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All change as AMCA title race hots up

In the sizzling cauldron that was Hawkstone Park last Sunday, new leaders have now emerged in the race for the 2018 AMCA British Motocross Championship MX1 and MX2 titles. In the big bike class, the immaculate Josh Waterman aboard his IDS Transport KTM reeled off three top class, high quality start to finish moto wins to also take the overall on the day ahead of FUS Marsh MX Husqvarna pilots Shane Carless and James Dodd. That result as seen Josh move to the top of the MX1 standings and go 31 points clear of Ashley Greedy who had been severely hampered by a last race rear-wheel puncture. Over in MX2, Luke Burton on the 250F FUS Marsh MX Husqvarna had to work a little harder for his moto win hat-trick. Showing incredible speed, strength and determination, Luke’s big 180 points haul means that he now leads what is proving a tight MX2 title race by just 9 points with Josh Coleman in 2nd and Lewis King in 3rd, only a further 7 points in arrears. Both King and Coleman also made it onto the Hawkstone podium, the latter producing a truly heroic performance after breaking his collarbone in three places just four weeks earlier!

Bradley Tranter(9) leading Lewis King(311) in MX2

On a day of maximum points hauls, Richard Cannings (M & S Brettle Yamaha) extended his 2T series lead with three smooth, untroubled start to finish victories whilst young Joseph Brookes (Nationwide Signs KTM) did likewise in the Youth Championship class. Rolling back the years, Gary Davies also maxed out in the Vets contest, in the process showing plenty of the old speed and style which carried him to multiple AMCA Championship titles.

Gary Davies the Vets winner

So after the mandatory timed qualifying, MX1 opened proceedings with a motocross masterclass from Josh Waterman as he strolled to his first gate to flag win of the day. Just behind him though a super battle raged as Carless moved quickly up from 6th to lock horns with and hold off series leader Ashley Greedy for the right to finish 2nd. In the closing stages, James Dodd was also reeling in Greedy, just failing in his attempt to snatch 3rd. Next best in this opener were Ray Rowson, Gary Gibson and Brad Cavill who initially gated down in 15th. Already feeling rather battered and bruised after a couple of recent spills, moto one was a DNF disaster for Ryan Crowder when the bearings broke in his Husqvarna’s rear wheel, also unsettling the chain and sprockets!

James Dodd, 3rd in MX1

As super Waterman led home Greedy in MX1 moto two, FUS teammates Carless and Dodd were going right at it for 3rd place. The very much inform Carless eventually took that one with Rowson, Cavill, Gibson and Luke Mellows next up. Following his opening race problems, Crowder took 9th as Josh Taylor rounded off the top ten.

Lewis King, 2nd in MX2

Whilst Waterman went on his way to another win in the final clash, Greedy was soon in trouble picking up a rear wheel puncture on lap two. Desperate to maintain his series lead, Greedy still kept on the gas, reeling off the laps despite gradually dropping down the leaderboard. However with just one circuit remaining, his time was up with the offending tyre about to lose contact with the wheel rim. As a disappointed Ashley parked up just before the finish line he could only sit and watch as valuable Championship points drifted away! Taking 2nd in this last moto and having his best ride of the day was Gary Gibson on the LDR TMC Kawasaki with the consistent Carless, Rowson and Dodd next up.

MX1 winner Josh Waterman

Just four weeks after suffering potential Championship season ending injuries, Josh Coleman (LRS/HTF Husqvarna) and Bradley Tranter (E.T James KTM) remarkably returned to MX2 action at Hawkstone and impressively figured in the opening moto top end shake-up. Taking the win though was the cool, smooth Luke Burton who quickly passed Lewis King. Coleman after an epic battle, brilliantly swooped past young Henry Williams on the final lap to earn 3rd with Tranter 5th and Kieran Cooke a fine 6th.

