Hitachi Revo Husqvarna’s Jake Nicholls continued to build his season with the overall in MX1 and Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Adam Sterry announced that he’s not out of the MX2 championship race with a perfect weekend at Desertmartin for round four of the Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championship, supported by Pro Clean.
In the youth class James Carpenter bagged another overall for the Holeshot Motocross team.
Buildbase Honda’s Graeme Irwin and Kristian Whatley were on it from gate drop and it was home-soil hero, Irwin, who led his team-mate Whatley around turn one with Nicholls, Tommy Searle and Shaun Simpson in tow. Fans urged Irwin on as he pulled an impressive gap right off the bat.
Searle found his rhythm on lap three and blitzed past Nicholls and Whatley for second. The Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki rider was looking good but there was an early warning that not all was well with his KX450F with bellowing smoke.
Simpson was understandably struggling with his broken hand and had to dig deep to keep Verde Sports KTM’s Brad Anderson at bay.
In a dramatic turn of events, Irwin handed over the lead to Searle when he crashed at the finish line jump, snapping his handlebars. Searle’s lead didn’t last long with his Kawasaki giving up, leaving the GP pilot with a DNF.
With both Irwin and Searle out, Nicholls who had passed a fading Whatley took over the lead and rode it home for an impressive first ever MX1 race win.
Anderson kept up the pace and passed Simpson and Whatley for second. Whatley tried to respond but had to settle for third with the Scot taking the chequers in fourth ahead of MVR-D Fuel 10K Husqvarna’s Tanel Leok.
“It was something in the head of the bike,” Searle said when asked about his mechanical failure. “I’ll probably just change the sprocket for race two,” he joked.
The skies opened up for the final MX1 race, which was led on the opening lap, once again, by Irwin. Race one winner, Nicholls, was hot on Irwin crossing the line on lap one with Searle all over him.
Searle launched pass Nicholls on the big tabletop and went after the fan favourite, Irwin, getting the job done on lap two. As Nicholls watched Searle drop the hammer, he felt he needed to do the same and a few turns later he managed to get Irwin for second.
With 10 minutes to go, Irwin got hard on the gas and railed around the outside of Nicholls, showed him a wheel and pushed him wide at the following turn to take back second place.
Searle pulled himself a massive lead before crashing spectacularly right in front of pitlane. Fortunately, he had a comfy margin and didn’t lose the lead, only 10 seconds or so. Irwin and Nicholls didn’t have a lot of hassles after their battle for second. The same can’t be said for the battle for fourth.
With the race all but over, Simpson, Whatley and Anderson all tossed fourth place about as the track developed some gnarly ruts and square edged bumps. It didn’t come easily, but Simpson put in a gritty performance for fourth, ahead of The Bulldog, Anderson, who rocketed up the inside of Whatley with two laps to go.
Nicholls topped the box for the first time in his career ahead of Anderson who landed on the second step, which is by far his best achievement this season. Simpson rounded off the podium with two hard-fought fourth place finishes and held the red plate.
Going in, Ireland’s own Buildbase Honda mounted Martin Barr led the MX2 championship by six points over Apico Husqvarna’s Steven Clarke, but it was Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Adam Sterry who stole their thunder in qualifying when he set the fastest time. Barr and Clarke trailed him, in that order too.
Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s James Cottrell got off to a cracker of a start, while the red plate holder and fan favourite, Martin Barr, had a shocker when he got tangled with another rider.
The poleman was around sixth out of turn one but shone on the red sand in Desertmartin and it wasn’t long before he had taken over the lead and checked out for his first race win of the season.
Meanwhile, after being passed by Sterry, Apico Husqvarna’s Bryan MacKenzie found some nice lines in the opening laps and managed to pass Cottrell for second. Geartec Yamaha’s Michael Eccles did the same a lap later. Cottrell responded and used his newfound speed to battle Eccles for the most part of the race before making a big mistake, costing him a good 10 seconds and two valuable places.
Things went from bad to worse for Cottrell in the final stage of the race when he crashed out, while Steven Clarke rebounded nicely from a shocker of a start.
Clarke and Barr put in two outstanding performances from way back to make the last two laps of the race nail biting. Fans were toppling over the fences showing support for Barr which urged Clarke to go hot up the inside of Eccles for third. Barr emerged from the back section of the track with half of a lap to go ahead of Eccles and all over Clarke for third.
