Year after year Blaxhall produces top notch racing as one of the most epic tracks on the calendar for both the fans and the riders alike. Blaxhall, a track that could be described as motocross heaven since that’s what it looked like this morning with it’s soft sand-like soil disked to perfection, hosted the sixth round of the Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championship where the red plate switched hands in the premier class with Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Tommy Searle going 1 – 1 for his third overall win of the season, and the championship lead, while Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Adam Sterry topped the box in MX2 for the third time on the bounce.
P & H Motorcycles KTM’s Michael Ellis topped the box for the first time in the MXY2 class.
The opening race in the premier class today was a crazy one. Buildbase Honda’s Graeme Irwin led the MX1 stampede on the opening lap with Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Tommy Searle and Hitachi Revo Husqvarna’s Jake Nicholls hot on him. Searle was instantly in race mode and looked like a beast out here as he barged Irwin out of the way on lap two. Nicholls watched the pass play out and sensed an opportunity to take second in Tommy’s wake. He did so and charged after the ‘100’ to challenge for a win here at his local track.
With Searle and Nicholls leading the way, attention shifted to the championship leader Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Shaun Simpson who was out the back playing with the dudes that hover around the top 20 after crashing at turn three and then having another tip over while charging back through field.
On lap three, Buildbase Honda’s Kristian Whatley, who had his best qualifying session of the season, qualifying in second place, launched past Verde Motorsport KTM’s Brad Anderson for fourth. A few laps later, a series of yellow flags started waving after Declan Whittle had a nasty fall in some braking bumps after the finish line jump. Whittle was attended to on the track by the medical staff before the race was red flagged for the safety of Whittle and the medics.
The race was called off at the 13 minute mark which meant the result stood, handing Searle an enormous win, in terms of the championship, with Simpson way back in seventeenth, while Nicholls also took a massive chunk out of the points of the defending champion with his second place finish. Irwin was awarded third ahead of his teammate, Whatley, while Anderson rounded out the top five.
With high temperatures, weather wise, and even hotter racing, the heat was properly turned up in MX1 today. The battle everyone has been dying to see between Shaun Simpson and Tommy Searle finally took place, except it wasn’t with Shaun Simpson, instead it was the local legend Jake Nicholls.
In race two, Nicholls went bar-to-bar with Searle around turn one and edged him out for the early lead. Searle wasn’t overly keen on eating roost for an entire moto and quickly made Nicholls aware he was in trouble. Searle did manage to edge the ‘45’ out on the second lap but Nicholls wasn’t having it and took it back in no time at all.
The dogfight raged on for the first half of the race before Nicholls rear brake broke which made things easier for Searle who eventually built a sturdy lead. Meanwhile, Buildbase Honda’s throttle jockeys, Graeme Irwin and Kristian Whatley, squabbled over third for a lap or so before Whatley made a pass stick with a text book move up the inside through the braking bumps. Dyer & Butler KTM’s Steven Lenoir rounded out the top five.
Another double moto victory saw Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Tommy Searle top the box for third time this season while Hitachi Revo Husqvarna’s Jake Nicholls uncorked a bottle of fizz in second. Buildbase Honda’s Kristian Whatley landed on the box, in third, for the first time this year.
Even the best fall down sometimes. And that sums up Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Shaun Simpson’s day. The defending champion had a disastrous day in the office with bad starts and a bunch of crashes being the ingredients of a terrible result, which saw him relinquish the red plate. Simpson only finished tenth. He lost 32 points to Searle today, and despite coming in with a 16-point lead in the championship, he now trails Searle by 14.
Race one kicked off with the two main protagonists leading the way around turn one. Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Adam Sterry edged Apico Husqvarna’s Steven Clarke out for the Fox Wood Holeshot ahead of the hot starters, Dyer & Butler KTM’s Liam Knight and Planet Advanced Suspension’s Brad Todd.
Sterry, as the winner of the last two rounds of the Maxxis, has fast become the biggest threat to the MX2 championship. The ‘811’ was on rails today, looking as smooth as silk out on the choppy and rough soil of Blaxhall. Clarkey was no slug in second and kept the KTM ace honest although held back in the early phases of the race.
As the front-runners crossed the line for lap four, Apico Husqvarna’s Bryan MacKenzie and Hitach Revo Husqvarna’s Mel Pocock clocked in for their day shifts. Both riders were at the blunt end of the top ten around turn one, but it wasn’t too long before they were making noise for third. MacKenzie didn’t waste any time showing Todd he means business by charging full tilt up the inside of him. Somehow, Todd didn’t even blink; he just threw an elbow back and held onto third for another half of a lap before MacKenzie nailed him with a classic square-up maneuver.
After a commendable effort at holding onto third, Todd eventually dropped back to 7th after being passed by Pocock, who was donning new colours from kit to bike today. Meanwhile, at the 15-minute mark, Clarkey hooked a gear and caught Sterry to pass him with a move that was sweeter than sugar. Basically, the red plate holder hit a rut unbelievably fast and bar-dragged his way around the outside of him.
Sterry did his best to respond but ended up settling for second ahead of MacKenzie, Pocock, Knight, and the local kid riding for Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki, James Cottrell.
