Once again Jake Nicholls on his Buildbase Honda stamped his authority on national motocross competition, this time by winning Wednesday night’s famous £20,000 Patchquick Trophy. Nicholls three race wins from three starts was backed up by his young team mate Josh Gilbert who this time switched from his usual MX2 machine to a MX1. Dan Thornhill made it’s an all Honda podium on his Cab Screens CRF, writes Dick Law.
The impressive trophy has been fought over since 1934 and the names engraved in its sides reads like a who’s who of British motocross history and now Jake Nicholls will be added for this year.
Nicholls led the pack round the first turn at the start of the first race and was followed by Ryan Houghton, Jake Shipton, Alex Snow who was making a one-off return to motocross from enduro, with Gilbert seventh. Houghton had the wheel of his Yamaha slide out on him on one of the long uphill climbs, letting Shipton through to second. By lap two Gilbert was through to fourth and started closing in on Houghton and snatched third place from him on the very last lap.
Josh Taylor got the holeshot at the start of the second race but by the time the riders came around to complete their opening lap, Nicholls was in the lead and that was the last anyone saw of him, until he came around to lap them.
Joe Clayton and Thornhill had chased after Nicholls and Taylor but by lap three Thornhill had second all to himself as Houghton and Gilbert climbed the leader board from average starts. By the halfway stage Gilbert was in third and closing in on second place Thornhill. With three laps to go the pair were almost side by side but try as he night Gilbert couldn’t find a way through and had to settle for third. Houghton was a distant forth from Taylor, Luke Sturgeon who had climbed his way from a first turn crash to sixth.
With the night creeping in Nicholls once again got the holeshot from Shipton and Sturgeon but by the end of the first lap Thornhill was in fourth and the top four stayed in that order till the finish flag. Houghton crashed out of fifth on lap four only to crash again on lap six before returning back to the paddock eight.
“I haven’t ridden here for some years, so it was nice to get back,” said a happy Nicholls, “I didn’t get much practice as I caught a wire on the bike with my boot and broke it and it wasn’t running the way it should, so I only got one quick lap in. I was learning the track at the start of the first race after getting the holeshot, which was interesting going up one hill thinking it was the other. But I had three good starts, which helped. I spoke to Mark Eastwood after the first race and changed my set-up a little bit which made me more comfortable on the bike, so I could push when I needed to. I am pleased we got all three races in as it was looking a bit touch and go with the fading light at one time. Fair play to the club they put on a good event.”
Gilbert was happy with his evening but said after racing had finished: “I could have done with a decent start this evening as I made things hard for myself. The first I just messed up, and that was completely my fault, but in the second I went down with a big bunch of riders in turn one. I managed to get back to third place. I the last I got an OK start and begun to close in on Jake (Shipton), but it got so dark I started to make some mistakes on bumps I couldn’t even see. So, I settled for third.”
Thornhill had had a great evening and was happy to be on the podium and said: “Tonight was a good step forward for me as we have been working hard on lots of small things to get my riding better and they seem to be working.”
1 Jake Nicholls (Buildbase Honda) 45 + 45 + 45 = 135
2 Josh Gilbert (Buildbase Honda) 40 + 40 + 40 = 120
3 Dan Thornhill (Cab Screens Honda) 36 + 42 + 38 = 116
4 Luke Sturgeon (DCS Cornwall Kawasaki) 34 + 35 + 36 = 105
5 Josh Taylor (Dirt Wheels Kawasaki) 31 + 36 + 31 = 98
6 Jake Curtis-Stevens (DCS Cornwall Kawasaki) 32 + 33 + 32 = 97
7 Jay Hague (Kawasaki) 28 + 31 + 34 = 93
8 Jake Shipton (Crescent RFX Yamaha) 42 + 7 + 42 = 91
9 Joe Clayton (Honda) 29 + 32 + 28 = 89
10 Josh Gotts (TM racing TM) 27 + 28 + 29 = 84