Elliott Banks-Browne sewed up the 2011 Red Bull Pro Nationals MX2 crown with a gutsy ride at the series finale at Culham.
The DB Racing Honda rider has led the series from the get-go but he’s been forced to contest the last few rounds with a painful wrist injury which has meant Relentless Suzuki by TAS pilot Mel Pocock’s been able to close up in the standings. But at Culham EBB managed to beat Mel across the line in the opening moto to secure his first major pro title.
“It feels amazing, it hasn’t really sunk in at the minute but to be the Red Bull Pro National MX2 champion is amazing,” says Elliott. “I did all I had to do – I had some real sketchy moments out there, my hand came off the bars, all sorts – but I did what I needed to do and I won the championship. I really can’t say any more – it’s amazing”
When the gate dropped for the first moto it was Boost Energy KTM’s Martin Barr with the quickest reactions as he tore into turn one in first place. With MX1 champ Brad Anderson having a bad start Jake Nicholls slotted into second with pole-setter Gert Krestinov in third. Further back in the field EBB had a shocker of a start but Pocock’s title ambitions took a turn for the worse as a crash left him mired down the field in 41st place at the end of lap one.
Within a couple of laps Anderson had regrouped and began working his way forwards, picking off Krestinov and Nicholls in successive laps before hunting down Barr who was trying to make a break at the front. No matter how hard Barr pushed Ando seemed to have the measure of him and on lap five the PAR Honda rider made his move and relieved Barr of the lead.
Further back in the MX1 class Samsung Yamaha’s Kristian Whatley was laying down some fast laps, overtaking Nicholls and moving up onto the back wheel of Krestinov who was sitting in third. With Krestinov struggling in some of the deep ruts Whatley put his line picking skills to good use to take third in the 11th lap. With his wrist starting to hurt EBB started to make some mistakes, nearly going over the bars on one of the downhills. Knowing that Pocock was still behind him EBB was able to drop the pace slightly – losing a couple of spots in the process – and crossed the line in fifth.
In the second moto it was the LPE Kawasaki of Gert Krestinov who was quickest out of the gate with Anderson and Lane’s Kawasaki’s Alex Snow filling out second and third spot. Krestinov proceeded to lay down some blistering laps as he tried to gap the field but within four laps Anderson had hunted down and passed the Kawasaki rider. Samsung Yamaha’s Kristian Whatley soon followed Ando through before putting the hammer down and closing in on race leader Anderson.
Further back in fourth and fifth places Boost KTM team-mates Martin Barr and Nez Parker were having their own battle with Barr on the 350 struggling a bit against the 450. After several laps Barr passed Parker, only to push the front end out, drop it and allow Parker back past. But Barr wasn’t the only one to take a soil sample as Whatley made a mistake through the whoops and dropped it and while he didn’t lose any positions, any chance of challenging Ando for the lead were long gone.
In the MX2 class Bryan Mackenzie took a well deserved victory, which also gave him his first overall of the season. Neville Bradshaw continued his fine run of form by finishing second and newly crowned MX2 champ Elliott Banks-Browne put a pass on Mel Pocock three laps before the end to take third place and third overall.