Hitachi REVO Husqvarna’s Jake Nicholls secured his fifth consecutive MX1 podium finish at round seven of the Maxxis British Motocross Championship supported by Pro Clean at Preston Docks on Sunday.
The Ipswich-based rider led the opening moto on his FC 450 until after half-distance and claimed a strong second. Struggling with bike set-up in race two, he crashed while attempting to pass a back-marker but recovered well for fourth. His performance consolidated his third in the championship with one round to go.
“I was a bit steady to start with and felt pretty good,” said Nicholls. “I almost holeshot the first race and then passed Graeme Irwin for the lead and ran at the front for probably two-thirds of the race but got a bit of arm-pump. I tightened up.
“In the second I got a bit squirly off the start but still came out in fourth. I’d struggled a little with the bike in the first race – it was moving around under me and kicking me in spots – so we made a few changes and for the first time this year, we actually went the wrong way.
“I got into third and I just couldn’t keep with the leaders. The lines I had to ride to go fast weren’t the fastest and I was using so much energy because the bike was just bouncing around. Then I made a silly error trying to get around a lapped rider and crashed.
“Still, third overall is not bad but I’d have preferred to have not lost points in the third race. We went the wrong way with the bike but that’s the gamble you take sometimes…”
In the MX2 division, Mel Pocock came home third in race one but a crash second time out saw him playing catch-up as he scythed his way through the field up to eighth, finishing the day fifth overall and missing the podium by just three points.
“I went okay in the opener – then I messed up the second race but I made good of it,” said Pocock. “There were a lot of track specialists here today and I’ve never ridden here before – it’s a long way north and if I want to practice in the sand it’s quicker for me to go to Holland or Belgium.
“In the first race I made a good start and I was happy with third. Second time out I basically got pinched up in the first corner and skidded off. I was dead last and I worked my way up to eighth so it was pretty brutal but a fun race for me. I was pretty cock-sure of myself and put 14 laminates on but could have done with 21!
“I can take a lot of plus points from race two – I feel I’ve got some of my race-craft back – but I’m pretty gutted I’m not on the podium. With the speed I had if I’d been up front I would have been on it.”
It was a tougher day for the team’s other MX2 rider Oli Benton aboard the second FC 250 with a string of crashes leaving him out of the points.
“With the track being sandy and not too fast, qualifying started off better but I had a terrible start in the first race – my fault, it just span up on the line – but I was in about 20th with two laps to go when I had a big crash,” said Benton. “I had a great start in the second race and was in around 10th going into the second corner but two guys in front of me went down and I hit them. I was last up and then crashed again so it was a bit of a nightmare. This season is a big learning curve but I’ve not given up.”
Team Principal, Roger Magee, said: “Mel had an excellent third place in the opening MX2 moto but in the second didn’t have the best starts and had to work his way through. Jake started really sharp but had a bit of arm-pump and in the second race he had a tangle with a back-marker and went down. We’re going into Foxhill now which is one of Jake’s favourite tracks and with two races to go it’s all to play for.”
Mark Yates (REVO) commented: “I’m really pleased for Mel. He had a great third in the opening moto and you could see his confidence growing. In the second he had a bad start and went down but he’s so determined and his ride back to eighth was solid. If he’d had a better start he would have been in the mix for a podium. As it was he was only three points off third overall. It’s good progress but the bike isn’t fully there and we’ve got a bit of work to do on the suspension.
“Jake sets himself a very high standard and I know he’s kicking himself for his mistake in the second moto but he’s underlined again today that he’s a top-three rider. He’s a fighter…”