The fourth round of the Michelin MX Nationals British Championship welcomed a record crowd and blazing sunshine to the well-groomed Sherwood MX circuit. Changes at the front of the hard-charging Fastest 40 made for excellent racing, and the fast-flowing track ensured the racing was tight throughout all ten classes. The incredibly hot and breezy conditions tested the track crew as much as the riders as, with soaring temperatures, they were on constant watering duty. The track held good though, as did the riders despite battling exhaustion and dehydration.
Elliott Banks-Browne set out his stall in morning timed qualifying with a time of 1:39.505, edging out racing rival and long-time pal Jake Nicholls by just .002 of a second. He then went on to take both Pro MX1 a start to finish ahead of Nicholls, who had two second places, and Gert Krestinov with two thirds. “The day started well with practice,” said Banks-Browne, “then in the first race I got a good start and Jake crashed, so I had a pretty easy race really. It was a similar story in the second as I got a good enough start, came through from second and raced some good lines. With about 10 minutes to go, I lost the rear brake but had a big enough lead to be able to manage it. It feels good to have stopped Jake’s winning streak and hopefully I’ll carry this speed and consistency into the rest of the year. This round was my turning point last year and I went on to battle for the win for the rest of the season. I feel really confident. The bike’s good, the team’s worked really hard, I’m feeling confident and looking forward to the rest of the year.”
Series leader Nicholls didn’t fare quite so well. In the first race he was entangled in an unavoidable incident with Rob Hooper Yamaha’s Kristian Whatley who had swerved behind Banks-Browne, leaving Nicholls with no-where to go but into him. Both riders suffered bent bikes but, once the pack had passed, Nicholls straightened his out as best he could and got going, albeit it from dead last. He recovered and rode through to second in class and third in the race. Whatley was not quite so fortunate; his bike wasn’t rideable, and he hurt the leg he broke last year. In the second race, Nicholls had a moderate start and was catching Banks-Browne but crashed as he was getting ready to make a pass. He again recovered and finished second, just over 10 seconds behind Banks-Browne. “It was a shame about the first race crash, but it was an unavoidable racing incident,” explained Nicholls. “In the second race, I had an okay start and I caught up with Elliott on the second or third lap. I was getting ready to make the move and try and get away, as I had the speed to do so, but I had a freak accident on one of the jumps, scrubbed it and lost the back end. I had to get away from the bike in the air and fortunately landed on my feet. The bike was in a bit of a state, it was really bent, and the bars mangled. I got up to about fifth but struggled after that to be honest. The track was tough, and I lost my rhythm and found it difficult to ride with bent bars. I did have the speed and should have won both races today but it’s just how it goes sometimes. Two seconds are okay and I’m still leading the championship.”
Rounding out the MX1 podium and recovering from illness, third-placed Krestinov took two solid thirds from two average starts. “My day was good considering I was ill for two weeks prior to the weekend and I still have some symptoms. Getting on the podium was really good and that was the maximum I could do this weekend.”
In the MX2 class, Buildbase Honda’s new recruit Josh Gilbert, was fastest throughout the day, and right in the thick of it with the MX1 riders. He took pole, and two wins with Revo Husqvarna’s Martin Barr and Lewis Tombs behind him in the first race. Tombs and Brad Todd (JK I-Fly Yamaha) chased him all the way in the second moto but Barr struggled with front tyre/mousse issues in the second race and pulled in for safety reasons. Said Gilbert; “The day couldn’t have gone much better really. Fastest in qualifying, winning both motos and setting the fastest MX2 laps in both races. In both races I had a good jump out the gate, but as the start straight was so long the 450s edged in front so in both motos I had to pull through from around eighth. I’m really happy to go two-four for third overall out of everyone. It’s all going really well at the minute, my speed’s good, the team’s doing a great job and my bike is working amazingly.”
Nursing a knee injury, Pro MX2 series leader Brad Anderson put in a valiant effort to compete in both races. He was down the order in an uncustomary seventh in the first race and didn’t finish the second. He did, however, pick up valuable points and still leads the championship by 14 points.
Elsewhere in the action-packed MX Nationals, the first day of racing follows a set format at every round. The Expert MX2 riders were first out with Jason Meara making a worthwhile trip from Northern Ireland to set fastest time in qualifying and take both race wins. In the first race, he battled from second to last to take the win ahead of Charlie Putnam by just 0.649 seconds, with Ben Clark in third. In the second, he was in a class of his own, taking the lead early on and the win by 12.362 seconds in front of Joe Cadwallader and Clark. Meara put in a repeat performance on Sunday with another two moto wins and the fastest lap time in each.
