The hugely successful Apico 2-Stroke Festival, featuring the Red Bull Pro-Stroke National, returned to Sellindge in Kent last weekend, Saturday the 22nd and Sunday the 23rd of July.
Over 300 riders, including reigning and former British Champions, rocked up for the event which featured packed start-lines and non-stop action across a two-day celebration of all old-school style two-stroke motocross and modern-day four-stroke racing. It included ACU British Championship status for the 2-Stroke 125, Open, Evo and Super Evo classes. Its Over 40s Open 2-stroke attracted a packed field and, the Red Bull Noughties welcomed riders with machines from 2000 to 2008. The programme also included youth classes catering for 125, 250F, BW and SW85s.
Energy drinks giant Red Bull is once again supported the Festival over both days, with the Red Bull Pro-Stroke National Clubman MX1/MX2 and the Red Bull Pro-Stroke National, with classes for Pro/Expert MX1 and MX2.
With serious prize money and top-quality products up for grabs the racing was tight and competitive across all classes, giving the record Festival crowd plenty to cheer.
Saturday’s schedule was cut short due to a heavy dump of the wet stuff. The decision was supported by all riders as, thanks to the pre-event preparation and overnight maintenance, the track was in prime condition for the full set of racing on Sunday.
Conrad Mewse, Josh Gilbert and Tommy Searle were the ones to beat in the Red Bull Pro-Stroke National MX1 group. Mewse won both races in convincing style despite having to come through from the back opf the pack in moto one. Searle had led from Gilbert for much of the moto until Mewse came through to take the lead.
Mewse led race two from start to finish, with Gilbert taking the runners-up slot and Searle third in both. Brad Todd was fourth and Martin Barr, who also contested and finished third overall in the British Open Two-Stroke Championship on a SuperEvo Husky, was fifth on his regular Apico Husqvarna FC450.
In his adult debut, youth MXY2 star Billy Askew, is proving to be the one to watch. Having won the first Youth 250F race on Saturday. He fired out of the gate to go second and first and take the Red Bull Pro-Stroke National MX2 overall on Sunday.
Dylan Walsh was second overall with a third and second, out on a KTM 250 after splitting with Revo Kawasaki in the run up to the event. Josh Spinks, with an opening moto win followed by a sixth, rounded out the podium. Dylan Woodcock finished fourth, followed by Ollie Beamish in fifth.
On the British Championship front, Glenn McCormick cleaned up in the ACU British 125 Two-Stroke Championship with three wins from three starts. Young Wal Beaney took a third and two seconds and Rob Holyoake a second and two thirds. Twenty-seven riders packed out the grid for this popular group which saw former MotoGP race winner Bradley Smith take a solid fifth.
The ACU British Open Two-Stroke Championship was won by local rider Raife Broadley with a fourth place and two wins. Josh Coleman was runner up in all three races with MX1 Apico-supported Martin Barr topping off a busy and productive weekend with a seventh, fourth and third to secure third overall. The opening race of this British Championship class on Saturday was won by Matt Bayliss with Josh Coleman second and Tommy Searle, having a bit of fun and enjoying the sounds and smells of the smokers, in third.
Completing the British Championship classes were the ACU British Evo groups with combined Evo and Super Evo classes. Another local rider Steve Bixby made the British Evo his own by taking all three wins in the Evo Championship.
Jon Barfoot went three-two-two to take second and Scott Allen’s sixth, second and fifth earned him third overall. From the world of Quad racing, Sheldon Seal was the runner up in Saturday’s first race.
The British Super Evo saw the top three take the same finish positions in each moto with Josh Spinks, who was on fire having also secured third overall in the Red Bull Pro Stroke Nationals MX2, victorious in first place on his ex-Matt Porter CR500. Rob Holyoake, backing up his British 125 2-Stroke third place with another British podium placing in second and popular Welshman Glen Phillips in third.
Elsewhere in the Apico 2-Stroke Festival field, the Over 40s was won by Michael Chesney with three wins, followed by Paul Moore and Mike Allport. The Red Bull Noughties also had a clear winner with Charlie Nudds taking the honours, Josh Mayo second and Tom Brown third.
