Monster Energy Arenacross, powered by Ford Ranger, continued its weekend in Newcastle on Sunday at the Metro Radio Arena.
Cedric Soubeyras took to the soft Newcastle soil like a duck to water on Saturday night. The Geartec Yamaha rider absolutely dominated proceedings on Saturday, winning every race he entered and eventually taking home his first ever Monster Energy Arenacross main event win.
The Frenchman looked to continue that form on Sunday afternoon as round nine of Arenacross got under way.
Youth and Pro Lites
The Supermini race had a lot to live up to after we saw an epic duel between Harry Kimber and Kacey Hird in the first heat behind closed doors earlier in the day.
Harry Kimber walked away from that first heat victorious after a great battle with the Kawasaki Team Green rider.
Kimber was looking to put his Hardcore racing Husqvarna back on the top step in the second Supermini race of the day.
Harry was able to do just that after taking the holeshot and riding a smooth and consistent race out front. Kacey Hird tried his hardest to put a stop to the older rider’s dominance.
Kimber had a lot of lapped riders to deal with, it looked as though Hird may have been able to capitalise on this. The team green rider closed the gap slightly but Kimber’s excellent race craft saw him carve through the slower riders with relative ease on his way to taking the race win and extending his points lead once again.
Another notable performance in the Supermini class came from Ben ‘Beans’ Clayton. The young lad from Wheeldon Farm in Devon was able to make a good start on his 150 Honda, consistently jumping the finish line double, keeping the front two riders honest and fend off attacks from a charging Preston Williams on his way to taking his second podium spot of the season.
The race finished with Kimber in the lead, Hird in second and Ben Clayton in third.
In the 65 class Ollie Colmer was looking for redemption after missing out on the podium in front of his home crowd on Saturday night.
He started on the right foot, taking the holeshot on Sunday afternoon. Colmer was followed by his championship rival Kiean Boughen. Tye Jones and new boy Bailey Johnston battled over third position. But the race everyone was watching was for the lead.
As the laps counted down Boughen was slowly able to chip away at Colmer’s lead. Both riders had the Rhythm lanes dialled on their little 65cc machines. As the last lap board came out Boughen was all over Colmer. But the local lad gave it everything he had to fend off the attacks.
Ollie Colmer was able to claim an emphatic race win in front of his hometown crowd in what was one of the coolest moments of the weekend. Boughen happily took second place – keeping a firm grasp of his points lead – and Jones was able to keep Bailey Johnston at bay to take third place.
We saw some of the tightest racing of the year in the Pro Lites class this weekend in Newcastle.
AX ace Joe Clayton took the holeshot on Sunday afternoon and looked to clear off. But his championship rival George Clark had different ideas. It’s interesting the watch these two riders with their contrasting styles and techniques battle it out. Clark lets it all hang loose and is very fluid on the bike. Clayton is very clinical and precise, rarely making a mistake.
Once again lapped riders came into play. Being the leading rider Clayton found it more difficult to find his way through the congested race track. But Clark simply followed the way paved by the Husqvarna rider.
With one lap to go Clark mounted his attack on Clayton, but Clayton couldn’t be bested. The Husqvarna rider took the win from Clark who was second. Edward Briscoe claimed the final podium position.
The SR75 Molson Racing Suzuki have done something very right with their Suzuki’s. Thomas Ramette was able to bag his fourth holeshot of the weekend – in as many races – in the first heat race on Sunday afternoon.
He was pursued by two Brits, SJR Kawasaki’s Jack Brunell in second and Buildbase Honda’s Adam Chatfield in third. The two home grown riders were looking fast and comfortable in the soft Newcastle dirt – they were able to keep the pressure on the reigning champ for the entirety of the race. Meanwhile Harri Kullas was also looking to join the party.
The MVRD rider attempted to make a few moves on Chatfield, but he couldn’t quite seal the deal. This allowed the new guy on the block, Xavier Boog, to creep up and steal fourth place from beneath Kullas’ feet on the very last lap. The race finished with Ramette in first, Brunell second and Chatfield third.
