Bank Holiday Monday will see the seventh round of the British Motocross Championship pull into the rather beautiful hillside scenery of the Langrish circuit, just outside Petersfield. In fact, many of the top riders were only just up the road at Matterley at the GP last weekend, so obviously somebody at the ACU had got the AA road atlas out and planned this perfectly. With only two rounds left, the championship is into the final throes and for the front runners, the titles are theirs to lose. But motocross can be unpredictable and the championship contenders will not want to hurl in the towel just yet, so expect some hard and fast racing. With the weather looking to take a dip to deliver traditional Bank Holiday wetness, a real mudder could add a great little twist to the end of season dash.
Mel Pocock put in strong rides in all three motos at Hawkstone to win the overall and keep a comfortable margin away from second place guy Elliott Banks Browne. But that said, he’s only one DNF away from losing that lead, so he has to hope that the Dixon Yamaha keep super strong and reliable for the last six races of the season. Mel had another good day at the office at Matterley to maintain his EMX250 championship title lead, and if he continues in the same vein at Langrish, the prospect of two major titles for 2012 looks very achievable. For Banks Browne, another no scoring race at Hawkestone continued the sporadic misfortune of his season, and unbelievably, he’s been involved in another contract kerfuffle, going from new ride to no new ride within a couple of days.
A good GP might have raised his spirits a little, but with a fourteenth overall, he might have hoped for more. But let’s not rule him out just yet because Elliott can still win the title – 16 points is not an insurmountable gap. And it might be Pocock’s team mates that inadvertently help him get closer – reigning British Champion Arnaud Tonus and 2011 Champion Zach Osborne return to the series this Monday, and with Zach capable of hitting the GP podium with frightening consistency, and Tonus almost as quick, these two look set to take the top points away from Pocock and Banks Browne. Steve Dixon might need to have a serious team strategy talk to avoid an embarrassing foot shooting incident. ‘Let Mel by’……
Further down the field, expect some backstreet scrapping from Irwin, Lenoir, Aubin and Bradshaw as all four seek high end of season final positions.
Highlights from Hawkstone to remind you what happened.
This year has been all about Kevin Strijbos, and it’s hard to imagine that Langrish will be much different. With fifty or so points separating KS22 from Shaun Simpson, then Kevin will be working very hard to throw away this kind of lead. Simpson may still be somewhat smarting from his exclusion from the MXoN team, but to be honest, his result at Matterley could have been better to convince the nay sayers that he could have hauled ass in Lommel (not that Anstie did any better!). Karro is still in fifth, but as he’s still wearing a back support and hobbling round the pits, then he will only go backwards from the side of the track. Krestinov and Barr look set to monopolise on the situation, each capable of heading up the charts.
One rider that will be missing from the weekend is Kristian Whatley. KW227 picked up a Rinaldi Yamaha ride for the British GP, but after his first moto injury to his shoulder and pulling off in race 2, Whatley appears to be in a somewhat injury limbo. With all manners of riders looking to re-sign for next year, Kris could be hard pushed to find a slot on one of the top teams in the British, let alone a Factory GP ride.
OK so that’s a quick synopsis of the results and prospects for Monday, and even if the rain comes, the racing will be fast and furious.
Words by Julian Challis
Image by Ray Chuss