By Dick Law. Jake Nicholls put on a masterclass of how to race tricky muddy track conditions at the weekend’s round on of the MX Nationals by winning both races with apparent ease. In fact, he won the first by almost a minute from Micky Eccles and the second by 26 seconds from Brad Anderson who was having a wild card ride to test out a new 250cc Verde KTM two-stroke in the MX2 class.
But it was testing for everyone over the weekend as rain started to fall in the early hours of Saturday morning and it just kept falling, turning the track into a mud bath. Going slightly off line would end in a rider coming off big time and turning themselves in to a brown blob.
The decision was made to scrap the second set of races to stop the destruction of the track to a point where the track crew couldn’t get it back to a usable state for the Sunday. And what a good job they did as come Sunday morning and with the track workers hard at it till almost dark and starting again at 6am it was all good for racing.
Stuart Edmonds got the holeshot at the start of the first pro MX1 and MX2 combined race, from Jamie Law, Nicholls and Eccles and with Anderson the first of the MX2s in fifth.
Law started to struggle and slip back after picking up a puncture on lap two and Nicholls took over the lead and disappeared. Eccles moved into second on lap three and stayed there till the end of the race while Edmonds slipped off while in third and came home seventh.
Biggest moving in the race was Elliott Banks-Browne who after crashing in the first turn came from 25th to third despite his Husqvarna steaming for most of the race.
Anderson crossed the finish line fourth but was first MX2 as Mel Pocock turned in steady laps was one place behind him for second.
Rob Hooper’s Yamaha team didn’t have the best of races as Ryan Houghton fought his way from 19th at the start to eighth when his clutch burnt out leaving the bike with no drive with just two laps to go.
His team mate Kristian Whatley didn’t do much better when his standard tank which was full when they started the race run dry with a couple of laps left to do, which was a shame as he looked to be getting his old pace back.
In race two it was Nicholls all the way as he led every lap, but behind him at the start, Edmonds and Anderson had followed his round the first turn with Krestinov getting a good one in fourth.
There then followed a series of mistakes that would decide the outcome and the remaining podium positions. Banks-Browne was up to third on lap three from ninth at the start, but a crash saw him back in eighth at lap latter. Krestinov took over third, only to come off himself and replace Banks-Browne in eighth place as Edmonds crashed out of third to finish eighth.
Whatley had a better race and was doing the best and longest jumps on his way to sixth, one place behind his team mate Houghton.
Anderson crossed the finish line second but was first MX2 home while Pocock was second and with Josh Gilbert third.
Overall in the MX1 it was Nicholls from Eccles and Banks-Browne with Krestinov and Edmond’s just missing out on the podium.
In the MX2 overall it was Anderson, Pocock and Hague on the podium with Gavin Stevenson and Josiah Natzke missing out.
“I was just concentrating on doing my own thing out there today,” said a modest Nicholls, “I was pushing hard for the whole race to keep concentration up and for good training. I had some decent starts which helps and was enjoying it even though it was a very tough track. I knew my fitness was good but it’s good to get a hard track to test it. I have been working on some things this week that I messed up the week before and am looking forward to Canada Heights in a couple of weeks.”
Anderson was very happy with his days’ work and said: “We came here today as a ‘wildcard’ to test out a new 250cc engine as the one we were using wasn’t that good off the start line. We had a couple of other things that also needed sorting on the bike as it has to be ready to leave for the Russian GP on Thursday. But everything is now working as it should do so it’s all good. I must say Lee and his team did a great job on the track because we looked at it on Saturday and we thought no way would it run.”
With two wins and a ninth place Ryan Crowder won the experts MX1 overall from Richard Bird and muddy race one winner Zac Stealey, while in the experts MX2s, Jason Meara with two wins and a third was the winner from race one winner Tom Grimshaw and Ben Clarke as Josh Coleman just missed out on a podium be four points.
Harry Fletcher one the muddy first race on the clubman MX1s and backed that up with a fourth and second for the overall win from Guy Price who was never out of the top three, and race two winner Aiden Christie as the winner of the last race, Jack Craggs failed to score in his other two races.
Harry Foster did win any of the clubman MX2 races but three second places earnt him the overall from two race winner Brad Thornhill and Adam Pierce while race one winner Charlie Razzell called it a day after Saturdays race.
In the 250F side of the MXYs, Rossi Beard was dominant in both days track conditions as he won all three of his races from Aaron-Lee Hanson and Ryan Thompson while in the 125cc two-stroke side of the race Joel Rizzi did the same in winning all his races, from Dylan Spenser and Kyle McNicol.
Jack Grayshon was pushed all the way to his overall in the big wheel class by Ryan Mawhinny as the pair shared win’s and second place. Vinnie Guthrie was third overall.
Two wins out of three races gave Bailey Johnson the overall in the small wheel from Ollie Colmer and Ben Mustoe.
Full results at https://speedhive.mylaps.com/Events/1506941