Cedric Soubeyras still hasn’t quite nailed his starting techniques just yet, but that is no skin off the nose of the Frenchman.
LPE Kawasaki’s Florent Richier grabbed the heat two holeshot but Soubeyras was able to quickly make moves to take over the race lead – that’s a sentence that I feel I have repeated a lot this weekend.
Soubeyras’ aggressive riding style lets him make passes and make them quickly. Meaning that even if he does only get a mediocre jump out of the gate, he can more often than not find himself in the lead by the second corner.
As Soubeyras led the pack, Richier followed him in second and Collin Jurin looked abnormally aggressive in third place. The big American was able to muscle his way around Richier to take over third position.
Richier took a moment to recompose before he mounted a counter attack on the X Bladez Husqvarna rider. Using his silky smooth, flowing technique Richier was able to find a way back around Jurin to reclaim second position. The Frenchman immediately gapped the American.
Out front Cedric Soubeyras looked to be on rails on his way to taking the heat race win. Richier was second, Jurin third and Buildbase Honda’s Angelo Pellegrini was fourth.
Chatfield took the holeshot in pro heat 3. The Buildbase Honda rider finally looked like his old self in Newcastle on the weekend.
He was followed by the champ Ramette and Pellegrini. Despite a slam that saw the Italian pull out of the main event on Saturday night Pellegrini looked as fast and stylish as ever on Sunday afternoon.
Angelo was able find a way around Ramette to make it a Buildbase Honda 1-2.
But Pellegrini wasn’t finished there.
Angelo was quite obviously feeling the flow in pro heat 3 – he was soon able to make a move around Chatfield to take over the race lead. Nevertheless Mr. Buildbase must’ve been happy as Pellegrini took the heat win, with his team-mate behind him in second. Thomas Ramette rounded off the podium in third place.
Boog took the holeshot it pro heat 4. The LPE replacement rider led the majority of the race on board his surrogate steed.
With a little more bike time Boog may be one to watch as we head into the final two rounds of the AX season. Soubeyras and Brunell followed Boog early on. Soubeyras searched for a passing opportunity and eventually found one to take over the race lead and continue his perfect weekend. Boog kept hold of second position and Brunell continued his consistent weekend in third.
Coulon found himself in the LCQ once again on Sunday afternoon. But Coulon was able to take the holeshot, ride a smooth and consistent race, take the win and the SR75 Molson Racing Suzuki pilot transferred to the main.
Matt Bayliss would finish the race in second taking the final direct transfer position. After some of the best riding of his season so far Kullas was unable to get a decent jump out of the gates in the LCQ and failed to make his way to a transfer position.
Luckily for the MVRD rider the promoters had noticed his prowess in Newcastle and gifted the very last spot in the main event to the Finish rider as he was chosen as ‘promoter’s choice.’
We saw not one but two photo finishes in the head-to-head tournament on Sunday. The first of which was between Pellegrini and Boog.
Boog put up a great fight but Pellegrini was the man who walked away with the race win.
The next photo finish would be between two Brits – Chatfield and Brunell.
Both riders were on top form this weekend but Chatfield was able to just edge a win over his good friend.
None of these riders however had an answer for either Ramette or Soubeyras. The two Frenchmen defeated everyone in their path on the way to the head-to-head final.
This meant that we had a grudge match on our hands between two bitter rivals to decide the head-to-head champion on Sunday. After a great, clean race Ramette was able to take the win and put a stop to Soubeyras’ perfect weekend.
In almost an exact repeat of Saturday night’s main event Ramette took the holeshot before quickly being passed by the flying Frenchman Soubeyras.
He stretched out a nice lead while Ramette defended his position from an Italian onslaught.
Pellegrini sat third early on while Chatfield and Brunell battled over fourth position.
Ramette couldn’t hold off Pellegrini for long, the Italian leaped past the Frenchman in a technical rhythm lane to take over second position.