Sticking with the Red Bull featured classes, over 40 riders raced the mixed Pro Stroke Clubman MX1 and MX2. Ben Lambert, Paul Barrand and Chris Chapman completed the MX1 podium while Rheis Morter, John Waghorne and Connor Disano took the top steps in the MX2 class.
On the Youth scene, with over 60 riders booked in for the Youth 125 and 250F, the classes were split into A and B groups with qualification on Saturday deciding the grids. The 125 A class was won by Levi Saunders with Travis Laughton second and Max Corke third. Riding in the same group, the 250F was won overall by Liam Bennet, with Jake Cappa second and Reece Hall third. Billy Askew took the win in race one. Blake Monks, Jamie Taylor and Shane Woodsford were the 125 B top three.
The big-wheel and small-wheel 85s rode were out on track together. In the big-wheels, Charlie Richmond took the first two wins and Jamie Keith the third. Robbie Daly posted three third place finishes. The small-wheels was won by Ralph-Jay Holloway with triple wins, Harley Ince was second and Mason Doe third.
In a first for an ACU-supported national motocross event, some 60 junior riders across Autos A and B, Electric E4 and Electric E5, alongside Revvi balance bike 12” and 16” models had a blast on a purpose-built track where they could contest their own races safely away from the main arena. This an area Festival promoter Dave Willet intends to grow and will be working closely with manufacturers and major players within this expanding industry.
Commenting on the seventh successful running of the Apico Two-Stroke Fesitval featuring the Red Bull Nationals, Willet said; “It’s been an absolute insane month. We’ve been working hard behind the scenes to get everything ready and while it’s been a lot, it’s been so worth it. I can’t express how much I appreciate all the patience and support we’ve had from everyone.
“A big thank you to all the individuals, sponsors, and supporters who have helped us out. Without all of you, we wouldn’t be able to bring these events to life. I’m such a big supporter of UK motocross and I’d love to see our island become the go-to place for all things on two wheels.”
Red Bull Pro Stroke National MX1:
1. Conrad Mewse 90, 2. Josh Gilbert 84, 3. Tommy Searle 80.
Red Bull Pro Stroke National MX2:
1. Billy Askew 87, 2. Dylan Walsh 82, 3. Josh Spinks 80.
ACU British 125 two-stroke:
1. Glenn McCormick 135 points, 2. Wal Beaney 124, 3. Rob Holyoake 122.
ACU British Open two-stroke:
1. Raife Broadley 128 points, 2. Josh Coleman 126, 3. Martin Barr 112.
ACU British Evo two-stroke:
1. Steve Bixby 135 points, 2. Jon Barfood 124, 3. Scott Allen 111.
ACU British Super Evo two-stroke:
1. Josh Spinks 135, 2. Rob Holyoake 126, 3. Glen Phillips 120.
Red Bull Pro Stroke National Clubman MX1:
1. Ben Lambert 127, 2. Paul Barrand 125, 3. Chris Chapman 121.
Red Bull Pro Stroke National Clubman MX2
1. Rheis Morter 130, 2. John Waghorne 122, 3. Connor Disano 106.
Red Bull Noughties:
1. Charlie Nudds 135, 2. Josh Mayo 122, 3. Tom Brown 120.
Over 40s Open 2- stroke:
1. Michael Chesney 135, 2. Paul Moore 122, 3. Mike Allport 120.
A: 1. Levi Saunders 132, 2. Travis Laughton 127, 3. Max Corke 118.
B: 1. Blake Monks 132, 2. Jamie Taylor 115, 3. Shane Woodsford 110.
1. Liam Bennett 132, 2. Jake Cappa 124, 3. Reece Hall 118.
BW: 1. Charlie Richmond 132, 2. Jamie Keith 129, 3. Robbie Daly 120.
SW: 1. Ralph-Jay Holloway 135, 2. Harley Ince 124, 3. Mason Doe 122.
The 2023 Apico 2-Stroke Festival was supported by Red Bull, Ovenden Plant Hire, TW Services, ACS scaffolding, Harris Hire Hockley and Lee Dunham Racing.
Photos by Mark Lee Sing and Adam Duckworth