What a difference a week makes!!.Just seven days earlier,persistent rain had caused the abandonment of the opening meeting in the AMCA North Avon/South Gloucestershire Group at Ford after just two blocks of very slippery and muddy racing.
So,following that false start,officials had their fingers firmly crossed as another weekend approached,hoping that they could finally fire the new season into life.Thankfully their hopes and prayers were to be definitely answered with a fine,dry day and a bumper entry converging on Rockhampton to all enjoy a great day of AMCA action.Even a large gathering of spectators turned up to bask in the early Spring sunshine and watch Luke Dean,Paul Neale,Owen Hillman and Ben Summerfield start the new campaign in style by bagging impressive maximum points scores.
Fresh out of the youth racing ranks,17 year-old Luke Dean scorched to three brilliant wins in the MX1 Experts ranks aboard his Transporterland Honda.Blowing his rivals away,Luke won a rerun moto one by over fifty seconds, what a performance!!.With the talented youngster in total control,Kristofer Ayres,Adam Harris and finally Aran Agius finished as moto runners-ups.Throughout the day,both Ayres and Harris,mounted on 250cc two-strokes were always right in the mix for honours whilst there was also a surprise appearance from former triple AMCA 125cc Champion James Cumber.Also 250cc two-stroke mounted on a borrowed bike from Max Hendy,James having his first ride for seven years displayed plenty of his old style and speed to earn a very respectable 12th overall.However taking home the silverware on this occasion behind the flying Luke Dean was his Transporterland Honda teammate Robert Lewis and KTM mounted Ayres.Both Dean and Lewis will be attempting to qualify for the 2012 AMCA MX1 Championship and on this form certainly look more than capable of upsetting some of the more regular experienced challengers!!.
Also showing fantastic early season form was top AMCA MX2 Championship contender Paul Neale,winning all three Rockhampton MX2 Experts clashes from start to finish in his usual smooth and very rapid style.In the first two encounters,the Racespec Kawasaki pilot was chased home by James Lane,returning to the MX2 class after a brief flirtation aboard 450F machines,with the likes of Bradley Bird,Matthew Bath,Ash Newton,Ryan Woodward,Brandon Benjamin and Joe Russell also right in the frame.However it was all change in the last moto with LRT Honda rider Lane gating down in 12th before eventually getting back to 6th.Chasing the supersonic Neale to the flag this time was Brandon Benjamin, Bath,Bird and Russell.So after three typically frantic clashes the final overall MX2 standings saw victory go to the super Neale with Laner in 2nd and Birdy 3rd.
In Seniors MX1,John Hawkins,Mark Dudley and Steven Cook all scored a moto win each but it was the very consistent Robert Mills with a 3/2/2 scorecard who took the overall victory.As Cook and Dudley joined Mills in the overall top three,Hawkins was a last moto non-starter,dropping him back to an eventual 10th in the final standings. Seniors MX2 also produced three different race winners in Michael Chapman,Kile Proctor and Rikki English.With Chapman then not enjoying the best of fortunes following his flying start to proceedings,the top three in this group instead consisted of victor Proctor,English and Tom Radburn.
Stephen James won the opening MX1 Juniors contest chased by Craig Newton,Stephen Guest,Josh Dudfield,Tony Faulkner and Graham Blake.In the remaining two moto’s,Kawasaki mounted Newton was first past the post,enough to also claim the overall top prize from James and Guest.Juniors MX2,and Ben Summerfield was celebrating the third maximum points score of the day at Rockhampton.As Summerfield dominated,Joe Wilkins chased him home in moto one before adding just a further 17 points to his score.So with Wilkins down in 16th,the Juniors MX2 top three was instead rounded off by Gregory Saunders and Jamie Norcombe.
After Ethan Lambert won the opening Juniors MX2 Under 18 battle,Jack Meredith was to then take control. Victorious in both motos two and three,Meredith was also the overall top lad ahead of Lambert,Harry Kopec,Grant Jones,Joel Curtis and Elliot Woodward.The final Rockhampton maximum belonged to the very impressive Inter Juniors rider Owen Hillman.With Owen in control,Tomas Watson(2) and Hamish Catto proved to be his closest challengers as Alex Griffith,Adam Bayliss and James Kay were also right in contention.In total,26 riders contested the Inter-Juniors thus ensuring that this was to be a great start to the 2012 AMCA North Avon/South Gloucestershire racing season.
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Mike Wood (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org)