Coming hot on the heels of his super showing at Fatcats in the recent Maxxis Championship event, young Apex KTM UK star Jamie Wainwright was flying high again on Sunday. Scorching to a blistering brace of moto wins, Jamie took maximum MX2 points in the opening round of the AMCA British Championship at Norley in Cheshire. He signalled his intentions to be a major contender in the race for the 2019 title as former MX1 British champ Kristian Whatley had no answer for the KTM man’s speed in his AMCA debut on the Wulfsport-backed Suzuki and took third overall.
Wainwright said “Round one definitely went the way I wanted it to. In qualifying I set the fastest time which was a bit of a surprise as I felt that I had struggled to do a good lap! In moto one I didn’t get the best of starts and had to make some passes before hitting the front and setting a good pace until the end. Moto two was a better start but still needed to make a pass or two. I made a little mistake when out front stalling my bike which allowed the others to catch up before putting in some more good laps to take another win. Overall I felt very comfortable and have a lot more to give. Massive thanks to all my team, mechanics and everyone that support me.”
After coming through the early morning qualifying, Whatley who grabbed the opening MX2 holeshot and led for two laps. Whatley though was quickly under pressure from a brace of young starlets in Jamie Wainwright and Ryan Crowder. On top form and by lap two, Wainwright took control followed through by Crowder on lap seven. Three laps from home, Whatley then showed his vast experience to repass Crowder but by this time the superb Wainwright had the win in the bag. In this opener, Josh Coleman took 4th just ahead of Matt Ridgway who was having a great ride with Clinton Barrs, Henry Williams and Luke Dean next-up.
In this new MX2 class which for the first time saw four-banger 250F power go head to head with 250cc two-strokers, Corie Southwood after having already posted a seriously fast qualifying time then blasted his 2T mount to the front of moto two. However Wainwright was right on the gas again and after initially gating 6th soon moved into pole position. Despite one nervous moment when he stalled his KTM’s engine, Jamie quickly regained his rhythm and composure before scorching onto a victory by some 10 seconds! Right up to lap six, Whatley had held 2nd before being passed by Crowder and the impressive Jansen Day. With Ridgway suffering from a puncture in this one he had to settle for 10th behind Williams, Dean, Coleman, Mark Young another 2T pilot and early leader Southwood.
Copying Wainwright’s impressive feat and also going unbeaten in the event promoted by the Mid Cheshire MXC were Youth class winner Matt Tolley (KTM) and 125cc group victor Lewis Dowdeswell (FWC Construction Bay KTM). Making a strong start to the season, defending Champion Josh Waterman on his new IDS/Marsh Motors Yamaha went 3/1 for the MX1 overall whilst James Lane(LRT Honda) topped the Vets class.
After wet weather had curtailed planned Championship Qualifying rounds earlier in March, it meant that there was a large percentage of Sunday’s entry having to still earn their place on the 2019 AMCA start line before the serious business of title points scoring could commence. So two hours later and with the timed qualifying sorted the two blocks of racing could begin in this eagerly anticipated Championship chase powered by Datatag and supported by Dunlop.
In a MX1 class that was simply stacked with quality, none other than Neville Bradshaw joined the 2019 mix, qualifying 6th fastest behind Ashley Greedy, James Dodd, Josh Waterman, Shane Carless and Luke Mellows. When the gate dropped though it was the 7th fastest qualifier Luke Meredith who led the high-speed, frantic charge. By lap two, Dodd, a rider very much in-form took control only to then be replaced by Carless. For the next five laps Carless repelled the constant, determined challenge of Dodd until overshooting a corner. Narrowly avoiding becoming tangled with track-marking, Carless though had lost his lead as Dodd was now again the pace-setter.
From here onwards, Dodd steered the JSR Thunderoad Honda to victory with Carless regaining his composure to get home in 2nd despite being reeled in by a hard charging Waterman. After gating 15th, new boy Bradshaw got back up to 4th on his AMCA debut with Greedy, Will Hughes and Mellows the next best. Looking set for a big opening points scoring ride, Gary Gibson tangled with a backmarker on entry into a Norley corner, dropping from 4th to a final 11th when the two machines got locked together and refused to be separated!
