Jake Nicholls’ dominance of the national motocross scene continued at the weekend as notched yet another two pro MX1 race wins at round three of the Michelin MX Nationals at a very changeable Hawkstone Park in Shropshire – his tenth moto win in UK in succession. But in the other side of the Buildbase Honda team awning, Josh Gilbert’s run at the top of the MX2 pros came to a stop as the youngster had a crash, a mechanical to DNF the first race then struggled in the second race reaching 11th on the track, but fifth in class for a lowly 12th overall, writes Dick Law.
The weather couldn’t have been more different over the two days of the event with clear blue sunny skies on Saturday but after heavy rain and a massive thunderstorm overnight Sunday was, as Mel Pocock but it, “More humid then the Thailand MXGP.” And with another load of dark rain clouds hovering of the track towards the end of the second pro race and with three more races left to run, it became so dark that the riders needed headlights. The prompted Nicholls to say: “I had a tinted lens fitted to my goggles and as the rain started and it got darker I went into the tree lined part of the track and thought: “Oh no, I can’t see a thing” But mind you, he had such a big lead at the time he slowed and still won by a mile.
Nicholls got the holeshot at the start of the first combined pro MX1 and MX2 race and just cleared off to win by just over 36 seconds with Brad Anderson on his screaming 250 Verde KTM two-stroke spending the whole race in second place, but behind them thinks changed almost every lap of the 14-lap race.
Ryan Houghton had gated third but dropped down to seventh, on the track by the end of the race, but fourth MX1 rider home while Martin Barr had to fight his way from seventh at the start, swopped places again and again with Elliott Banks-Browne from just before half race distance as the pair finished with Barr third and Bank-Browne fourth on the track, but second in each of their different classes.
Pocock followed Barr through the pack for third in class with Todd Kellett re-finding some of his old pace fourth.
Gert Krestinov started sixth and finished sixth, but third MX1 rider with Houghton fourth and with Kristian Whatley after a good start drifting back in the pack as he was still suffering from the illness that came to a head the week before in Preston. He told his team boss Rob Hooper that after the first couple of laps he didn’t even have the strength to stand up on the pegs. He went home straight after the race to get well and fit for a fighting return.
The start of the second race was red flagged after a race timing computer decided to crash seconds before the start gate fell.
At the restart, once again Nicholls got the holeshot and cleared off again, but this time Banks-Browne was in chase from Barr, Micky Eccles, Carlton Husband and Houghton.
Banks-Browne was suffering with a damaged wrist he got a Preston and Barr was closing in on him till after taking the track position from Banks-Browne he reached for a tear off and got cross rutted with just the one hand on the bars which picked him over in spectacular style. He couldn’t continue with the race but was luckily unhurt as he, in his words “Rolled with it”
This left Banks-Browne in a comfortable second as Krestinov, after a bad start proved that you can overtake at Hawkstone, came from thirteenth to third.
Anderson was once again the first MX2 home as he crossed the finish line fifth from Pocock and Kellet.
Overall in the MX1s it was Nicholls from Banks-Browne, Krestinov, Liam Knight and Houghton while in the MX2’s it was Anderson from Pocock, Kellet, Michael Ellis and Alexander Brown.
“With all the rain we had last night the track was really tough today” said Nicholls, “With all the riders and the extra group it seemed to rough up in unusual places. But I had two good start and rode strong. In the second race, as it was getting darker I had trouble seeing in the trees as I had fitted an orange lens to my goggles and had to back it off quite a bit. But it’s been a good day and it’s always nice to get another two wins.”
Banks-Browne, although happy with his second overall said: “I don’t want to finish second. In the first race I struggled as I haven’t ridden all week after hurting my wrist last week at Preston just trying to rest it. It seems OK till I land off a jump and twist it then the pain comes back for a lap or two. In the second race I gated behind Jake and I thought my speed was good as I was keeping with him but coming out of the bombhole I twisted my wrist again and it was all I could do to hold on till the end of the race. I have a big break now for me to get things in order.”
