Top level motocross returned to northeast Scotland on Sunday when the hard-working Ecosse XC, club returned to Tyninghame Links with its popular SACU Winter MX series, for the first time since early 2020.
Inclement weather conditions in the weeks leading up to the event, meant the deep-sand track was not as dry as in previous years, which made for deeply rutted and difficult race conditions. However, the 250-plus riders who turned out for the much-anticipated event, managed to cope with the situation and early reports indicate that a good time was had by all.
The hard-charging A group riders enjoyed plenty of action with Carlton Husband taking the overall on the day ahead of Sam Atkinson and Daniel Hutchinson. In the first moto, Hutchinson was in an early lead, but was passed by Husband at mid-race distance. Husband held the lead to the flag, with Hutchinson second. Fort moved steadily through from fifth to third while Graham Blacklock, who had dropped down from second after the start, brought it home in fourth. Euan McConnel was fifth and Atkinson sixth.
Hutchinson was again first off the line in the second race, with Husband a close second. Positions switched on the second lap and Husband romped home to the finish line over 20 seconds ahead of Hutchinson. Atkinson kept a steady pace to finish a close third. Dan Bewley was fourth, Fort fifth and James Barker worked hard to finish sixth, from a 13th place start.
The racing continued to be hard, fast and close in the third outing for the As. Atkinson snatched the lead from Husband around two-thirds race distance, relegating Husband to second by just over a second although Husband posted the fastest class lap time of 2:15.589 on lap two. Bewley was third and Barker again came from the middle of the pack to claim fourth. Hutchinson started well and held the lead for two laps in the early stages, but tailed off in the last lap to finish fifth Fort was sixth.
Forty-two riders lined up for the B class which was headed by Ryan Garthwaite with flag-to-flag wins in the first two races and Jack Winthrop and Ivan Williams securing second and third. Taylor Misselbrook, Jack Hunter and Zander Martin took the fourth to sixth finish slots. The same three riders were out front in the second race with Robbie Scott and Austin Mowbray taking fourth and fifth.
In the final moto, Winthrop was flying off the start and maintained the lead until the closing seconds of the race when Garthwaite snatched victory with the finish line in sight. A little further back, Williamson and Scott enjoyed a battle for third and fourth with Jack Hunter picking off a few riders to take fifth and Paul McClung sixth.
An equally packed grid of riders turned out for the C class. Michael McLarty won the first race ahead of Louis Tobin, a gap of around 30 seconds then saw Ross Bradley take third. Gavin Lowes William Anderson and Robbie MacKenzie. Martyn Lyell started well in second but fell back through the pack to ninth. McLarty was pushed by Bradley in the second race but held on to take the lead with a slight margin of 1.46 seconds as the chequered flag fell. Stuart Wilson, Lyell, Anderson, and MacKenzie completed the top six. The last race saw a change of leader with Wilson putting in a strong performance to secure the win by just under six seconds ahead of Lyell and McLarty. MacKenzie claimed fourth, Bradley fifth and Anderson sixth.
In the combined Rookies and Vets class, the youngsters were out front on track with Ayden Smith who enjoyed a comfortable race one win. The battle was on behind him between Jay Cheel, Bradley Johnstone, and Charlie Henderson then Tyla Hooley and Ryan Gerrard. Top Vet was Michael Graham in ninth, Alan Thain was 12th and Gordon Morrison 14th – take one-two-three in the Vets group. The Vets gave the Rookies a run for their money in the second outing when Graham held a strong lead for the first few laps while Hooley blasted his way through the field from 10th off the line to take the lead on the last lap. Smith worked his way up from sixth to take second and Graham held on to third on track and the Vets win. Seventh in the race gave Thain a third place in the Vets category. Race 3, and Graham again showed the Rookies his rear wheel in the early stages. He was passed by Smith and then Hooley at the halfway point. He held onto third and won his class with Cheel, Henderson and Johnstone behind. Second place Vets was Thain in seventh and then Morrison 11th.
