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Nicholls takes Lyng glory

Jake Nicholls extended his lead in the Maxxis British championship a Lyng with a narrow overall win, taking the stop step of the podium by a single point from Honda’s Graeme Irwin. And it was a surprise visitor to the third step of the podium as Estonian Honda rider Gert Krestinov took his first ever championship moto win in the second race to take him to third overall.

“To be honest I’m a little disappointed,” said Irwin, who was also second in the opening round at Culham where Nicholls dominated. “I should have won both races but I still need to say a big thanks to the team – everything was fantastic.”

The first MX1 race saw Nicholls lead from Steven Lenoir and Irwin who chased hard for the whole race. Nicholls managed to pull a slight gap on the last lap to take the win while Irwin managed to see off Lenoir. Elliott Banks-Browne was fourth, a long way back.

The second race saw Krestinov take the lead from holeshot man Lenoir who fell. There was a tight battle for the lead which he eventually won from Irwin, Nicholls and Lenoir who came back through the field and was the fastest man on the track.

Irwin was second overall

The hard man of the day award goes to Harri Kullas on the MVR-D Husky. He took a strong sixth overall in the MX1 class, and won both MX2 motos!

The first moto was led by championship leader Ben Watson from Martin Barr but Kullas got by and started to pull away. Watson came close at the end but had to take second place, with Barr third from Mel Pocock and Brad Todd.

Watson again led race two but once more Hullas got by and held his own at the front. Pocock had a storming ride to third for third overall, level on points with Barr who just missed out on a tie-break.

“It was a tough track to pass on but I’ve only lost one point in the championship. It’s been a slow start to the season for me after coming back from injury but I think I’m getting better and better,” said Barr, who came into round two carrying a bad shoulder injury sustained the previous weekend.

“I knew it was going to be tough today after injuring my shoulder when I crashed last week,” he said. “I was second quickest in qualifying so I was happy with that and I got a good start in race one and felt comfortable but on the fourth or fifth lap in one of the tight right-handers in a deep rut I caught the front brake lever and went down. Once I picked myself up I kept my head to finish third so it wasn’t so bad.

“I got an okay start in race two and tried to make some quick moves. Mel Pocock passed me and we had a battle the whole way to the end.

“With my injury it wasn’t so bad a day – it could have been better but it could have been a lot worse. There are plenty of races still to go and I’ve got a couple of weeks to rest up and hopefully come back stronger at round three.”

Photos by Nuno Laranjeira.

The ACU’s official version of events is:

Jake Nicholls (Hitachi KTM UK) kept his series win-streak going when he claimed the MX1 overall at the second round of the Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championship supported by Pro Clean at Cadders Hill, Lyng, on Sunday.

After dominating qualifying the local hero from just over the border in Suffolk raced to victory in the opening moto, leading every lap as he crossed the line over three seconds ahead of Graeme Irwin (Buildbase Honda) who snatched second from Steven Lenoir (Hobbs Racing Kawasaki) with a late pass as the pair encountered back-markers.

Elliott Banks-Browne (Geartec Husqvarna) came home fourth, 40 seconds behind the winner, with former champion Kristian Whatley (Apico Husqvarna) taking fifth from Finnish ironman Harri Kullas (MVR-D Route 77 Husqvarna) who again contested both pro classes.

Estonian fan-favourite Gert Krestinov (Phoenix Tools Honda) was seventh ahead of Jamie Law (Apico Husqvarna), Ashley Wilde (RFX KTM) and two-time champion Brad Anderson (Verde Sports Racing KTM).

On a track where passing was difficult it was Krestinov who led the way in race two from Irwin and Nicholls with the top three holding position for the full race distance.

Lenoir was a close fourth before a 48-second gap back to Anderson with Whatley sixth from Wilde, Kullas, Dubliner Stuart Edmonds (CCM Racing TM) and Ryan Houghton (iFly JK Yamaha).

Nicholls nicked the overall by one point ahead of Irwin with Krestinov filling the third step of the podium.

“Today was a good and bad day,” said Nicholls. “It was good because I got the overall win and the red plate but bad in terms of how I felt. I didn’t feel good with the bike – it was too stiff all day – and I had to ride my spare bike in the second race as well because I hit a post with the radiator in the first one and lost the water.

“My hands are still really, really sore from Mexico so I’m having to have this week coming up completely off the bike to let them rest. I tried taping them up but the second race was just bloody difficult to be honest. I put my heart and soul into trying to win it and came up short.

“I got blocked by back-markers twice. I came really close to passing into second and then onto the lead but back-markers destroyed that. But I battled on and got the win so that’s good but I need to rest now and get my hands right.”

After his double win at Culham last month, Ben Watson (Hitachi KTM UK) carried the MX2 red series leader’s plate at Lyng and after topping qualification by over a second and leading the opening moto for more than half-distance it looked ominous for his opposition.

But Kullas had other ideas and took the lead and the win with Martin Barr (Buildbase Honda), who was racing with a shoulder injury, recovering from a crash to take third ahead of Mel Pocock (REVO Husqvarna UK), Brad Todd (Putoline Planet Suspension Husqvarna) and Lewis Tombs (Lings Husqvarna).

Josh Gilbert (DTHORC Honda) was seventh chased by Todd Kellett (St Blazey MX Husqvarna), Luke Norris (Geartec Husqvarna) and Jordan Divall (Evotech KTM).

Watson led the second race from the opening lap with Kullas, after making a quick pass on Todd for second, close behind until in the closing stages a mistake left Watson on the ground long enough for the Finn to make a decisive pass.

Watson recovered quickly to finish 1.7 seconds back but comfortably ahead of Pocock whose crucial pass on Barr gave him third overall on a tie-break.

Todd was fifth from Tombs, Divall, Kellett, Liam Knight (Hobbs Racing Kawasaki) and Belgian MX2 champion Kevin Wouts.

“I am really tired now,” said Kullas who raced all four pro motos, “To go 1-1 today was really good but I was helped a bit when Ben [Watson] fell in the second race. We were really pushing each other the whole race.”

The pro classes were again supported by the MXY2 class where Keenan Hird (Craigs Kawasaki) ran 2-1 to take the overall from Tom Grimshaw (HCR Putoline Apico Yamaha) who won the opener but fell when leading race two. Jake Edey (Gear4 KTM) was third on a tie-break with Jack Cadawallader (RMJ Husqvarna UK).

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