Torrential rains deluged much of Northern Ireland in the week preceding the fifth round of the Maxxis British Motocross Championship, but those rains couldn’t have prepared the track better for this weekend’s racing activities. Evotech Stevens Honda returned to full strength on Sunday morning with Joe Bamfield returning from injury.
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The morning’s qualifying sessions got off to a muddy start in the MX2 class with Neville Bradshaw clocking up a solid position in seventh place, which then turned into a ninth in the super-pole. Jordan Divall qualified in twenty-ninth, whereas Bamfield qualified in tenth in the MXY2 class.
For Bradshaw, the first race was a mixed affair. Mid-pack in the first lap, Bradshaw had to work hard to return to the front of the pack, only to slip off and lose several positions. At the finish line, he found himself in eighth. The second race improved somewhat with a top ten start, but Bradshaw was not able to make much progress on the increasingly difficult track. Sandwiched between two formidable rivals, Bradshaw found himself relegated to eighth yet again. The third race finally went as planned. Another top ten start turned into a steady ascent to sixth, then, after a heated battle, Bradshaw moved up to fourth with seconds left on the clock. The double eighth and fourth together were sufficient for a seventh overall on the day.
Divall was on track to make this his best day yet in the championship. Around the first lap in the top fifteen, he settled into a strong sixteenth place. With time remaining in the single digits, two crashes cost Divall his place in the points and put him back into twenty-seventh place at the finish flag. The second race ended before it really started. After being crowded out on the start, Divall poured his efforts into catching up. Cross-rutting on take-off on a jump, Divall was thrown off the bike, collecting a concussion and lots of dirt on the way, ending the day on the couch.
In the MXY2 class, Bamfield showed that he was back up for the fight. Mid-pack into the first few corners, Bamfield was back in the top ten a lap later, scrapping with rivals for sixth throughout the race, ending seventh at the chequered flag. The second race got off to a better start. Eighth in the first lap, Bamfield looked to enter the top five soon after. Coming off a jump he crashed and restarted in seventeenth, retiring a lap later because of the inability to hold on. Nonetheless, Bamfield was able to take home a top fifteen overall.
Explained team principal Matt Hutchins after the race: “We had a good end to the day with Neville. He struggled in the first two races and finally got to grips with it in the last one with a fourth in the race and some more points for the championship. Jordan’s first race started really well, and then had a big crash in his second race, so he’s got a bad concussion. Joe had a great first race, but he had a big hit coming down the hill and locked up his arm, so he had to pull in.”
Neville Bradshaw (#272): Qualifying wasn’t that good, then in the first moto went down and got back to eighth. In the second moto I was eighth again, and in the last one got a fourth, so yeah, we’re going back to the drawing board next week.
Jordan Divall (#63): Qualifying was my best qualifying to date, I think I was twenty-ninth. The first race was really good, I was holding the pace for fourteenth, started to get tired and dropped back. I dropped to twentieth and then dropped the bike, couldn’t get it going again, which was really annoying. In the second race I think I was about twenty-fifth, got cross-rutted and crashed and knocked myself out.
Joe Bamfield (#54): Qualifying was not all that because I’ve been off the bike for four weeks, so tenth was ok. In the first race I had a reasonable start, being tenth I didn’t have the best gate pick, came through to seventh and kept it safe because I wasn’t comfortable. Second race I was really not comfortable, hit a kicker, hurt my arm and I had to pull off.