After a busy week, team Verde got up before dawn on the Saturday, headed down the A1 for Lyng to set up the awning for a competitive day of riding on the Sunday at the opening round of the Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championship, supported by Pro Clean.
The sandy track looked good for Qualifying, it was dry, fast and very challenging as usual.
In MX1 Brad Anderson got a couple of good laps in early on and sat in third place by Lap 3. But his clutch went and set him back from achieving his best gate pick, settling for ninth – less than half a second behind, Jake Nicholls, Steven Lenoir and Elliott Banks-Browne.
In MX2 Jake Millward put in his fastest lap first time out with a 16th gate pick.
Brad got an excellent jump out of the gate in the first moto but his gate pick did not do him any favours, getting squashed out on the first bend, which pushed him back to 10th place.
The battle was between Brad, Graeme Irwin and Lenoir, who had now dropped off from the leading pack, and this battle continued for the majority of the race. Brad left Lenoir gaining a spot just inside the top 10.
Jake didn’t get a good jump out of the gate for his first moto in MX2, but the bike hauled up the hill, getting him into 11th on the first bend.
He rode well and really consistent, loving the track just as he had done this time last year and he was soon into eighth place.
Clarke had bike issues and dropped out of the race – James Cottrell pushed Rob Davidson wide, allowing Jake to make his move and jump two places up to sixth.
Jake held on to the back wheel of Cottrell for a few laps before the Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki pilot broke away. With no rider behind him, Jake sat tight, eased up and settled for an excellent sixth place finish.
With the top two riders being GP wild cards in Max Anstie and Conrad Mewse, this was one of Jake’s best ever finishes.
Brad had a bad jump out of the gate for moto 2 but put in very consistent lap times to hold ninth for most of the race – keeping Irwin at bay. Then two laps from the end it was all change…Gert Krestinov binned it, Irwin found a way past Brad and took off but Brad was able to pass Banks-Browne, moving him up to eighth place at the chequers.
Jake had a nightmare start, running 24th up the start straight which left him a massive battle ahead on the one line track.
One by one he picked off the riders but he just could not get past Nathan Dixon, which lost Jake huge amount of time. Jake finally made his move just a few laps from the end, moved up to 18th but it left him no time to chase the next pack of riders and he took 18th. He did collect three points towards the championship, which was critically important to both his overall for the day and the series.
Not the best day’s racing for the team but some vital championship points. Jake had an excellent first race, which shows he’s capable of keeping pace with most of the riders. It wasn’t a good day for Brad – he knows he can perform better than the 10th overall. “We will live to fight another day,” said Brad. “I kept getting stuck behind back markers on a very one line-y track that was rock hard!”
Jake finished 11th overall for the day, which scored him 18 points towards the championships. A good first race meant he was now on even points with Neville Bradshaw and Ben Watson.
But unfortunately he sits in 11th place as the last race finish depicts the order – three more points and he too could have been sitting in seventh. A very frustrated Jake commented: “You need to get a good start, it’s so one line-y, if you don’t get a good start you are f*cked!”