The impressively loud and cheering Sheffield crowd were treated to a battle royale last night at the last but one edition of the outstanding 2018 Power Maxed Arenacross Tour.
With just one week to go until that final round in London, a familiar scenario is starting to unfold as just three points separate red plate holder Cedric Soubeyras from racing rival Thomas Ramette.
Ramette grabbed the holeshot in the Main Event but he was soon pressured by Soubeyras who took the lead from his fellow countryman.
SR75 World Team Suzuki’s Ramette tried to hold on to Soubeyras but in the end, the #3-plated man and machine just had too much for the champion on the night.
Buildbase Honda’s Fabien Izoird was once again very solid, taking the last step on the podium while Adam Chatfield looked more like his old self as he claimed fourth place.
Shocktech Kawasaki’s Hugo Basaula had a strange event, at one point probably thinking it would be a day to forget. Struggling all day, he was forced to take the Head-to-Head route to make the Main Event – winning that against Brit Matt Bayliss. Hugo then followed that up with a sixth-place finish to take fifth overall.
Cyrille Coulon is sitting there amid the top runners too after securing fifth in the Main Event, despite tendon issue with his thumb.
Dan Reardon had a tough day at the office. Suffering from man flu, the popular Australian just wasn’t himself all night.
But despite feeling under the weather, he fought his way to the Main Event, but an early incident left him struggling at the back of the pack.
He’ll be bitterly disappointed after seeing the huge whoops in Sheffield, which would normally have been perfect for the veteran Supercross racer. On another day, this could well have been his first win of the AX Tour. Hopefully, he’ll be well enough next weekend for the Wembley finale.
Two other big names with high expectations, Elliott Banks-Browne and Evgeny Bobryshev, both struggled in qualifying, which didn’t make for the best gate picks for the night event. They both failed to register Heat results inside the top five.
Although they’ll both want to do well in the AX Tour, could they now be more focused on getting ready for the upcoming outdoors season?
So can this be the year Soubeyras lifts the crown and enjoys the spoils of his hard labour? Not if the rest of the pack have anything to do with it and the London finale really could turn things on its head. More on that in a moment.
AX Pro Lites
Joe Clayton revived from a second-place finish in the first of the two Pro Lites motos, in which Wooldridge Demolition’s Chris Bayliss put in a sterling performance to claim victory. Bayliss would miss out on the overall win with Clayton’s 2-1 besting Bayliss.
Clayton again made it through to the Pro Head-to-Head eliminator but couldn’t quite get the better of Coulon. A firm favourite with AX fans though, Clayton won the vote of the people and made it through to the Pro main event.
The Team Green Holeshot Kawasaki rider finished a creditable eighth overall on the night, beating many Pro regulars. Clayton has a strong lead in the championship, 27 points ahead of Chris Bayliss who, in turn, is 20 points ahead of Jason Meara in third.
AX Youth Classes
In the youth classes, Carl Osterman won both Supermini races, with Shaun Mahoney mirroring that result in the Youth 65cc. In the Supermini class, Newcastle’s Buster Hart still leads the championship with 214 points to Osterman’s 200 and Raife Broadley in third. Mahoney tops the 65cc leaderboard with 206 points, Zane Stephens is in second with 201 and Harvey Antrobus in third on 196.
As the sixth round of AX drew to a breath-taking conclusion, the Pro racers and their teams were already planning ahead to the big one, the holy grail of AX, the climax of the series, aka the Wembley final.
With double points up for grabs for the Pro riders at the last round, any one of the top eight contenders has a mathematical chance of winning the series.
Chances are that a Frenchman will lift the title since the top five are fellow countrymen. They are followed by a Portuguese in the form of Basaula and Australian Dan Reardon (I-Fly JK Yamaha), with another Frenchman, Adrien Escoffier (MVR-D St Blazey Husqvarna) in eighth.
AX Pro Overall Results – Sheffield
- Cedric Soubeyras, 22
- Thomas Ramette, 21
- Fabien Izoird, 17
- Adam Chatfield, 15
- Hugo Basaula, 14
- Cyrille Coulon, 13
- Charles Lefrancois, 12
- Joe Clayton, 11
- Adrien Escoffier, 10
- Julien Lebeau, 9
AX Pro Championship
- Cedric Soubeyras, France, Team FRO Systems, 106
- Thomas Ramette, France, SR75 World Suzuki, 103
- Charles Lefrancois, France, Buildbase Honda, 83
- Fabien Izoird, France, Buildbase Honda, 81
- Cyrille Coulon, France, SR75 World Suzuki, 76
- Hugo Basaula, Portugal, Shocktech Kawasaki, 74
- Dan Reardon, Australia, I-Fly JK Yamaha, 65
- Adrien Escoffier, France, MVR-D St Blazey Husqvarna, 65
- Jack Brunell, Team Green Holeshot Kawasaki, 51
- Ashley Greedy, Team FRO Systems, 45
AX Team Championship
- SR75 World Suzuki, 182
- Buildbase Honda, 165
- Team FRO Systems, 153
- MVR-D St Blazey Husqvarna, 91
- Team Green Holeshot Kawasaki, 89
- I-Fly JK Yamaha, 85
- Shocktech Kawasaki, 74
- RFX Suzuki, 44
- Geartech Husqvarna, 32
- GL12 KTM, 12
AX Pro Lites Overall Results – Sheffield
- Joe Clayton, Team Green Holeshot Kawasaki, 38
- Chris Bayliss, Buildbase Honda, 38
- Harry Kimber, 31
- Ben Clayton, 28
- Jason Meara, I-Fly JK Yamaha, 26
- Ben Burridge, 25
AX Pro Lites Championship
- Joe Clayton, 236
- Chris Bayliss, 209
- Jason Meara, 189
- Scooter Webster, 152
- Harry Kimber, 148
- Ben Clayton, 147
AX Supermini Overall Results – Sheffield
- Carl Osterman, 40
- Buster Hart, 36
- Kai Tucker, 30
- Robert Storer, 30
- Tommy Gilbert, 27
- Charlie Keight, 25
AX Supermini Championship
- Buster Hart, 214
- Carl Osterman, 200
- Raife Broadley, 174
- Tommy Gilbert, 162
- Robert Storer, 157
- Kai Tucker, 152
AX 65cc Overall Results – Sheffield
- Shaun Mahoney, 40
- Zane Stephens, 201
- Harvey Antrobus, 196
- Jake Davies, 183
- Kyron Carron, 161
- William Murphy, 130
The AX Tour now heads to Wembley for the final of the 2018 Power Maxed Arenacross Tour. With double overall points on the line it’s sure to be a must see.
Doors open at 6.30pm with the evening’s show hitting the start button at 7.30pm.