Meara’s elder brother John took the Expert MX1 race one win, with a significant margin of 9.164 seconds ahead of championship leader Richard Bird and Brad Cavill. Race two saw the same top three but with a different order of Bird, Cavill and Meara. Meara finished second and third in Sunday’s races to stand 14th in the championship, having completed just one round! Cavill and Bird took the race three win and third, whilst Josh Bentley posted an impressive flag to flag win in the final race, with Cavill second. Bird continues to lead the series.
The final races of each block on Saturday saw the Clubman MX2 and Clubman MX1 racers out separately. In race one, Harry Foster, Fabio Rizzi and Charlie Razzell took the top three places, with Callan Stevenson, Foster and Rizzi taking the honours in the second race. In the biggest class of the day, namely the Clubman MX2, Harry Fletcher was the only rider in the top three in each race. He won the first moto ahead of Jamie McCarthy and Joe Walklett and in the second, finished in second place behind Aiden Christie and in front of Guy Prince. Day two and Foster and Rizzi shared the spoils in Clubman MX2 with Foster taking the overall and Rizzi second. Fletcher and McCarthy won a race each in Clubman MX1. Fletcher took the overall.
Over in the youth ranks the combined Big Wheel and Small Wheel 85s saw plenty of action. Ryan Mawhinney cleaned up in both races in the bigger-wheeled category whilst, in the small wheels, Bailey Johnston and Ollie Colmer shared a win apiece. Come day two and Mawhinney slipped off the podium in the third of the BW85 races, however, his performances in the other three were enough to give him the overall. Johnston and Colmer continued their intense set of battles in the SW85 category; Bailey won both final races, but Colmer’s storming performance on Saturday was enough to gift him a hard-fought overall.
The second of the youth categories are the MXY1 and MXY2 runners. Having qualified fastest with a time of 1:44.069 on day one, Joel Rizzi went on to take third and second, with Callum Green taking both wins. Aaron-Lee Hanson and Samuel Nunn both featured in each race with, respectively, a second and third. Green again reigned supreme on Sunday, with two fine wins and the overall in the MXY2, whilst RFX Crescent Yamaha’s Rizzi smashed out a second and a win to secure the overall in the MXY1 class.
The fifth round of the Michelin MX Nationals heads south east to the challenging Canada Heights circuit in Kent over the weekend of the 14th and 15th of July 2018. Entries are now open and registrations for wild card riders being accepted.
Pro MX 1
Race 1. 1. Elliot Banks-Browne, 2. Jake Nicholls, 3. Gert Krestinov, 4. Micky Eccles, 5. Ryan Houghton, 6. Liam Knight
Race 2. 1. Elliot Banks-Browne, 2. Jake Nicholls, 3. Gert Krestinov, 4. Ryan Houghton, 5. Liam Knight, 6. Dan Thornhill
Overall: 1. Banks-Browne 50 points, 2. Nicholls 44, 3. Krestinov 40, 4. Houghton 34, 5. Knight 31, 6. Thornhill 29
Championship: 1. Nicholls (Buildbase Honda) 194, 2. Banks-Browne (Geartec Husqvarna) 176, 3. Houghton (Rob Hooper Yamaha) 132, 4. Krestinov (Phoenix Tools Honda) 122, 5. Knight (Trevor Pope KTM), 6. Eccles (Manchester M/Cs Husqvarna) 116
Pro MX 2
