Well it’s was an August Bank Holiday weekend, and in keeping with tradition, motocross and rain were both on the schedule. The penultimate round of the British Motocross championship travelled just a few miles from the site of the Matterley GP to the sleepy surroundings and rolling hills of Petersfield. With heavy rain on the forecast, the Moto team loaded up the team car with Pac –a – Macs and wellies and headed for Hampshire for the seventh instalments of the Maxxis road show. I feel a top ten coming on.
Michael Fish. Whilst the man himself has long since retired, Fish’s genius for incorrect forecasting lives on. Despite assurance of floods and tempest, the weather was actually quite nice with the sun popping out more than once and the tiny showers making bugger all difference to the hard and dry track. We even got a bit of a tan on the day – result. This means that against all odds, every one of the 2012 championship has taken place in the dry – Mr Higgins has been an exceedingly lucky man. We’re not complaining either – watching GPs let alone domestic motocross in the rain is no fun.
Stupid Schedule. However it happened is really not the point, but to have two domestic series round running back to back is simply ridiculous. The riders and teams that wanted to ride both Red Bull and Maxxis series were faced with packing up all their awnings and equipment after a full days racing and travelling the one hundred and eighty odd miles to Hampshire. If that weren’t enough, it then had to be set up in near darkness for the next morning. This isn’t good for the teams, it certainly isn’t good for the riders and it’s not fair to the fans when the riders are clearly tired.
Hard Fast and Old. For those that haven’t visited the Langrish circuit before, it’s a bit like a time warp. Imagine a schoolboy scramble in the eighties and you are 100% there. None of the purpose built circuit niceties here; this is motocross from back in the day. Entry through a farmyard (complete with freshly born calf and mother in a pen on the right), stupidly uneven and bumpy road in, cowshit all over the car park and paddock and a start straight covered in actual grass. Add in a good natured bank holiday crowd, uphills, down hills, off camber turns, step down jumps and flat out straights this was straight off of Grandstand, No wonder the Evo boys had been here the day before!
Feeling the Love? For all its traditional attributes, the riders in the current championship (rather than the oldies on the twinshocks) were distinctly uninspired by Langrish track, with nobody we spoke to even remotely enthusiastic about the track. Whilst it’s true that a range of tracks should theoretically improve a series, the riders we spoke to didn’t like how fast, untechnical and fairly one lined the track was. OK so the good guys could still cut their way through, but it wasn’t easy and across the board, the racing on Sunday was certainly the least exciting of the seven rounds…..
Mr Consistent. Yet again, the motocross metronome that is Kevin Strijbos was on devastating form at Langrish, hole shotting every start and leading every single lap of the three motos. KS22 needs just a handful of points in the first moto at Little Silver to clinch the championship for 2012 and to be honest he deserves it. Shaun is sitting in a strong second, but with a 58 point deficit, only a biblical disaster for Strijbos would rob him of the title. With HM plant signing the rider for next year; his competitors need to be very worried.
Dougan Town. Despite quite a few riders being based down this way, our trusty series commentator had decided that this was Dougan’s track and he could ‘do what he liked’. And in fairness to Jason, he looked like he could, starting the first moto on blistering form at the sharp end of the pack in a way that he has rarely done this season. Dougan held second behind Strijbos for all but the last two laps before Simpson squeezed past. Race two looked like a carbon copy until he took a tumble on the top straight and had to claw back to ninth. A fifth in the third outing was good enough for fifth overall – good work Doogs.
Krestinov Steps up. Another success for the MVRD Team came in the form of Gert Krestinov’s welcome return to form at Langrish. On a circuit that was so typically old school British, Gert certainly found his mojo in Hampshire, going 7, 3, 3 to end up with a podium reaching third overall. OK so you could argue that with Karro, Sword and Snow out injured, Whatley without a ride and Barr smacking himself up in race two that the field is getting thinner as the season goes on, but, as the saying goes, you gotta be in it to win it. Gert Lush Result.
Elliot Banks Points. Finally EBB got some luck at Langrish, pounding out three good races for a 4/3/3 to keep just in reaching distance of the title. With the full Dixon squad returning to the series this weekend, EBB looked somewhat ganged up on at times as the Yamahas swarmed around him, but Elliot stayed strong to land on the podium and slightly shrink the gap between him and Pocock. As predicted, Mel’s team mates did little to help him and in fact lessened his lead quite effectively. Bryan Mackenzie deserves a mention here too as he was on an absolute mission on Sunday and clocked in fifth overall and is now fifth in the championship.
The Zac & Arnie Show. As just mentioned, Osborne and Tonus returned to the British Championship this weekend and gave us a glimpse of how the series could have looked this year. The duo were simple unstoppable this weekend – oh hang on – Arnaud was stopped when he tried to jump his gate, but apart from that Steve Dixon’s dream team were a class apart at Langrish, whether it was Tonus slicing through the pack in moto one to the two of them blasting away at the front in the second and third races. What is amazing is that both are so fast with such differing styles. Zach climbs all over the bike like an enthusiastic gibbon, whereas Tonus styles it up like Everts. Both are a joy to watch, and Little Silver could be the last time we see Osborne on British soil as he is signed for Geico Honda next year, Catch him while you can.
Double Hard Bastard. On this website we have pictured many a motocross injury, and written about riders overcoming pain to keep their championships alive. But these pale into insignificance to the heroism of PAR Hondas Dorren Coutts. Dorren scored a fairly good to average 12/4/6, a scorecard not helped by looping his bike off the line in the first race, before going on to running with the fast guys for the remaining races. But the amazing bit is that Coutts had a horrendous injury just a few weeks ago that had left him with a broken foot and a big toe so smashed up it had to be amputated. And it’s his gear change foot! We caught up with a ‘clearly in mild agony’ Dorren just after the third race, desperate to remove his boot and release his battered size ten. If the picture doesn’t make you wince, you are a robot. Coutts you are Double Hard and we salute you.
All done for Round 7 and one to go. See you in Devon.
Words Julian Challis
Images by Ray Chuss