What a difference a week in motocross can make,going from dry, hard and very slick tracks to soft,heavy energy sapping conditions. However despite a serious intervention from the big watering can in the sky, dumping a deluge of the wet stuff on the Tunstall Hall Farm circuit, venue for round two of the AMCA MX Championships, it thankfully failed to ruin what was a super meeting.
Indeed the organising WEM MX club should take a massive pat on the back for the manner in which they promoted their debut Championship event. Taking top honours out on track were Delkevic Kawasaki rider Clinton Barrs and 19 year-old BCMX Suzuki pilot Ryan Morris. Whilst the immaculate Barrs blasted to his first ever maximum points score in the MX1 Championship class, Morris recorded both his maiden MX2 Championship moto win and overall success.
On the tough, technical but spectacular Tunstall circuit, very careful selection of riding lines was required in the early stages of Sunday’s meeting with the going still wet following the overnight rain, and there was to be early drama in the opening MX1 contest. With Shaun Pearce losing control on the first downhill section, Lee Dunham was forced to take evasive action, colliding with the track marking. As Dunham restarted last, quick gater Luke Meredith led the charge chased by Barrs, Glen Phillips, James Lane and Matthew Williamson.
By lap two,Meredith had dropped back to 4th as Barrs stylishly took control of proceedings.
Meanwhile, slicing his way through the pack, a determined Dunham was already up into 13th only to then suffer a massive crash which was to again relegate the Maxxis Henderson LPE Kawasaki pilot all the way back to last.Up top the super Barrs stretched his advantage to eventually take a great moto one victory with Phillips in 2nd and James Lane 3rd following a tight four rider battle with Meredith, Wesley Egan and Williamson.
Further downfield, after their earlier problems, Pearce got back to 19th with Dunham 27th.
Displaying fantastic character and despite having a big headache and blurred vision,Dunham bravely passed wily experienced Lancastrian Aaron Crowder to thus lead the early stages of MX1 moto two. However that man Barrs was on an absolute mission and by lap two had already soared past Dunham. However after that opening race disaster, Dunham was desperate to reclaim some vital Championship points though and he gallantly pushed Barrs all the way to the chequered flag in a great tussle, missing out on the win by just a narrow two seconds, a sterling effort despite feeling unwell!!.
Taking 3rd in this clash was Brad Turner ,recovering from a disappointing 12th spot in the opening clash. Brad did though suffer a heart stopping moment on the final lap of moto two when stalling his KTM in a deep rutted corner. Frantically pushing his electric start button, the motor eventually fired back to life enabling him to restart just yards in front of 4th placed Meredith. After gating in 20th, Phillips had to display tremendous strength to recover back to snatch 5th on the final lap from James Lane. Laner did though attempt to reclaim that 5th spot with a very determined challenge as the riders raced towards the chequered flag, failing in his quest by the narrowest of margins.
Jamie Dobson and Joe Barry were the fastest riders away at the start of the final MX1 contest but by the completion of the opening lap, the supersonic Barrs had already found a way through followed by Dunham and Meredith. Once again the battle of Barrs v Dunham was on but although the latter was to close the gap dramatically in the last few laps as traffic became heavy due to backmarkers, it was to be another important victory for a simply delighted Barrs.
The Tunstall circuit featured a very testing rhythm section which enabled the braver riders to certainly gain ground on their rivals. Not only brave but exceedingly fast on this part of the track, Turner blasted back from 11th to take another fine 3rd with Meredith 4th. Following an indifferent start, Phillips moved from 9th up to 5th, a result he was certainly not pleased with,crossing the finishing line shaking his head in disgust.
In this final moto, both Lee Payne(6th) and Joe Barry(7th) posted their best results of the day.