A happy Krestinov said: “Finally I have a podium. Thinks have been getting better and better each time we are racing. I had a third in the first race but suffered with a bad start in the second but managed to get through lots of the other riders. I tried to catch Elliott, but the gap was too big in the laps we had left, but third overall? I am pleased with that.”
MX2 winner Anderson said with a big smile: “I just love it going out on the two-stroke. I got a great start in the first race and was first MX2, so I just controlled the race from there even though I did get a bit tight towards the end. In race two I wanted the same gate as I did in the first race, but Jake nicked that one. I didn’t get a good start in the restart but managed to get through. Martin had checked out and was ten second in front of me and there was no chance of me catching him, but he came off and handed me the second race win. I was a bit careful today as it’s the home GP next weekend and that’s the main goal.”
A philosophical Pocock said from second MX2 overall: “Hawkstone was Hawkstone, tough and gnarley. I was third in the first race and second in the second when the skies opened up and it started raining so second is good and he have tested our new race engines ready to Matterley Basin next weekend.”
Kellett was more then happy with his third place and said: “I am over the moon that finally I have had a bit of luck with Martin going out, which is unfortunate for him, and with a couple of the other riders crashing out, I have a podium position and I am pleased about that as it’s been a tough year for me so far and this is a bit of a confidence boost going into next week’s GP.”
Wildcard rider Josh Waterman won the first three of the expert MX1s but slipped back to third after leading the last race but still had done enough to take the overall by nine points from James Dodd with Richard Bird third. Brad Cavill got better and better as the weekend went on and won the last race for fifth overall.
It was close at the top of the expert MX2s with Josh Colman leaving it to the last race of the weekend to get his first win and seal the overall first place with race three winner Jason Meara second and Jamie Wainwright third. Ben Putman despite winning race, two just missed out on a podium position be a single point. Championship contender Tom Grimshaw’s weekend finished early when he crashed out on the first lap of race three dislocating his shoulder with perhaps a fracture to go with it.
With three wins and a fifth Joe Roberts won the clubman MX1s from Aiden Christie and Guy Price while race three winner Jamie McCarthy crashed out of the last race which dropped him down to fourth.
Just five points separated two race winner Brad Thornhill from Aden Pierce at the top of the clubman MX2 with race four winner Harry Foster third and with Fabio Rizzi missing out on the podium by just one point.
With three wins and a second place Callum Green won the 250F side of the MXY2s from race one winner Aaron-Lee Hanson with Josh Peters third and with Danny Rapson just missing out on a podium position.
Adam Kovacs won the 125cc part of the combined race with three wins and a second from race three winner Dominic Lancett while a crash while leading the first race dropped Joel Rizzi down to third despite his three second places.
Ryan Mawhinney won the big wheel class of the joint big and small wheel 85s with three wins and a third place from Alfie Jones and race three winner Sam Atkinson while Ollie Colmer didn’t finish out of the top two to win the small wheels from Bailey Johnston and Charlie Reynolds.
