There was no rest for the wicked at the third round of the 2016 Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championship, which took place at the brutal sand circuit Hawkstone Park in Shropshire.
With Hawkstone being one of the most demanding tracks on the calendar, it produced all sorts of drama, hardship and excitement as Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Shaun Simpson nailed his first double moto win for his second overall victory of the season in the premier class, MX1, while the red plates in MX2 and MXY2 changed hands with Buildbase Honda’s Martin Barr finding the flow for his first overall and the championship lead in MX2, while Holeshot Motocross KTM’s James Carpenter did the same in the youth class, MXY2.
MX1 Race 1
You couldn’t have wished for a better start to MX1 with all of the heavy hitters crossing the finish line on the first lap inside the top five. Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Shaun Simpson, the championship leader, led the way ahead of Honda Buildbase’s duo of Kristian Whatley and Graeme Irwin. Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Tommy Searle chased them in fourth with Hitachi Revo Husqvarna’s Jake Nicholls in tow.
It’s common knowledge that the Scotsman, Simpson, digs a gnarly sand race and it wasn’t long before he stretched out his lead. Irwin made a mistake while trying to make a move on his team-mate, Whatley, and dropped back to seventh. Meanwhile, Searle didn’t waste any time in out-braking Whatley for second place, which opened the door for Nicholls too. Nicholls, who was the second fastest rider on track in the opening laps, followed Searle through and dropped Whatley back to fourth.
As Whatley struggled to match the pace of the leaders, his team-mate, Irwin, was back on the cable and pinned it down the famed ‘hill’ and hit the following turn tapped to make a sweet pass for fourth.
The ‘never settle’ mentality took over with five minutes to go as Nicholls started to chip away at Searle who made a few mistakes in the latter stages of the race. With only a few minutes on the clock, Nicholls impressively railed around the outside of the Kawasaki star to take over second. While Nicholls is radiating confidence at the moment, it was questionable whether it would be enough to keep Searle at bay.
At the chequers, Simpson strengthened his already remarkable record of race wins at Hawkstone, while Searle pulled the pin on his grenade and launched it at Nicholls to take second with a few corners to go. In dramatic fashion, Nicholls collected a back marker on the penultimate corner and went down but managed to remount in time to seal the deal in third. Graeme Irwin and Kristian Whatley rounded out the top five respectively.
MX1 Race 2
All pandemonium broke loose in MX1 race two as Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Shaun Simpson got off to yet another mega start ahead of Hitachi Revo Husqvarna’s Jake Nicholls and Buildbase Honda’s Graeme Irwin. Chasing those guys was Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Tommy Searle who came under attack by Verde Sports Racing KTM’s Brad Anderson.
Ando tried to pass Searle on the opening lap and almost got the job done but ‘almost’ doesn’t count, and it didn’t make a lot of difference anyway because he threw it away whilst in fifth with a mistake one lap later.
It was wire-to-wire up front as Simpson attempted to break away from Nicholls while Searle and Irwin had the fans running from one side of the spectator area to the other as they switched up their lines in the battle for third. At the half way mark Searle managed to make the pass stick and went after Nicholls for second.
Simpson eventually found his rhythm and ran away for a perfect score while Searle hooked a gear, dropped Nicholls like a stone and gapped it for second. Nicholls rode home to a lonely third while Irwin did the same in fourth. Meanwhile, MVR-D Fuel 10K Husqvarna’s Tanel Leok put in an epic charge for fifth ahead of Anderson and Whatley.
Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Shaun Simpson was flawless today and took his first double victory of the season. Meanwhile it was a tough day in the office for Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Tommy Searle who is feeling a bit second hand at the moment after a few big spills while racing the motocross world championship over the last few weeks. Hitach Revo Husqvarna’s Jake Nicholls rode awesome in both races for his first podium appearance in third.
MX2 Race 1
Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Adam Sterry carried a ton of confidence into this weekend after chalking up a career best finish in Italy last weekend at the motocross world championship. The KTM rider pulled the ‘holey’ ahead of Apico Husqvarna’s Bryan Mackenzie and Planet Advance Racing Suspension’s Brad Todd.
Bry Mac didn’t waste any time in blitzing around Sterry and pulled a slight gap while his Apico Husqvarna team-mate Steven Clarke, who led the MX2 championship, had to drop a few guys on the first lap after starting outside of the top five but did so and was third before the start of lap two.
Four laps in and the fans that showed up this weekend were treated to some nail biting battles as Sterry hounded MacKenzie for the lead while Honda Buildbase’s Martin Barr blasted from outside of the top 10 and passed Clarke for third. It was a costly loss of a place for Clarke with Barr only one point down on him in the championship standings before the start of the weekend.
