarthy 89, 3. Guy Prince 71
Championship: 1. #15 Aiden Christie 158, 2. #41 Guy Prince 135, 3. #37 Harry Fletcher 125
Race 3: 1. Lewis Parkinson, 2. Harry Foster, 3. Kristopher Rea
Race 4: 1. Lewis Parkinson, 2. Kristopher Rea, 3. Harry Foster
Overall: 1. Lewis Parinson 100, 2. Harry Foster 76, 3. Kristopher Rea 73
Championship: 1. #52 Harry Foster 142, 2. #290 Fabio Rizzi 118, 3. #323 Adam Pierce 115
Race 3: 1. Aaron-Lee Hanson, 2. Callum Green, 3. Denny Rapson
Race 4: 1. Aaron-Lee Hanson, 2. Callum Green, 3. Josh Peters
Overall: 1. Aaron-Lee Hanson 97, 2. Callum Green 91, 3. Josh Peters 78
Championship: 1. #13 Aaron-Lee Hanson 159, 2. #49 Callum Green 138, 3. #712 Josh Peters 121
Race 3: 1. Joel Rizzi, 2. Bobby Bruce, 3. Sam Price
Race 4: 1. Joel Rizzi, 2. Sam Price, 3. Kyle McNicol
Overall: 1. Joel Rizzi, 100, 2. Sam Price 80, 3. Bobby Bruce 78
Championship: 1. #912 Joel Rizzi 175, 2. #54 Dylan Spenser 125, 3. #57 Kyle McNicol 119
Race 3: 1. Jack Grayshon, 2. Sam Atkinson, 3. Jude Morris
Race 4: 1. Ryan Mawhinney, 2. Buster Hart, 3. Sam Atkinson
Overall: 1. Jack Grayshon 90, 2. Ryan Mawhinney 88, 3. Buster Hart 74
Championship: 1. #99 Jack Grayshon 72, 2. #15 Ryan Mawhinney 69, 3. #714 Vinnie Guthrie 54
Race 3: 1. Bailey Johnston, 2. Arai Elcock, 3. Boston Gilbert
Race 4: 1. Bailey Johnston, 2. Ollie Colmer, 3. Boston Gilbert
Overall: 1. Bailey Johnston 100, 2. Arai Elcock 80, 3. Boston Gilbert 76
Championship: 1. #9 Bailey Johnston 72, 2. #6 Ollie Colmer 69, 3. #163 Ben Mustoe 58