Race 1. 1. Josh Gilbert, 2. Martin Barr, 3. Lewis Tombs, 4. Brad Todd, 5. Alexander Brown, 6. Taylor Hammal
Race 2. 1. Josh Gilbert, 2. Lewis Tombs, 3. Brad Todd, 4. Alexander Brown, 5. Robbie Dowson, 6. Taylor Hammal
Overall: 1. Gilbert 50, 2. Tombs 42, 3. Todd 38, 4. Brown 34, 5. Hammal 30, 6. Glenn McCormick 25
Championship: 1. Anderson (Verdesports Substance KTM) 158, 2. Gilbert (Buildbase Honda) 144, 3. Tombs (Putoline Planet Racing) 129, 4. Brown (Husqvarna) 113, 5. Michael Ellis (ASA P&H M/Cs KTM) 99, 6. Hammal (Trevor Pope KTM) 93
Race 1: 1. Harry Foster, 2. Fabio Rizzi, 3. Charlie Razzell
Race 2: 1. Callan Stevenson, 2. Harry Foster, 3. Fabio Rizzi
Race 3. 1. Harry Foster, 2. Charlie Razzell, 3. Callan Stevenson
Race 4. 1. Fabio Rizzi, 2. Harry Foster, 3. Charlie Razzell
Overall: 1.Foster, 2. Rizzi, 3. Razzell
Championship: 1. Foster 316, 2. Rizzi 282, 3. Brad Thornhill 228
Race 1: 1. Harry Fletcher, 2. Jamie McCarthy, 3. Joe Walklett
Race 2: 1. Aiden Christie, 2. Harry Fletcher, 3. Guy Prince
Race 3. 1. Harry Fletcher, 2. Jamie McCarthy, 3. Aiden Christie
Race 4. 1. Jamie McCarthy, 2. Scott Bates, 3. Harry Fletcher
Overall: 1. Fletcher, 2. Guy Prince, 3. McCarthy
Championship: 1. Christie 294, 2. Prince 278, 3. Fletcher 265
Race 1: 1. Jason Meara, 2. Charlie Putnam, 3. Ben Clark
Race 2 : 1. Jason Meara, 2. Joe Cadwallader, 3. Ben Clark
Race 3. 1. Jason Meara, 2. Ben Clark, 3. Joe Cadwallader
Race 4. 1. Jason Meara, 2. Charlie Putnam, 3. Ben Clark
Overall: 1. Meara, 2. Clark, 3. Putnam
Championship: 1. Meara 312, 2. Clark, 3. Ryan McClean 217
Race 1: 1. John Meara, 2. Richard Bird, 3. Brad Cavill
Race 2. 1. Richard Bird, 2. Brad Cavill, 3. John Meara
Race 3. 1. Brad Cavill, 2. John Meara, 3. Richard Bird
Race 4. 1. Josh Bentley, 2. Brad Cavill, 3. John Meara
Overall: 1. Cavill, 2. Meara, 3. Bird
Championship: 1. Bird 318, 2. Cavill 254, 3. Ryan Crowder 222
Race 1: 1. Callum Green, 2. Aaron-Lee Hanson, 3. Denny Rapson
Race 2: 1. Callum Green, 2. Aaron-Lee Hanson, 3. Denny Rapson
Race 3. 1. Callum Green, 2. Denny Rapson, 3. Kacey Hird
Race 4. 1. Callum Green, 2. Aaron-Lee Hanson, 3. Denny Rapson
Overall: 1. Green, 2. Hanson, 3. Rapson
Championship: 1. Green 335, 2. Hanson 328, 3. Rapson 266
Race 1: 1. Joel Rizzi, 2. Dominic Lancett, 3. Samuel Nunn
Race 2: 1. Joel Rizzi, 2. Samuel Nunn, 3. Sam Price
Race 3. 1. Samuel Nunn, 2. Joel Rizzi, 3. Dominic Lancett
Race 4. 1. Joel Rizzi, 2. Samuel Nunn, 3. Adam Collings
Overall: 1. Rizzi, 2. Nunn, 3. Sam Price
Championship: 1. Rizzi 342, 2. Dylan Spenser 237, 3. Bobby Bruce 232
Race 1: 1. Ryan Mawhinney, 2. Ethan Lane, 3. Buster Hart
Race 2: 1. Ryan Mawhinney, 2. Jack Grayshon, 3. Charlie Heyman
Race 3. 1. Jack Grayshon, 2. Charlie Heyman, 3. Ethan Lane
Race 4. 1. Ryan Mawhinney, 2. Jack Grayshon, 3. Ethan Lane
Overall: 1. Mawhinney, 2. Grayshon, 3. Lane
Championship: 1. Mawhinney 345, 2. Grayshon, 3. Hart 252
Race 1: 1. Bailey Johnston, 2. Ollie Colmer, 3. Arai Elcock
Race 2: 1. Ollie Colmer, 2. Boston Gilbert, 3. Arai Elcock
Race 3. 1. Bailey Johnston, 2. Ollie Colmer, 3. Ben Mustoe
Race 4. 1. Bailey Johnston, 2. Ollie Colmer, 3. Boston Gilbert
Overall: 1. Colmer, 2. Johnston, 3. Gilbert
Championship: 1. Johnston 354, 2. Colmer 318, 3. Elcock 271
Pictured: Local-to-Sherwood, Callum Green blitzed the opposition in the MXY2 class.