During a season in which he has been left frustrated by niggling injury woes, Marsh MX Honda pilot Shane Carless can at last see some positive light at the end of the tunnel! At Brookthorpe on Sunday during round seven of the AMCA British Championship, the Welshman went 3/1/1 to deservedly top the MX1 podium. In what as been a tough, ultra-competitive campaign, another rider struggling with injury at present is MX1 series leader Luke Burton. However one again the FUS FRO CPS Husqvarna rider defied a very painful knee to somehow take 2nd on the day with Ryan Crowder the winner during round six on the box in 3rd. That result means that with just two back to back rounds to come in September, Burton is edging ever closer to retaining his crown.
In MX2, Ray Rowson on the Apex Geartec KTM banged in another big, smooth maximum score to thus extend his lead at the top of the standings to 70 points. Joining him on the Brookthorpe podium was defending Champion Josh Waterman and a very happy Bradley Tranter. Also grabbing maximum points to increase his 2T Championship advantage was Brad Turner as Jordan Saunders and Shaun Buchan completed the top three. In the final class for Vets it was the same old familiar story with series leader James Russell taking top honours from Terry House and Simon Lane.
So in this series powered by Datatag and supported by Dunlop in which there as been plenty of great action, the recently revamped and superbly prepared Brookthorpe circuit promised plenty more of the same, and that’s just the way it turned out to be! Throwing the gauntlet down to the big MX1 stars on their booming 450F mounts, it was to be 250cc 2T Gibson Tyres Yamaha mounted Adam Harris who posted the fastest qualification time. And in the opening MX1 contest, Harris was certainly again right on it. Taking the win though was Gary Gibson after being locked in a great battle with his title rival Luke Burton. Passing and repassing, the contest was decided when Burton’s motor stalled in a deep, rutted corner. The man on a charge in this one was Shane Carless, going from 8th up to 3rd and thus finish ahead of Ryan Crowder, Harris, Paul Neale, Luke Meredith and Jack Timms.
Whilst both Harris and Neale fell in the early stages of MX1 moto two, this contest was to develop into an absolute classic at the front. Initially and much to the delight of the local supporters it was Timms who had grabbed the holeshot before coming under intense pressure from Burton, Crowder and Carless. Adding extra interest to the moto, first race winner Gibson was down in 10th and with it all to do. At the front, Carless timed his move to perfection, surging into pole position with just a couple of laps remaining and thus take the win with Burton 2nd and Crowder 3rd. Taking 4ht was the hard charging Gibson whilst Meredith had also stormed through in style for 5th just ahead of early pace-setter Timms. With early faller Neale getting back to 11th, Ed Briscoe, Matt Ridgway, Andrew Smart and Brandon Benjamin were also right in there and fighting hard.
In the last MX1 clash which had to be restarted, it was Carless leading just about all the way to confirm a richly deserved overall verdict as Crowder produced another accomplished ride to bag 2nd with Burton in 3rd. The ever consistent Ashley Thomas, Briscoe, Smart and Neale were in the frame as Gibson had to settle for 8th. After injuring his ribs in moto two, the unfortunate Northern Irish rider crashed in this clash aggravating the pain! Afterwards the podium topper Carless said, “After having had injury problems just about all season, I was really pleased with this one and felt good on the bike all day. Not only did I take the win but I also convincingly recorded the fastest lap time during racing. Many thanks to Marsh MX and all my sponsors for their help.”
Recording the fastest qualifying time, MX2 series leader Ray Rowson then grabbed the moto one holeshot before being quickly passed by Luke Dean. For Dean though that glory was to be short-lived as he fell on lap two dropping right down to 14th. From here onwards it was Rowson leading all the way chased hard by Josh Waterman with Bradley Tranter having a great ride to bag 3rd. Loving the big Brookthorpe jumps, Jansen Day surged from 8th up to 4th and Lewis King went from 13th up to 7th. With Jack Cox, James Wainwright, Ryan Jones and Chris Povey also right in there, Dean after that earlier off took 8th. Not so fortunate in this moto was Luke Mellows, suffering a massive off which forced him out.
