It was an interesting weekend all around at the fifth round of the British Motocross Championships at Desertmartin, in Northern Ireland, with most of the Kiwi contingent scoring points while learning some valuable lessons racing against some of the Grand Prix world’s elite.
Swiss rider Arnaud Tonus (Bike It Wild Wolf Cosworth Yamaha) and great Briton Brad Anderson (PAR Honda) took control at the weekend, although Kiwi DBG Team riders Kieran Scheele, Bjarne Fredericksen and John Phillips, and Maxxis Apicio Suzuki rider Kayne Lamont were also very much in the thick of the action.
After an eight-week summer break, Tonus and Anderson dominated proceedings with MX2 rider Tonus taking two race wins, backed up by a second, whilse Anderson worked hard to record three outright, but not easy, victories.
The drama started in the first pair of motos when the current red plate holder, American Zach Osborne, retired from the opening moto after a stone jammed in the chain of his Yamaha and Scotland’s Stephen Sword (Buildbase CCM) crashed out of his first race whilst leading and dislocated his shoulder.
A member of the team eventually put it back in place for the tough Scottish exile, but he was unable to take any further part in the remainder of the meeting.
The demise of Osborne allowed his team partner to forge 31 points ahead in the series with three rounds remaining, while Anderson heads back across the Irish Sea with a commanding 32-point lead over Kristian Whatley (Samsung Yamaha), whose speed in moto one from 33rd on lap one to third at the flag was amazing.
Both Sword and Jason Dougan on the larger version of the Bike It Cosworth Wild Wolf Yamaha failed to add to the points score on his machine after their first moto misfortunes so it is now Whatley who holds second in the MX1 class as the series moves to Foxhill in Wiltshire in one month’s time.
Local favourite Martin Barr ( Proppa.com KTM) opened up a substantial lead in the opening moto until a small crash on the second lap demoted him to sixth. Urged on by the partisan crowd, he immediately fought back to second and mounted a desperate challenge on the final lap, but had to give best to Anderson. He repeated his position in the second moto before having to settle for third in the final moments of the third moto, but that was still enough to net him second on the day – much to the delight of the large crowd. Both Whatley and Barr now overtake Sword in the championship standings.
At the end of an action-packed day, Jake Nicholls (HM Plant Red Bull KTM), who was making his debut in the 2011 series after injury, convincingly won the opening moto by 23 seconds and tried to repeat the feat in the second moto, but had to give best to the hard charging Tonus. Elliot Banks-Browne (DB Racing Honda) scored consistently with a trio of fourth places to take the lower step on the podium.
Also in the action was a friend of the New Zealanders, former junior world champion Mattis Karro, the Latvian finishing 10-7-7 in the MX2 class, ending his day sixth overall.
Meanwhile, for the Kiwis themselves, the battling took place a little further back in the races.
In the MX1 class, Hawke’s Bay’s Scheele finished the day 25-21-17, good enough for 23rd overall, while Masterton’s Fredericksen managed 22-23 before DNFing his final race.
In the MX2 class, Rotorua’s Phillips finished 28-16-22, good for 22nd overall, while Mangakino’s Lamont finished 29-18-26 to end the day 26th overall.
In terms of the championship, Scheele is 41st overall in the MX1 class after contesting just two of the five rounds thus far, injury sidelining him from the other rounds.
Phillips is 27th overall in the MX2 championship, while Lamont, who was making his debut appearance in the series at the weekend, finds himself 42nd overall.
© Photo by Stefan Paetow, eons netmedia