The SW and BW 85s ran together, with the big-wheels dominating on the track. Ryan Waggot was in a class of his own winning all three races in style. He blasted off the line, putting significant distance between himself Ryan Haddow to win the first race by over one minute. Haddow and Lucy Barker were evenly matched in second and third. Rhys Whyment held a steady and strong second until the last lap when he fell to fourth. Ebony Brown finished fifth and Zac Cheel sixth. Liam Bell was the top small-wheel rider, finishing seventh in the race. Hayden Statt was second in class, eight on track and Leo Self third and 12th.
The second moto was a duplicate of race one for Waggott. Whyment held second from the end of lap one and Barker looked good in third. Haddow was fourth and Statt put in a sterling performance to win the SW category and claim fifth in the race itself. Brown was sixth and Bell, the second SW rider, seventh. Scott was third home for the SWs in ninth. En route to another victory, Waggott posted a best lap time of the day in the opening lap of the last race – 1:36.345. Barker and Whyment were evenly placed lapping in second and third with Barlow getting the edge at the finish line. Haddow took a start to finish fourth, while Statt and Bell mirrored each other in terms of pace to pull up from the middle of the pack to round out the top six. Bell was second in the SWs and Lucas Lee third.
Twenty 65cc riders on the line witnessed Harry Hall take the first win ahead of Callum Smith, Jay Cooper, Brooklyn Tinkler, Caleb Shearer and Olly O’Brien. Race two, and Cooper moved up from sixth off the line to pass Smith on the fourth lap. Hall charged through from 12th to take fourth with Smith, Tinkler, Hall, Shearer and Baili Black – making up the top six finishers. Hall was back out front in the last race with a straight start-to-finish win, some 26-plus seconds ahead of Cooper who also held his start position to the finish, as did Shearer in third. Close racing ensued between Black, Maddox Patterson and Tinkler who rounded out the top six. Young Annabelle Bolt – cheered on from the trackside by big brother and World Champ Billy – proved to be one to watch by finishing a creditable eighth overall.
Overall results – top six:
As: 1. Carlton Husband 132, 2. Sam Atkinson 120, 3. Daniel Hutchinson 120, 4. Jamie Fort 111, 5. Dan Bewley 110, 6. James Barker 107.
Bs: 1. Ryan Garthwaite 135, 2. Jack Winthrop 126, 3. Ivan Williamson 120, 4. Jack Hunter 106, 5. Paul McClung 96, 6. Robert Smith 94.
Cs: 1. Michael McLarty 130, 2. Ross Bradley 118, 3. Stuart Wilson 115, 4. Martyn Lyell 112, 5. William Anderson 107, 6. Gavin Lowes 99.
Rookies: 1. Ayden Smith 132, 2. Tyla Hooley 123, 3. Jay Cheel 122, 4. Charlie Henderson 114, 5. Bradley Johnstone 112, 6. Aidee Smith 104.
Vets: 1. Michael Graham 132, 2. Alan Thain 122, 3. Gordon Morrison 114, 4. Ian Wilson 110, 5. Chris Galloway 105, 6. Steve Howes 103.
BW: 1. Ryan Waggott 135, 2. Lucy Barker 122, 3. Rhys Whyment 120, 4. Ryan Haddow 118, 5. Ebony Brown 108, 6. Zac Cheel 104.
SW: 1. Hayden Statt 132, 2. Liam Bell 129, 3. Leo Self 114, 4. Lucas Lee 110, 5. Finley Easton 106, 6. Scott McPhee.
65s: 1. Harry Hall 128, 2. Jay Cooper 127, 3. Callum Smith, 4. Brooklyn Tinkler 113, 5. Caleb Shearer 112, 6. Baili Black 104.
Ecosse XC runs under the auspices of the Scottish ACU and the club says it is largely thanks to the driving force of the Association’s Chairman Sandy Mack that the three-round series can run again this year. Round 2 of the Michelin Rock Oil BikespeedUK SACU Ecosse XC Winter MX will return to Tyninghame on the 16th of January 2022. Images: Peter Greenwood. Words: Jenni Foulkes