What a contest MX2 was to prove to be yet again with drama,excitement and great racing in all three clashes.In the opening moto, Lewis Abbott, Scott Williams and Sam Smith crashed in turn two as Paul Neale passed fast starting Kieran Mulloy for the lead. Whilst Neale, another impressively rapid rider through the ultra-tough rhythm section stretched his advantage at the front, there was a super tussle for 2nd, the verdict going to Sean Frayne ahead of Shane Holmes and Ben Saunders as early leader Mulloy dropped back to an eventual 9th. With Neale the victor, Jack Taylor also had to work overtime in this moto and hold off Ryan Morris for 5th. After his earlier fall, Abbott recovered in style to earn 8th, one place behind Matt Porter.
With just minutes to go before the start of MX2 moto two, first race winner Neale was forced to switch to his spare machine as the first choice Kawasaki stubbornly refused to fire up. It was to then get worse for the unlucky Neale as he fell on the tricky turn two. Up front, the impressive Mulloy again grabbed the holeshot although by the completion of lap two, Abbott was now the lad in control. Lap three and Taylor became the third different leader of an already incredible contest as Abbott crashed dropping back to 15th. Would that now be the end of the action though? Absolutely not as lap seven the top slot changed yet again with Taylor jumping off the track whilst tackling that rhythm section. Struggling to regain the circuit, Jack could only watch in desperation as Ryan Morris went cruising past. After posting a strong 2nd in moto one, Frayne was to be forced out of this contest when holding 6th as his Honda mysteriously ground to a halt.
So in a truly breathless encounter it was to be a maiden AMCA Championship victory for Morris with Taylor 2nd, Holmes 3rd after initially gating 10th and Ben Saunders a fantastic 4th aboard his super quick two-stroke KTM despite losing the use of his rear brake. Completing the top ten on this occasion were Porter, Carl Benjamin, Abbott, Aled Bellis, Martin Jones and Neale.
In the last MX2 clash, Joseph Del-Busso made a dream start only to be passed by Saunders. However Ben’s hopes of blasting the little 150cc KTM to its maiden Championship win were then dashed by a red flag incident. In the rerun, the very impressive Morris, buoyed by his earlier win was to lead from gate to flag, eventually finishing over twelve seconds ahead of Holmes with Saunders climbing from 9th up to 3rd. Competing aboard their spare bikes, both Frayne(6th) and Neale(8th) clawed back some vital points whilst Taylor, Porter, Abbott and Williams completed the remaining top ten placings.
AMCA Championship Non-qualifiers honours went to Steven Gardham ahead of Joshua Williams and Steven Owen. In the support races, Experts winner Zac Stealey produced the outstanding performance by bagging maximum points whilst other winners were Timothy Gardham, James Hockenhull and Frazer Martin in the respective Seniors, Juniors and Inter Juniors classes.Well done once again to the organising WEM MX Club on their first class promotion of the AMCA Championships, the action now moves onto Hawkstone Park.
SUPPORT RACE RESULTS
AMCA CHAMPIONSHIP NON-QUALIFIERS 1 Steven Gardham 145 points 2 Joshua Williams 144 3 Steven Owen 135 4 Jack Weston 128 5 Steven Bailey 120 6 Stephen Elford 120.
EXPERTS 1 Zac Stealey 180 points 2 Tom Smith 158 3 Duncan Morris 138 4 Wayne Williams 132 5 Graham Nicklin 129 6 Richard Egan 129.
SENIORS 1 Timothy Gardham 174 2 Jacob Pearce 158 3 Ryan Stevens 142 4 Ryan Pugh 138 5 Michael Dunn 131
6 Chris Ritchings 130.
JUNIORS 1 James Hockenhull 167 points 2 Billy Gallimore 155 3 Ben Hodgkins 154 4 Connor Franklin 136 5 James Porter 133 6 Andy Williamson 129.
INTER JUNIORS 1 Frazer Martin 164 points 2 Howard Wainwright 151 3 Kyle Talbot 149 4 Ben Bullough 136 5 Zachary Hackett 132 6 Fabio Rizzi 131.
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