Honda’s Jake Nicholls marked his return to racing with the win as Woodbridge MCC hosted round four of the Eastern Centre motocross championships, sponsored by Instanda and Stebbings Car superstore, on Sunday at their Blaxhall circuit.
Despite the appearance of several National grade riders competing, to get some useful track time in readiness for the August British Championship meeting at Blaxhall, first race victory in the premier class went to Eastern series leader, Lewis Tombs, (Banks Honda). Tombs led the twenty-minute-long race from start to finish, with Liam Knight, (Gabriel KTM), and Dan Thornhill, (Cabscreens Yamaha) battling for second place. They were joined by local ace, Jake Nicholls, (Crendon Fastrack Honda), and the crowd were treated to watch a great four-way scrap at the front of the pack. Nicholls fought through to second place, but it was Tombs, riding brilliantly, who took the win. Thornhill got the better of Knight to claim third place, with Nicholls’s young teammate, Jay Hague, taking 5th place, chased home by Tom Grimshaw, (Chambers Husqvarna).
Despite still not being 100% fit, following a shoulder injury, Nicholls stormed to the front in race two, with Knight and Thornhill once again disputing second place. Positions remained the same throughout the race though, with Hague having another good race to finish in 4th place. Norfolk’s Luke Parker, (Matt Pope Kawasaki), held 5th place for the first four laps, but was eventually passed by young Suffolk ace, Sam Nunn, (RHR Yamaha), and Tombs. After crashing on the first corner, Grimshaw was in 36th place at the end of the first lap but fought through to 10th at the finish.
It was Thornhill’s turn for victory in the 3rd race. Grabbing the lead at the start, Thornhill was chased hard by Nicholls, and with a lap left, Nicholls closed the gap dramatically to within a bikes length as they crossed the finish line. Knight rode well in a lonely third place, with Grimshaw getting the better of Tombs for 4th. Luke Benstead, (GH Husqvarna), had bike problems in the first two races, but had better luck in race three, finishing in 6th place, after a high-speed battle with Sam Nunn.
The 14 junior grade riders, who had qualified to race the premier class, certainly did not disgrace themselves, and there were some good battles amongst themselves further down the pack in each race.
Callum Murfitt topped the overall premier class juniors, with Liam Bennett having three good rides for second. Murfitt’s main opponent in the series, Ryan Gardiner, was third overall, with Tommy Clark just ahead of Joseph Leeks, Connor Bunkle and Archie Fisher.
The Group A Support races were dominated by Lewis O’Sullivan, who easily won all three moto’s. Local rider, Ben Alexander, was 2nd in race one, after a good battle with Jack Youngs and Ollie Brader.
With O’Sullivan in a commanding lead again in race two, Sam Arbon led the rest home in 2nd place. Connor Baldry fought through to 3rd, chased home by Arnis Paberzs. O’Sullivan romped home for a third win, leaving Baldry to claim 2nd place in race three, after a spirited battle with Brader, Alexander and Paberzs.
There were three different winners in the B Support races, Zac Roberts won the first leg, after passing early race leader, Lee Kirkpatrick. Veteran Paul Hubbard took his Herts MX Honda to victory in race two, closely followed by Shaun Palfrey and Roberts, and Alex Truslow won race three, with Roberts in 2nd place, which was enough for the overall win.
Vince Snell, coming back from retirement, won all three legs in the C support group, with the consistent Alfie Self in second place in each race, and Overall victory in the D group went to Shaun Tacey, however youngster Henry Cox had cruel luck. After winning the first two races, bike problems when leading the third leg, caused his retirement.
Round five of the Eastern Championships will be held on August 1st at Lyng, hosted by the Norwich Vikings club.
Premier class Experts. 1st Jake Nicholls, 2nd Dan Thornhill, 3rd Liam Knight, 4th Lewis Tombs, 5th Tom Grimshaw, 6th Sam Nunn.
Premier class Juniors. 1st Callum Murfitt, 2nd Liam Bennett, 3rd Ryan Gardiner, 4th Tommy Clark, 5th Joseph Leeks, 6th Connor Bunkle.
Group A Supports. 1st Lewis O’Sullivan, 2nd Ollie Brader, 3rd Ben Alexander, 4th Connor Baldry, 5th Sam Arbon, 6th Arnis Pabersz
Group B Supports 1st Zac Roberts, 2nd Alex Truslow, 3rd Paul Hubbard, 4th Lee Kirkpatrick, 5th Shaun Palfrey, 6th Lloyd Goldstraw
Group C Supports 1st Vince Snell, 2nd Alfie Self, 3rd Luke Pharoah, 4th Aaron Holden, 5th Aaron Saunders, 6th Brenton Clarke
Group D Supports 1st Shaun Tacey, 2nd Tony Rooke, 3rd Toby Souchotte, 4th Chris Gaut, 5th Mark Hegarty, 6th Jason Turner.
Report from Charlie Ralph
Photos by Image Rich Media – Richard Blyth.