Veteran GP riders, motocross and enduro stars of today, a MotoGP racer plus clubmen and kids who all love two-strokes thrashed round the hard-packed Sellindge track in Kent for the first day of the Apico 2-Stroke Festival final round. With British titles up for grabs in several classes, the action was fast and hotly contested.
None more so in the fastest class, the British championship 250 category where ASA KTM’s Mel Pocock leads after day one. Having his first ride on a two-stroke since he quit schoolboy racing many years ago, Pocock soon got to grips with the bike and took victory in the first two motos. But in the final clash of the day, he fell and had to pull through the pack while Nathan Watson – mounted on a 150 KTM which has an obvious power disadvantage – cleared off to take the win.
Pocock came back through to claim third at the finish and end the day top points scorer, leading Watson by six points, with a moto win paying 45.
Watson only managed fourth in the opener, won by Pocock from fast-starting Steve Bixby and World Enduro champ Billy Bolt having his first ever motocross race. In the second heat Watson followed Pocock over the line, with Brad Wheeler third from factory Husky man Bolt out on a borrowed bike. Wheeler held on for a fine second place in the last moto behind winner Watson, with Pocock blasting by Bolt for third. Steve Bixby was fifth and Matt Burrows, who ran near the front in every moto, sixth.
In the British championship 125 class, former GP rider James Cottrell was in a league of his own as he cleared off to three unchallenged wins, although he was chased home by Jordan Divall in the final moto of the day. The 125 rookie class was run alongside the British championship class and last year’s Apico Festival 85cc winner Jack Grayshon was credited with wins in all three motos, despite actually chasing Cottrell hard and leading the overall race at times. Grayshon had two seconds and third in the overall race, and was clearly the winner of the rookies.
In the main class, TM’s Chuck Davies ended the day second overall with two seconds and a third place finish. And third overall was MotoGP star Bradley Smith, making his return to the dirt for the first time in a decade.
Just six days earlier he’d been racing at over 150mph in the British MotoGP road race championship at Silverstone, but was equally at home at Sellindge. He was third in the opener then a strong second in moto two, hounding down Davies to take the place. But in the third moto he went down on lap one and carved through the field from last to take fifth place and third overall on the day.
There was even more drama in the Evo and Suepr Evo class as Lewis Trickett, out on a borrowed CR500, had awful luck. He ran away with the opener, then his bike wouldn’t start for race two. The pack had done half a lap before he got it going and he put on a stunning charge until the bike broke. Third time out he led then retired with a rear puncture.
It left the overall Evo win to Kawasaki’s George Gough from Brian Wheeler and Matt Coles with ex-GP man Jon Barfoot fourth overall.
As Trickett won the opener from Wheeler and Gough but went out of moto two, the veteran riders scrapped for the lead. On the last lap, Wheeler dived inside of Gough and the pair clashed. Wheeler took the win but Gough was not pleased. In the final moto once Trickett had gone out, Wheeler and Gough again battled but then Wheeler’s Honda CR500 stalled and wouldn’t start for a half a lap. He got going for sixth.
Also in the race was Honda’s Mark Eastwood who battled with all the 500 men for lead on his SuperEvo CR250. He left the rest of the SuperEvo men for dead as he took three wins, from Oliver Weekes and Martin Cuddy.
The 85 big-wheel class was won by Raife Broadley from Liam Bennett, Daniel Wood and Ollie Colmer. Colmer was second in the opening moto then won second time out but had problems in moto three.
Kyron Carron won the SW85s from Haydon Harris and Louis Perrun Brown, while in the 65s it was Alfie Assen from Archy Atkinson and Marley Tupper. Ryan Clift won the autos from Chase Panter and Stanley Tupper.
There is more action on Sunday when the British titles will be decided. Entries are still available on the day.