Graeme Irwin battled through the pain of a broken bone in his left hand to clinch the 2016 Michelin MX Nationals Pro MX1 title at the historic Wakes Colne track in the heart of Essex.

“After breaking my thumb in a crash at the Masters last weekend I came here with damage limitation in mind,” said the smiling Irwin.

“But with Gert Krestinov out with a neck injury and Elliot Banks-Browne going out of the first race after a big crash I finished third and that was enough to sew up the championship a round early.


“I would have liked to have gone out in the second race but we have the next round of the Maxxis coming up next week and I need to rest my hand to give me the best chance at that championship”

Hero of the event was young Jake Shipton, who won both Pro MX1 races and mounted the top step of the podium for his first national series overall. Martin Barr was again victorious in the pro MX2s but he didn’t have it all his own way in the second race when another young gun Brad Todd took his first championship race win to help him to second overall.

Irwin got the holeshot at the start of the first combined pro MX1 and MX2 race, with Shipton, Brad Anderson and Banks-Browne in his wheel-tracks.

First of the MX2 riders was local rider Lewis Tombs in sixth, with Barr back in twelfth place and with a lot of work to do.

Shipton went past Irwin for the lead on lap two while Banks-Browne found a way past Anderson for third and started to close in fast on Irwin.

Tombs was pushing Dan Thornhill from the very start and he snatched fifth from him with James Harrison following Tombs through a lap later.

It all went wrong for Banks-Browne on lap six.

When scrubbing over the jump at the bottom of the track he lost control and sent his Yamaha cartwheeling down the track breaking his handlebars on the way. 

He was taken to the hospital to be checked out, saying he would be okay as he left the circuit.

By the halfway stage Anderson had claimed second place from the suffering Irwin as Liam Knight and Harrison fought over fourth on the track – something that would make no difference to the results as they were in different classes.

All this time Barr was climbing his was up the leaderboard and with three laps to go he passed Knight for the MX2 win, with Tombs and Todd following the leading pair.

On the MX1 side, it was Shipton from Anderson and new champ Irwin, with Harrison seventh on the track but fourth in class.

Anderson led Shipton, Liam Garland, Harrison, Tombs and Josh Gilbert round the opening lap of a shortened Pro race two after an incident the race before that took a while to sort out.

By the end of lap two, though, Shipton was in the lead and hitting his rhythm.

Anderson came back a couple of times in the next lap as Harrison pushed Garland back to fourth on the track and Todd was first of the MX2s in fifth, with Tombs, Gilbert, Barr and Carlton Husband all lining up behind him.

For the rest of the race as the shadows lengthened the top four became spaced out, with Barr moving up to fifth and taking Tombs with him, as Garland slipped back to seventh.

Shipton crossed the finish line 11 seconds clear of Anderson with Harrison fourth from Garland, Josh Spinks, and Thornhill while in MX2 it was Todd from Barr, Tombs, Gilbert, and Husband.

“What a great day,” said Shipton with a big smile on his face.

“I had trained very hard over last winter but blew my knee out before the first round so that why I wasn’t there. 

“But it’s a really good championship as you get to race with a lot of the top guys like Brad and Graeme. 

“It’s my first win so I am so overwhelmed as it’s just sinking in. 

“And I overtook Brad Anderson which is no mean feat, though I must admit I was a bit scared when I heard his bike behind me”

Barr was happy with his performance and said:”It’s not been a bad day today. 

“I was quickest MX2 in qualifying this morning so that set me up well but in the first race, I didn’t get such a good start as the first corner was quite wet and caught a lot of people out and I nearly went down as well. 

“I was about sixth in MX2 at the end of the first lap and I could see the two riders in front of me and picked them off when I could. 

“With a couple of laps to go I passed Liam Knight for the win. I got a good start in race two but lots of riders cut the first turn and I think it was Josh Spinks got taken out and his bike was there in front of me.

“I couldn’t make the turn and lost loads of positions but I put the hammer down and got up to second at the end and still got the overall.”

The Bell Expert MX1 cup brought some of the closest racing of the weekend as Brad Woodrolfe and Luke Parker tied on points at the top but with only one race win between them.

The first two races on Saturday went to Brad Cavill, with Woodrolfe chasing him over the line in the first race and Parker doing the same in the second.

The on-form Shaun Southgate struggled with a problem in moto one and dropped from second at the halfway stage to fourteenth by the end and one lap down for just four points.

It was all change on Sunday as Parker and Southgate shared the wins, while Cavill had a DNF in race three and a fourth place in the last race of their weekend.

Overall it was Woodrolfe from Parker, Southgate, and Cavill, but in the championship Parker now leads by ten from Southgate, with Cavill dropping to third.

Luke Mellows topped the Fly Expert MX2s with a win and two second-places but nearly lost the overall in his third race when, after getting the holeshot, he slipped to sixth. Race-four winner Henry Williams had trouble in race two when a bad start left him to fight his way from thirteenth at the start to finish sixth.

But that was enough with his other results for second overall, leaving race-one winner Adam Wells third.

Williams still leads the championship but now by a slightly smaller amount from Wells and Mallows.

Jamie Carpenter’s weekends in MXY2 just get better and better. On Saturday he scored a third and a second and on Sunday went 2-1 to nail first overall.

Taylor Hanmell slipped off while leading race one and had to settle for fourth but backed that up with a win and two runner-up finishes for the No.2 spot on the podium and victory in the 125 two-stroke part of the event.

Race-three winner Michael Ellis was third overall but still has a 43-point lead in the championship from Hanmell and Carpenter.

Adam Collings was in top form in the Big-Wheel 85s and after finishing second in the first race he went on to win all the rest as his rivals seemed to struggle for consistency.

Rossi Beard was involved in a close race with Lewis Hall in race one and ended the race in fourth place which set him on the road to second overall with race-one winner Joel Rizzi third overall.

Rizzi, though, still leads the championship by 83 points from Beard and Sam Nunn.

Once again Ike Carter won all the Small-Wheel 85 races but things didn’t go so well for the team as Carter’s two race bikes were stolen out of the back of the team van while it was parked outside a local hotel on Saturday night.

The team did an overnight run back to their depot to pick up a couple of bikes for Carter to ride on Sunday.

Bobby Bruce followed Carter home in the first three races and third-place in the last secured him second overall from Louie Kessell.

Jake Thompson won two of the Clubman races which were good enough to give him the overall ahead of Josh Cantone and Heads and All Threads Suzuki manager Neil Prince.