With a few laps to go MacKenzie was feeling the flow and pulled a tidy five-second lead for his first win of the season. Sterry held on for second after Barr put in an incredible ride for third ahead of Clarke. Meanwhile the hard charger award had to go to the lad who went pole in qualifying this morning, Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Mel Pocock, who had a dramatic first lap when he folded the front end at turn one and had to start from last. He was clearly bothered by the mistake, but pulled out all the stops and put in an uber impressive charge to pass Dyer & Butler KTM’s Liam Knight for fifth on the last lap.
MX2 Race 2
Drizzle is always annoying to race in as it messes with vision especially in the sand, as moist sand doesn’t clog it just sprays your goggles which makes roll-off’s a necessity. Luckily it was only a brief shower and stopped right before the race got underway.
When the gates dropped it was Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Mel Pocock who was fired up and kept his Kawasaki rubber side down around turn one for the holeshot and the early lead. Buildbase Honda’s Martin Barr also got off to a mega start in second ahead of Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Adam Sterry and Verde Sports Racing KTM’s Jake Millward.
Pocock and Barr topped the charts in qualifying so it was epic to see both lads going bar-to-bar for the lead in race two. It wasn’t easy, but Barr managed to put an impressive pass on Pocock to take over the lead on lap four.
Sterry was a lone wolf in third while Millward was showing us what he is capable of in fourth. At the 10 minute mark Pocock binned it just after the finish and struggled to get his bike fired back up.
A bunch of riders inherited a position. Millward moved into third while Phoenix Tools Honda’s Carlton Husband was putting in a career best ride in fourth before being passed by Apico Husqvarna’s Steven Clarke who had to ride out of his skin after crashing on the second lap of the race.
Buildbase Honda’s Martin Barr killed it in race two to win his first race of the season by a whopping 17 seconds over Sterry. Clarkey passed Millward on the final lap for third while Husband chalked a career best in fifth.
Race one winner Bryan MacKenzie had a shocking start before things went from bad to worse when Hitachi Revo Husqvarna’s James Dunn went down in front of him and caught him out. Dunn ended up pulling out of the race while MacKenzie had to carve through the pack and only got back to ninth.
Buildbase Honda’s Martin Barr was on rails all weekend. He fought from an average start in race one for third and got off to a cracking start in race two for a massive win and his first overall victory of the season. Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Adam Sterry was a picture of consistency with two seconds for second overall while Apico Husqvarna’s Steven Clarke struggled to get in the zone but made the best of a bad day with a fourth and a third for third overall.
Martin Barr will lead the way into his home round at Dessertmartin in Ireland, which will take place on June 12.
MXY2 Race 1
Training for the pro ranks doesn’t get better than this as Britain’s fastest youngsters took to the brutal terrain at Hawkstone for the third round of the MXY2 championship.
There is always loads of energy in the waiting zone of the MXY2 class who were extra fired up this weekend with the championship leader not racing today due to an unfortunate injury which saw him break his collarbone, a few ribs and damaged his shoulder. This meant valuable points were up for grabs which had everyone buzzing.
DRT MGP Steel Kawasaki’s Brett Pocock nailed a perfect start once again and led the opening lap before being dropped back by the sweet sounding 125 KTM of Taylor Hammal and the kid sitting second in the championship standings, Holeshot Motocross KTM’s James Carpenter. Hammal had his Dyer & Butler KTM singing and charged away for an epic race win, his first ever in the MXY2 class.
RFX KTM’s Henry Williams and P & H Motorcycle KTM’s Michael Ellis are two riders that are familiar with what it is like to stand on the box and both wasted no time in passing Pocock to take over third and fourth.
Meanwhile, Carl Nunn KTM’s George Grigg-Pettitt had the eye of the tiger in the opening race and charged from miles back to blitz past Williams and Ellis for third before binning it and dropping back to fifth.
On the final lap Team Green Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Dylan Woodcock came out of nowhere to challenge Ellis for fourth after passing GGP a couple of laps earlier. Despite the credible effort, the Kawasaki rider had to settle for fifth.
MXY2 Race 2
When the gates fell for race two it was Holeshot Motocross KTM’s James Carpenter who got off to an epic start and charged away for an easy win, his first of the season and his career. Behind him P & H Motorcycle KTM’s Michael Ellis hounded RMJ Academy Husqvarna’s Dexter Douglas for second while Pendrich KTM’s Lee Perfect put in the ride of his life for fourth.
Rounding out the top five was RFX KTM’s Henry Williams followed by Carl Nunn KTM’s George Grigg-Pettitt. Both riders passed Team Green Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jed Etchells on the final lap.
After a consistent and impressive day Holeshot Motocross KTM’s James Carpenter stood on top of the box for the first time this weekend and has claimed the red plate. P & H Motorcycle KTM’s Michael Ellis landed on the second step of the podium for the second time on the bounce while the race one winner Dyer & Butler KTM’s Taylor Hammal had to charge hard after a spill in the final race for eighth which was enough for third overall.