As for Buildbase Honda’s Martin Barr, he had an awkward crash where he was pinned under his bike. He was even further back than dead last by the time he got going again and only got back to seventeenth, which was a huge blow to his championship campaign.
There was a touch of Déjà vu in MX2 race two with the top three crossing the Fox Wood line in the same order as in race one. Sterry led the way, although he had a few hairy moments in the huge breaking bumps that had formed at the end of the high speed sections, but nevertheless, at the end of lap one he had a 1.7 second lead over Clarke.
Meanwhile the other two Husky stars, Pocock and MacKenzie, were in better shape this time round and by the end of lap one they were both inside the top four. Initially it was Pocock who had third in the palm of his hand, but those hands were also full with MacKenzie feeling hungrier than he. Both riders are not scared to rub plastic, so there was nothing in it for a good half of a lap as they scrapped it out for third. Eventually, Bry-Mac got the job done with and outside to inside switch.
As Sterry checked out in the heat of Blaxhall, Clarkey looked as though he was riding a smart race with the championship on his mind and the knowledge that his favourite round of the series, Foxhills, is only one stop away. While he didn’t appear to be pushing, he may have chilled out a little too much because he crashed anyway.
Sterry then went on to win by an enormous 25 seconds over MacKenzie. Pocock stayed on MacKenzie to the finish for an impressive third ahead of Knight, while merits have to be given to Evo-Tech KTM’s Jordan Divell who had his work cut out for him with Buildbase Honda’s Martin Barr on him on the last lap, but he managed to keep the Honda star at bay for fifth, his best race finish of the season.
As for the championship leader, he lost a ton of time and dropped outside of the top ten but being the gritty guy he is, he didn’t give up and charged hard to salvage seventh.
With a 2-1 result, Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Adam Sterry took his third consecutive overall victory. Apico Husqvarna’s Bryan MacKenzie was second while Hitachi Revo Husqvarna’s Mel Pocock had an outstanding debut on the white machine but was nudged off the podium by Apico Husqvarna’s Steven Clarke.
Apico Husqvarna’s Steven Clarke finished still maintains the championship lead by 4 points over his teammate Bryan MacKenzie, while Sterry has moved up to third and is only 7 points shy of the lead.
The red plate holder, Holeshot Motocross’ James Carpenter was red hot out of the gate as he took a massive holeshot by more than a bike length over the kid fastest in qualifying, P & H Motorcycles KTM’s Michael Ellis and Husqvarna UK’s Dexter Douglas.
Gear 4 Racing KTM’s Jake Edey also got off to an epic start in fourth, but the same can’t be said for the MXY2’s most recent star, Apico Husqvarna’s Alexander Brown, who was way back in sixteenth on lap one.
Just as he has done with the championship thus far, Carpenter ran for another race win. Meanwhile, Ellis turned his hot lap in qualifying, where he was the fastest rider on the track into a bunch of hot laps for second place, despite a last lap challenge from Douglas.
With Douglas all over Ellis on the last lap, the fans didn’t know where to look with the battle for fourth being an outright brawl between RFX KTM’s Henry Williams, Edey, and Team Green Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Dylan Woodcock. With only a couple turns to go, Edey tried to make a move on Williams, tagged him and then was tagged by Woodcock, which put him off the side of a jump and down. Williams took home fourth while Woodcock rounded out the top five. Jake Edey remounted and managed to hold onto sixth.
As for the MXY2 hot shot, Apico Husqvarna’s Alexander Brown, he got off to a shocking start but put in a mega performance to challenge Douglas for third in the later stages of the race. Unfortunately, the young star that has only just come back from injury, fell and pulled out of the race with what looked to be a shoulder injury.
There was all sorts of pandemonium in the final race of the day with SJP Moto Husqvarna’s Callum Green taking a narrow holeshot over Jake Edey and Henry Williams. Green put in one good lap before making a mistake, which dropped him back outside of the top fifteen. Meanwhile Carl Nunn KTM’s George Grigg-Pettitt was on the cable and set the fastest lap of the race on his mission from outside the top five to third by the end of lap two. Michael Ellis was fourth in the early stages of the race, while Dylan Woodcock was doing the ‘shake and bake’ and went from outside of the top ten to fifth.
At the half-way mark Edey, Williams and GGP had to spa for the lead. Edey bobbled and Williams got by and instantly pulled a gap. It wasn’t an easy pass, but GGP eventually got past Edey too before binning it.
In the latter stages of the race things started to tighten up at the top as Ellis and Woodcock caught Edey to challenge for second. Ellis was the first to pounce and he took the spot by ripping around the outside. A tired Edey dropped back to fourth which gave Woodcock third, his first top three finish of the season.
Dexter Douglas impressively rounded out the top five after crashing at turn one, while the race one winner and championship leader James Carpenter faced some adversity and only finished eleventh in that race.
It was a primo day in the office for the kid who set the initial pace as the top qualifier. P & H Motorcycles KTM’s Michael Ellis took his first overall victory of the season. The final race winner, RFX KTM’s Henry Williams, stood on the second step while Team Green Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Dylan Woodcock made his first appearance to the box this year in third.
Words by MXGB