In MX2 moto two it was Rowson all the way as Waterman quickly moved up from 4th to slot into 2nd ahead of Tranter, Dean, Wainwright, Clinton Barrs, Day and Cox. After falling early on, King charged back from 18th to 9th whilst a battered and bruised Mellows showed great character to earn 10th.
As Rowson controlled MX2 moto three from start to finish, Day was holding 2nd early on until suffering an uncomfortable off. Going through the whoops section, his feet slipped off the footpegs, losing contact with his bike. Frantically trying to retrieve the situation he eventually hit the ground and dropped to 17th. Also well outside the top ten in the early stages, Waterman had to work hard and produce a strong ride to earn an eventual 6th. This was to be a very profitable moto for Team FUS as Cox got home in 2nd from teammate Tranter in 3rd and Dean, King, Barrs, Mellows and Wainwright the next best. After his earlier spectacular moment, Day took 13th in this one but the happiest MX2 rider on the day was certainly Tranter. Smiling with delight at his 3rd overall he said, “I felt really good in qualifying and thought that this might be my day. I then record a hat-trick of strong 3rd places my best performance of the season and on the podium. So happy for Team FUS and all the sponsors.”
Although not being totally satisfied with his riding at Brookthorpe, 2T series leader Brad Turner quickly got into his stride to comfortably win the opening contest. In the mix was Jason Kenderick who passed Dylan Hodgkins for 2nd, Jordan Saunders, the spectacular Rory Jones, Shaun Buchan, Bradley Doyle, Matthew Nash, Jordan Wright and Tony Griffiths.
Kenderick led 2T moto two from Saunders and Turner and quickly a super three way battle for top spot was developing. For a couple of laps battle raged between these top 2T aces until Turner stretched that throttle wire to zoom past both his rivals in one swoop. So on completion it was Saunders taking 2nd with Kenderick 3rd, Buchan 4th, James Lane 5th and young Jones 6th.
Kenderick was again the fastest rider away in the last 2T moto before that man Turner went through. Despite that pass on him, Kenderick though remained in 2nd and looking good for an eventual podium spot before going missing from proceedings. This must have been total frustration for Kenderick who had also been well on course for an overall top three placing during the last round at Boraston before again suffering a last race DNF! So with the unfortunate Jason out, Buchan took 2nd and Sanders 3rd in the moto to also confirm their places on the Brookthorpe box. With another very strong performance, Jones got home in 4th in this final battle chased hard by Wright, Nash and Richard Lloyd.
In a typically entertaining opening Vets moto, series leader James Russell on his Premier Bikes KTM grabbed the holeshot to lead from Simon Lane and Terry House. Quickly House closed on the front two only to fall and lose ground. Once again though the determined KTM pilot fought back to snatch 2nd away from Lane with Gary Jones, Richard Chinn, Darren Bennett and Brian Staples the next best.
After just missing out in moto one, House made amends in the second clash all be it by the very narrowest of margins! In a great battle, on the run in to the chequered flag, House took the outside line whilst Russell dived for the inside, Terry getting the verdict by just a tyre’s width as Lane took 3rd and all the usual suspects filled the remaining top ten places.
So it was down to a House v Russell last moto decider for the Vets overall top slot. But it was Darren Bennett who grabbed the holeshot before quickly being replaced by Lane who went on to take the win and thus spoil the party as Russell finished in 2nd spot. Earlier in the contest, House was right on it and inserting tremendous pressure on Russell before crashing and having to settle for 3rd. Jones, Chinn, Bennett, Staples and Paul Wieczorek were the next best in this one but the end result was another crucial overall win for Russell as he now extends his series lead to 84 points. Words and pics by Mike Wood.