With a handful of corners to go Barr got cross rutted jumping into the canyon and went down hard. Amazingly he got up quickly but couldn’t restart his bike. Eventually his Honda re-fired and he only managed to come home in seventh – a heart-breaking end to the race for Barr and his fans.
Capitalising on Barr’s spill, SJP Moto Husqvarna’s Rob Davidson put in season-best ride for fifth.
After a dramatic start to the day for Barr in race one, Clarke gained six points on him which meant the duo were tied on 128 points for the championship lead heading into race two.
When the gates slammed down on the red coloured sand, both championship leaders were asleep on the gate with Clarke heading around turn one in 10th, while Barr was even worse off as he crossed the line outside of the top 20.
Instead it was Planet Advanced Racing KTM’s Brad Todd who looked like he was from another planet with his cat-like reactions off the gate that assisted him in claiming a massive holeshot over MacKenzie and Sterry.
Barr didn’t get beyond lap one – the Buildbase Honda team later confirmed his injured shoulder from the last-lap crash was the cause of his retirement from the moto.
Sterry was cutting lap times three seconds a lap faster than anyone on track and he took the lead with ease. Bry Mac managed to get Todd on lap two but both were in trouble with Clarke charging hard in fourth.
It didn’t take Clarke long to get Todd for third before he set his sights on team-mate, Bry Mac, for second. With five minutes to go the Scot had a huge moment when he got cross rutted up the step up, cased it and was thrown about 120 degrees sideways -somehow he landed it and rode off.
As Sterry blitzed everyone for yet another win and his first overall victory, MacKenzie came home for second place ahead of Apico Husqvarna team-mate Clarke. Todd controlled fourth ahead of Crescent SJ Hodder KTM’s Todd Kellett, with those top five finishes being their best race results.
Barr has fallen to third in the championship standings – he is now 20 points down on the new championship leader, Clarke, who leads his team-mate, MacKenzie, by 13 points. Sterry’s great weekend brings him within eight points of Barr.
After a couple of false starts due to an issue with the gate, the first MXY2 moto finally got underway with Carnegie Fuels LTD KTM’s Dylan Carnegie taking the holeshot ahead of David Galvin and the championship leader Holeshot Motocross’ James Carpenter. Carpenter has the red plate for a reason and made light work of Galvin and Carnegie to take the early lead.
As Carpenter started putting in some solid laps out front, Carl Nunn KTM’s George Grigg-Pettitt started chipping away at the leaders before crashing while challenging Galvin for second. Matthew Loughlin capitalised on GGP’s error and took over third while Grigg-Pettitt remounted in fourth.
In the latter stages of the race, Loughlin started to fade which allowed GGP to make an easy move for third, while two of the championship hotshots, RMJ Academy Husqvarna’s Dexter Douglas and P&H Motorcycles’ Michael Ellis had also made their way into the picture and took over fourth and fifth.
At the chequers it was James Carpenter who extended his championship lead while David Galvin put in an outstanding ride for second ahead of George Grigg-Pettitt, Dexter Douglas and Michael Ellis.
In moto two, local lad Galvin nailed a mega holeshot ahead of the championship leader Carpenter, GGP and Jack Bintcliffe. Once again, Carpenter wasted no time in nabbing the lead and running away for his third race win of the season.
Galvin made a solid statement with his performance this weekend despite being wiped out by GGP in the final race. On lap three Galvin came around with his gear ripped to shreds, but he still managed to finish eighth, while GGP only finished 13th.
Henry Williams was penalised for jumping on waved yellow flags in moto one but put a positive spin on his day with an impressive ride for second place in race two ahead of Dexter Douglas who is fast labelling himself a top-three guy.
Team Green Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Dylan Woodcock made the best of a good start to finish fourth while P&H Motorcycles KTM’s Michael Ellis rounded out the top five.
After an action packed day, Holeshot Motocross’ Carpenter was a cut above with his 1-1 result for the overall in MXY2. Meanwhile RMJ Academy Husqvarna’s Dexter Douglas landed on the second step with his 4-3 result ahead of Galvin.
The Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championship will return on July 3 for round five at Leuchars, Fife in Scotland.