Buildbase Honda’s Jake Nicholls was reduced to the role of helpless spectator as the Maxxis ACU British Motocross MX1 Championship supported by Pro Clean title was snatched away from him at the final round of the series at Lyng in Norfolk on Sunday.
The 28-year-old had led the series on his CRF450R since round two in April but a broken tibia and fibula sustained at a local race two weeks ago sidelined him for the championship finale. Leading by 39 points heading into the seventh and final round, he lost the title by just five points to Russia’s Evgeny Bobryshev.
In the MX2 class Josh Gilbert stormed to second overall with a 3-2 card to lock down second in the championship behind Conrad Mewse following a breakthrough season while the team’s MXY2 rider Callum Green put in a typically gritty performance.
“The pain of dealing with a broken tib and fib the last two weeks has been tough but the pain I’m dealing with right now after watching my championship disappear right in front of me is so, so much worse,” said Jake. “I’m absolutely heart-broken and so sorry for my team, sponsors, friends and family.
“Such a good, fun season absolutely destroyed by dabbing my foot two weeks before the last race. I’ve worked so hard for this as have my team but I will work every bit as hard for next season.”
Bulgarian Petar Petrov also took up a wild card ride for the team in MX1, ending the day just off the podium in fourth.
Josh went into the final round trailing Mewse by 14 points but was just one point ahead of third-placed rider Mel Pocock. Slipping to third in the standings behind Pocock after the opening moto, he fought back in race two with a solid, confident display to re-establish his series second place.
“Obviously I’d have liked to have won the championship but it was a big ask at the start of the day to pull back 14 points and Conrad has been the man to beat all year,” said Josh. “I have to be happy with second – if someone had offered me that at the start of the year I would have bitten their arm off.
“It’s a great way to end the season, especially in the second race. I got a good start and tried to hang with Conrad – he got away a little bit at the beginning but I managed to keep the gap constant and broke away from the rest of the field. I’m over the moon with the speed I showed – me and Conrad basically checked out.”
Callum, who led the youth championship chase after the opening round before picking up a shoulder injury, recorded a 5-8-2 scorecard.
Team boss Dave Thorpe knows all about the highs and lows of professional motocross and took Jake’s disappointment on the chin while at the same time highlighting the positives of Josh’s season.
“To be honest it was heart-breaking watching it all unfold,” said Dave. “I feel for Jake and all the guys in the team – everyone has worked so hard this season to get where we got to but that’s just the way racing can be. It’s all part and parcel of what we do.
“Josh rode very, very well today to finish second overall on the day and make sure of second in the championship. To be fair Conrad deserved to win but Josh has had a fantastic season and has made huge improvements across the board.
“Callum’s a tough kid with a big heart and lots of talent. He’s had a hard season but rides with a passion and a commitment that he shares with every member of the team.
“I’d like to say a big thank you to Buildbase, Honda and of all our other partners who have made racing possible this year.”