Shane Carless, 2nd in MX1

At the second time of asking, a restarted MX2 moto two clash was to be a classic encounter. Lee Sealey on the Wildmoor SevenSevenTwo Yamaha led the way but was soon under heavy pressure from King and Burton who had gated in 6th. On a mission, the hard charging Burton fired himself to the front by lap seven of proceedings, brilliantly passing Sealey and King before going onto earn another win. Digging deep yet again, Coleman took 4th after fighting off a very determined Rory Jones having his first Championship action of 2018 and Cory McShane. For most of this race, Williams had also been right in the mix before a last lap mistake saw him drop to 7th.

Sean Eckersley, 2nd in 2T

Not enjoying the best of fortunes, Matt Ridgway looked to have got it right in the last MX2 moto holding 2nd spot behind his LDR TMC Kawasaki teammate King during the opening lap. Unfortunately Matt then crashed very hard before gallantly remounting to earn 24th place. At the front, King led for 5 laps before being relieved of his duties by a storming Burton. With another very impressive ride, Williams took a super 3rd from Coleman, Jack Gardiner, McShane, Jones and Sealey.

Mark Young made a fantastic start in the opening 2T race only to crash on completion of lap one and drop back to 5th. In control throughout though was series leader Richard Cannings, cruising to a massive victory. In a super tussle for 2nd, Young recovered from his very early tumble only to then drop again after another mistake finally forced him to settle for 6th. Infront of Young were Sean Eckersley, Jordan Saunders, Bradley Doyle and Jake Parker. After that eventful opening ride, Young held 2nd place throughout in moto two as Cannings galloped to another win. In the mix again were Saunders, Eckersley and Doyle as Ashley Benniston took 6th and James Lane who had started with a moto one DNF got home in 7th. Taking 5th first time out, Parker failed to finish moto two and was missing from the last clash of the day.

Luke Burton leading Bradley Tranter in MX2

Having a truly eventful day, Young held 2nd in the last 2T moto, before falling and dropping to 23rd. Producing a stunning comeback ride, Mark fought right back to claim 4th despite losing power due to a split exhaust system! At the front it was Cannings gate to flag ahead of Doyle and Eckersley. Enjoying his best ride of the day, Adam Hill scored a fine 6th this time out after initially gating 12th. On the 2T podium, Eckersley and Doyle joined Cannings with Young, Saunders who had a last race hiccup and Ryan Zebedee the next best.

As Gary Davies led the opening Hawkstone Vets contest, there was a right old tussle going on just behind him as the Championship top two of Simon Lane and Terry House locked horns. That battle though was to end rather abruptly when the unfortunate House crashed hard when about to enter the famous Hawkstone bomb-hole. Suffering a suspected rib injury, Terry was forced out for the remainder of the meeting, an incident which could prove pivotal in the eventual destination of the Vets title. Upfront though the super Davies powered to victory aboard his trusty Kawasaki as Lane took 2nd from Richard Chinn, Sean Smith, Matt Gordon and Gary Jones.

Josh Coleman, 3rd in MX2

In an entertaining moto two, Davies had to call on all those previous Hawkstone experiences to see off a very determined Lane for the win. Equally experienced and classy, Gordon held 3rd spot throughout from Smith, Chinn and Matt Ryder. Much to the delight of his family and local supporters, Davies then completed his maximum score with another win in moto three, this time an incredible 12 seconds clear of runner-up Lane. So the Vets podium was Davies, Lane and Gordon, certainly plenty of class on show there then!

Youth race one battle as Joseph Brookes(19) leads Charlie Palmer

After three rounds, Joseph Brookes has been victorious in every Youth class moto. On Sunday though, Charlie Palmer on the LDR TMC Kawasaki was in a very determined mood to try and break that sequence, holeshotting races one and two and leading the way before the incredible Brookes got through. The closest finish of the day came in moto one when Palmer took the fight right down to the line, just missing out by the narrowest of margins in a classic scrap. In the previous rounds, Matt Tolley has been the next best but in the Hawkstone sand he had to settle for 5th as both Joel Fisher in 3rd and Jake Randall got the better of him. Corey Collins, Joshua Main, Harry Ridgway, Henry Tomes and Ben Dutton also impressed on Sunday but all the lads should be applauded for the manner in which they attacked the imposing, tough Shropshire terrain. Words and pics by Mike Wood.

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