Greedy, Mellows, Bradshaw and Waterman were fastest away in MX1 moto two only for Mellows to bail off just four turns into the contest! In this one, Greedy led until lap six before Waterman got through. Showing that he is very determined to hang onto his coveted MX1 title, Josh smoothly controlled from here onwards thus earning a classy win. Behind him, Gibson made amends for that moto one fall by earning a strong 2nd despite a constant and very determined challenge from Dodd with Greedy, Carless, Bradshaw, Smart and Ashley Thomas the next best.
After his lap one tumble, Mellows got back to 15th. So at the top it was Waterman and Dodd both on 110 points and these lads certainly look in good shape for 2019 and the MX1 challenge ahead! Afterwards a naturally delighted Waterman was happy with day’s work saying, “Hats off to the organising club as they did a great job on preparing the track. Qualifying was alright giving me 3rd fastest and just 0.09 seconds off the pace. In moto one I made a mega jump but somehow lost ground on the charge to the opening turn then got boxed in and lost a few places. I got my head down and worked up to 3rd but the front two had gone. In race 2 I gated 4th and once I had took the lead controlled all the way. I am mega please with how the Yamaha performed and would like to thank everyone in my team.”
Also new for the AMCA Championship action in 2019 is a 125cc 2T class and what a glorious sound that was as 40 high-revving, fast machines stormed towards the opening turn in moto one! In some super action, Ryan Jones led the first bash of the season until just 2 laps from home before being passed by Lewis Dowdeswell. Right in contention throughout, Chris Povey got home in 3rd from Brad Malin, Ryan Zebedee and Jordan Ridgway.
Quickest away in 125cc moto two was Apex KTM rider Jasper Uphill but by the end of lap one the stylish Dowdeswell was the new leader. Despite the track now being totally rough and brutal thus demanding total respect, the 125cc pilots kept those throttle wires stretched to the limit keeping the crowd fully entertained! And in a very tight contest which went right down to the chequered flag, Dowdeswell just held onto victory ahead of a hard-charging Jones who had sat in 2nd for most of the contest looking for a chance to strike. Showing solid consistency, Povey and Malin were again picking up a big points haul as early leader Uphill was 5th with Nathan Bache also in the top end mix this time around.
In the Vets class it was to be two ‘new young pups’ who starred as James Lane on the LRT Honda took the overall win after finishing level on points at the top with Jamie Powell. In moto one, Sean Smith initially led the way before both James and his brother Simon Lane the defending Vets Champion also took turns to take control of proceedings. Eventually by lap seven the contest had finally settled down with Powell on his way to victory chased home by James Lane, Simon Lane, Smith, Conduit, Craig Chamberlain and Martin Atherton.
If Vets moto one was good, the second clash proved to be an absolute cracker as James Lane and Powell swapped positions at the front on more than one occasion. And then in a dramatic finish, James passed Powell on the final lap to snatch the win by just one bike length as Simon Lane again took 3rd with Smith, Atherton and Chamberlain in the frame.
Right at the top of his game, Matt Tolley took both Youth class wins at Norley. Throughout the day the only rider to briefly get their wheels infront of the superb Tolley was Yarin Evans on the opening circuit of moto two. In the first Youth race of the new season, Harry Ridgway went from 5th up to 2nd as Ezra Blackwell took 3rd ahead of Jake O’Gorman, Evans and Dylan Williams.
In moto two, Blackwell passed Ridgway with just a couple of circuits remaining for 2nd with Evans, Reece Leverton, Williams and O’ Gorman the next best. At Norley, there was a super total of 33 Youth riders on the start line, all giving a great account of themselves even when late on in the day the going got extremely tough and the ruts were axle deep, well done everyone! Next up it’s a trip to Boraston in Shropshire on Easter Sunday.
Report and pics by Mike Wood.