Just moments after taking over second a stray tuff block in the whoop section took down Pellegrini and knocked him out of the podium race. That was the end to an unlucky weekend for the Italian.
That meant that Ramette was able to reclaim second position and Chatfield inherited third place after the misfortune of his team-mate.
However, Chatfield had his hands full as both Brunell and Coulon piled on the pressure. Cat and mouse games between Brunell and Coulon allowed Chatfield a bit of breathing space as the final lap approached.
Soubeyras went on to take a commanding main event win, showing everyone what he is truly capable of. Ramette came home in second and Chatfield held on for third.
“Sunday didn’t go quite as well as Saturday but it was still pretty good,” said Soubeyras. “I won everything again tonight except from the head-to-head final.
“I was focusing on the main event – there are only four points in the head-to-head so I just wanted to focus on the main.
“In the main I had a good start behind Thomas [Ramette] and then I passed him in the second turn. I then just kept my rhythm.
“In the heats I didn’t want to show what I was really able to do and then in the final I pushed my hardest and everyone could see what I was really able to do and that I could go faster.
“I finished with a good lead, now I’m looking forward to the next race.”
The championship chase has taken a dramatic turn in the last couple of weeks. Can anybody stop the Soubeyras freight train? Will Ramette bounce back strong in Sheffield?
Could we possibly have a British main event winner before this is all over? We’ll have answers to a few of those questions in a couple of week’s time when the 2016 Monster Energy Arenacross Tour visits the steel city on February 13.
Pro Main Event
- Cedric Soubeyras #120 Geartec Yamaha, 24.172
- Thomas Ramette #1 SR75 Molson Racing Suzuki, 24.97
- Adam Chatfield #407 Buildbase Honda, 25.683
- Jack Brunell #155 SJR Kawasaki, 25.581
- Cyrille Coulon #5 SR75 Molson Racing Suzuki, 25.596
- Matt Bayliss #4 Wooldridge Demolition, 25.831
- Harri Kullas #151 MVRD Fuel Husqvarna, 25.31
- Collin Jurin #3 Xbladez Husqvarna, 25.028
- Xavier Boog #121 LPE Kawasaki, 25.922
- Florent Richier #2 LPE Kawasaki, 26.642
- Cedric Soubeyras #120 Geartec Yamaha, 171
- Thomas Ramette #1 SR75 Molson Racing Suzuki, 163
- Cyrille Coulon #5 SR75 Molson Racing Suzuki, 139
- Fabien Izoird #871 LPE Kawasaki, 128
- Adam Chatfield #407 Buildbase Honda, 116
- Jack Brunell #155 SJR Kawasaki, 115
- Florent Richier #2 LPE Kawasak,i 101
- Angelo Pellegrini #941 Buildbase Honda, 100
- Matt Bayliss #4 Wooldridge Demolition, 99
- Josh Hansen #100 SJR Kawasaki, 79
- SR75 Molson Racing Suzuki, 302
- LPE Kawasaki, 253
- Buildbase Honda, 216
- SJR Kawasaki, 207
- Geartec Yamaha, 174
- Wooldridge Honda, 112
- Xbladez Husqvarna, 82
- MVRD Fuel Husqvarna, 57
- Hitatchi Revo Husqvarna, 57
- Shocktech Honda, 9
Pro Lites Main Event
- Joe Clayton #14, 25.374
- George Clarke #161, 25.556
- Edward Briscoe #56, 27.037
Pro Lites Championship
- Joe Clayton #14, 351
- George Clarke #161, 315
- Jordan Moxey #981, 279
Supermini Main Event
- Harry Kimber #78, 28.677
- Kacey Hird #28, 28.968
- Ben Clayton #11, 29.253
- Harry Kimber #78,343
- Kacey Hird #28, 292
- Lewis Hall #419, 291
Junior 65 Main Event
- Ollie Colmer #6, 35.657
- Kiean Boughen #5, 34.796
- Tye Jones #221, 35.63
Junior 65 Championship
- Kiean Boughen #5, 319
- Ollie Colmer #6, 313
- Jak Taylor #22, 255