Just seven days after a tough opening round of the 2017 AMCA British Motocross Championship, the riders had to dust themselves down and find the energy to do it all again on Easter Sunday. After starting on a track making its debut, it was back to the more familiar terrain of Nympsfield for round 2 in this super series powered by Datatag and supported by Dunlop. And on a day of great racing, thrills and spills it’s now Luke Burton(MX1), Luke Dean(MX2), Jason Kendrick(2T) and James Russell(Vets) leading the respective title chases.
Already showing that he is very determined to hold onto his MX1 crown, defending Champion Luke Burton scored another overall victory at Nympsfield to thus increase his early advantage to 46 points. In Sunday’s opening race it was Ryan Crowder who grabbed the holeshot before Shane Carless controlled the next two laps. With Crowder then slipping down to 7th, Burton who had gated in 3rd stylishly went up a gear to move through and take the win ahead of a hard-charging four rider train which contained Carless, Gibson and Dodd. Getting home in 5th was John May, having a great ride after initially gating 14th whilst Paul Neale was now really getting dialled into his new 450F, taking a strong 6th.
If MX1 moto one was good, then the second clash of the day was an absolute classic, thrilling the large crowd in attendance. Carless, Dodd and finally Burton all took turns to lead but this only begins to tell the full story! With Gibson and May also in the mix, this fast and furious battle went right down to the flag, the eventual win going to Burton who had earlier crashed and dropped to 5th before coming back to pass all of his rivals. With a great, late effort on the final lap, May somehow found a way past Dodd and Gibson and was right on the tail of 2nd placed Carless, simply superb! Once again in MX1, young pilots Neale and Crowder produced strong rides with Adam Harris, Ashley Thomas and Andrew Smart also in the mix.
In that fierce moto two battle, Gibson had suffered a knee injury but despite being in immense pain, he still decided to compete in the last MX1 clash, and what a wise move that may have proved to be! Grabbing the holeshot he led all the way, resisting pressure from both Burton and in the latter stages Dodd. With Burton then encountering a slightly misbehaving rear wheel, he was forced to back off and reluctantly settle for a safe 3rd as his teammate Dodd continued to rapidly reel in Gibson. With then just one lap remaining, Dodd was ready to pounce only for the contest to be red-flagged due to a fallen rider. Also in trouble in this moto was Carless, gating in 10th he got up to 6th only to suffer mechanical gremlins which resulted in an eventual 19th place finish. So on the podium it was Burton, Gibson and Dodd, mirroring current positions in the Championship table. Afterwards MX1 winner Burton said, “I’ve increased my lead in the Championship with another 1st overall so I am very happy. I would like to say a massive thanks to FUS FRO CPS Husqvarna, my mechanic Mark Jordan and all my friends and family for their continued support.”
There was drama right at the start of the opening MX2 moto with amongst others Jansen Day and defending Champion Josh Waterman finding themselves involved in a big collision. Quickly on their feet despite the crunching impact, the two pilots now had it all to do as the fast Bradley Tranter grabbed the holeshot and thus lead the pack. One lap in and Luke Dean who had earlier posted the fastest qualifying time hit the front and there he stayed. Along with Dean, the front five which consisted of Tranter, Clinton Barrs, Ray Rowson and Cory McShane broke away leaving Lewis King after gating right down in 19th to take a great 6th. Also recovering in style was Waterman, storming through the pack to earn a fantastic 10th, just behind Jack Gardner, Jack Cox and Luke Mellows.
Recovering from his earlier spill, Day made a very quick start to lead the pack in MX2 moto two before that man Dean, turning on the style and right on the gas quickly found a way through. From here onwards it was Dean all the way from Waterman, Day, Barrs, Cox and King. After starring in the opening clash, Tranter had an early nightmare in moto two, falling twice on lap one. Going right down to 27th, he then showed tremendous determination and controlled aggression to get back to 11th, a super ride. Dramatically in this moto, Ray Rowson the series leader and expected title front runner was to injure his shoulder when in 9th being forced out of the moto and the rest of the meeting.