Pro MX 1:
Race 1. 1. Jake Nicholls, 2. Elliot Banks-Browne, 3. Gert Krestinov, 4. Ryan Houghton, 5. Liam Knight, 6. Dan Thornhill
Race 2. 1. Jake Nicholls, 2. Elliot Banks-Browne, 3. Gert Krestinov, 4. Liam Knight, 5. Micky Eccles, 6. Ryan Houghton
Overall: 1. Nicholls 50 points, 2. Elliot Banks-Browne 44, 3. Gert Krestinov 40, 4. Liam Knight 34, 5. Ryan Houghton 33, 6. Carlton Husband 25
Pro MX 2:
Race 1. 1. Brad Anderson, 2. Martin Barr, 3. Mel Pocock, 4. Todd Kellet, 5. Alexander Brown, 6. Robbie Dowson
Race 2. 1. Brad Anderson, 2. Mel Pocock, 3. Todd Kellet, 4. Michael Ellis , 5. Josh Gilbert, 6. Jordan Eccles
Overall: 1. Brad Anderson 50 points, 2. Mel Pocock 42, 3. Todd Kellet 38, 4. Michael Ellis 30, 5. Alexander Brown 30, 6. Lewis Tombs 27
Race 1. 1. Rossi Beard, 2. Josh Coleman, 3. Ryan McClean
Race 2. 1. Ben Putnam, 2. Josh Coleman, 3. Jason Meara
Race 3. 1. Brad Thornhill, 2. Fabio Rizzi, 3. Adam Pierce
Race 4. 1. Harry Foster, 2. Brad Thornhill, 3. Adam Pierce
Overall: 1. Brad Thornhill 90 points, 2. Adam Pierce 85, 3. Harry Foster 80
Race 1. 1. Scott Bates, 2. Joe Roberts, 3. Jamie McCarthy
Race 2. 1. Joe Roberts, 2. Aiden Christie, 3. Harry Fletcher
Race 3. 1. Jamie McCarthy, 2. Joe Walklett, 3. Guy Prince
Race 4. 1. Joe Roberts, 2. Guy Prince, 3. Chris Neesan
Overall: 1. Joe Roberts 91 points, 2. Aiden Christie 76, Guy Prince 73
Race 1. 1. Josh Waterman, 2. Richard Bird, 3. James Dodd
Race 2. 1. Josh Waterman, 2. James Dodd, 3. Edward Briscoe
Race 3. 1. Josh Waterman, 2. James Dodd, 3. Richard Bird
Race 4. 1. Brad Cavill, 2. James Dodd, 3. Josh Waterman
Overall: 1. Josh Waterman 95 points, 2. James Dodd, 3. Richard Bird 76
Race 1. 1. Rossi Beard, 2. Josh Coleman, 3. Ryan McClean
Race 2. 1. Ben Putnam, 2. Josh Coleman, 3. Jason Meara
Race 3. 1. Jason Meara, 2. Ben Putnam, 3. Jamie Wainwright
Race 4. 1. Josh Coleman, 2. Jason Meara, 3. Jamie Wainwright
Overall: 1. Josh Coleman 87 points, 2. Jason Meara 79, 3. Jamie Wainwright 70
Race 1. 1. Aaron Lee Hanson, 2. Callum Green, 3. Josh Peters
Race 2. 1. Callum Green, Aaron Lee Hanson, 3. Josh Peters
Race 3. 1. Callum Green, 2. Aaron-Lee Hanson, 3. Denny Rapson
Race 4. 1. Callum Green, 2. Denny Rapson, 3. Josh Peters
Overall: 1. Callum Green 72 points, 2. Aaron-Lee Hanson 69, 3. Josh Peters 55
Race 1. 1. Adam Kovacs, 2. Dominic Lancett, 3. Bobby Bruce
Race 2. 1. Adam Kovacs, Joel Rizzi, 3. Dominic Lancett
Race 3. Dominic Lancett, 2. Joel Rizzi, Adam Kovacs
Race 4. 1. Adam Kovacs, 2. Joel Rizzi, 3. Kyle McNicol
Overall: 1. Adam Kovacs 95 points, 2. Dominic Lancett 82, 3. Joel Rizzi 70
Race 1. 1. Ryan Mawhinney, 2. Alfie Jones, 3. Ethan Lane
Race 2. 1. Ryan Mawhinney, 2. Alfie Jones, 3. Ethan Lane
Race 3. 1. Sam Atkinson, 2. Alfie Jones, 3. Ryan Mawhinney
Race 4. 1. Ryan Mawhinney, 2. Jack Grayshon, 3. Etan Lane
Overall: 1. Ryan Mawhinney 95 points, Alfie Jones 80, Sam Atkinson 76
Race 2. 1. Ollie Colmer, 2. Bailey Johnston, 3. Ben Mustoe
Race 2. 1. Bailey Johnston, 2. Ollie Colmer, 3. Arai Elcock
Race 3. 1. Bailey Johnston, 2. Ollie Colmer, 3. Ben Mustoe
Race 4. 1. Ollie Colmer, 2. Bailey Johnston, 3. Charlie Reynolds
Overall: 1. Ollie Colmer 94 points, 2. Baily Johnston 94, 3. Charlie Reynolds 72