Ryan Morris, King and finally Waterman all took turns to lead MX2 moto three in what was another thrilling scrap. After Waterman had worked overtime to fight off a persistent King for the win, King the fast TMC Kawasaki pilot then came under pressure himself from Dean who had started in 13th. In a very close finish, King just held onto 2nd spot by the very narrowest of margins. Also in the mix was Day, Tranter, Barrs, Mellows and Jonathan Roderick-Evans whilst Cox had to settle for 20th this time around after a painful early crash. With King grabbing that 2nd spot it also meant that he took the final podium place after finishing level on points with the hard charging Barrs. On the podium, winner Dean was naturally a very happy man, “It was a great day’s racing and the Dursley club had the track in the best shape possible considering the recent dry weather. Getting a good start was crucial as it was hard to make up time. I had two good ones and a last race mid-pack which all helped me to quickly push hard at the front. Getting my first MX2 overall for the SevenSeven2 Yamaha UK team I am delighted.”
Just one week earlier, Brad Turner had blasted to maximum points in the opening 2T round. But showing just how quickly fortunes can change in motocross racing, at Nympsfield Brad encountered one of those crazy days when he found himself generally in the wrong place at the wrong time! The end result was 11th overall which thus saw him slip back to 2nd in the Championship table behind Jason Kendrick.
Shaun Buchan made a super quick start in the opening 2T action at Nympsfield only to slip off on the tight turn one, an incident which also held up Turner. At the front is was Sam Smith leading all the way to take the win from Bradley Doyle and Kendrick. Somehow after that turn one incident, Turner incredibly got right back to a fantastic 4th with James Lane, Tony Griffiths, Jordan Saunders, after initially gating down in 31st, Sean Eckersley, Jake Morgan and Dylan Hodgkins inside the top ten. After grabbing the early glory holeshot, Buchan got back to 18th.
Race two and it was Kendrick all the way from gate to flag with Griffiths right there for close company throughout in a great tussle. Starting with a spill, Turner had to again turn on the gas, slicing through the pack from 31st right up to bag 3rd and finish just ahead of Doyle, Saunders and Ashley Beniston. With Lane and Jack Waterman both falling in this race, Eckersley was next in the standings taking 6th, just infront of moto one winner Smith. After being caught up in turn one carnage, Smith then produced an outstanding ride to claim 7th.
Making his best start of the day, Turner’s Nympsfield nightmare was completed in moto three when he picked up a rear wheel puncture when holding 4th. Eventually stopping to have a rapid wheel change, he was to be credited with a 31st place finish. At the front, with Doyle crashing it was Buchan who grabbed the holeshot before Smith took over on lap two. Racing onto the win Smith took the honours in this one from Kendrick in 3rd, Lane, Hodgkins and Beniston. So on the podium it was Smith from Kendrick and Griffiths.
Following round one of the 2017 Vets Championship, James Russell, Simon Lane and Terry House all finished on 164 points. And during round two on Sunday, these aces again dominated proceedings by filling the top three in the moto’s. This time around though, Russell was a convincing winner and has now built an early 22 point lead for himself in the title table. Although Darren Bennett had grabbed the moto one holeshot, from here onwards it was Russell all the way as House just got the better of Lane. Bennett eventually took 4th from Richard Chinn, Gary Jones and Martin Atherton.
In both moto’s two and three it was again Russell leading from gate to flag as Lane got the better of House. In all three contests though, Chinn was the star aboard his two-stroke TM, producing great rides and always at the top end of the leaderboard. His reward for that sterling effort was a richly deserved 4th overall ahead of Atherton, Jones, Brian Staples, Stephen Elford, Richard Vincent and Stephen Marlow. This class also featured the popular former AMCA 750cc Champion Andy Watkins who went onto earn 12th overall.
With Richard Meakin and Andrew Hill taking the Non-Qualifiers victories the action was over. Promoting the opening two rounds of the Championship and just seven days apart was a very brave and bold move by the Dursley MXC but they pulled it off! Its now over to the Cannock MXC when battle resumes at Lower Drayton on the last day of April! Report and pics by Mike Wood.