Thrills, spills, dramatic moments, close racing and challenging track conditions, the first AMCA British Motocross Championship ‘Double Header’ at Warmingham Lane, Cheshire had it all! On day one of the weekend, clear blue skies and soaring temperatures quickly dried the going out thus creating dust clouds which the organising Middlewich MXC had to battle with and attempt to put the lid on. Watering the track when and where possible, it meant that several very wet and muddy patches were then created at various points around the circuit, an element which was to certainly catch a few riders out as the meeting progressed, more of that later!! After working hard on Saturday night to soak the track, additional aid was then provided by some natural watering from that big can in the sky. With welcome cooler temperatures and cloud cover also prevailing on day two it meant conditions were dust free and just about ideal, the Middlewich MXC crew had won their fight!
In the battle out on track for Championship points, Ashley Greedy(LHRT Kawasaki) still leads MX1 and Phil Mercer(FUS Marsh MX Husqvarna) continues to be the boss in the Vets class. But it’s all change in the remaining classes with Henry Williams(Apex GasGas UK), Kieran Banks(Meredith MX Fantic) and Oliver Rigby(Tom Arnold/Lucas Oils KTM) now in control of the respective MX2, 125cc and Youth 85cc Championship classes.
Five races over the weekend was to create two separate overall results for round 2 and round 3 of the 2021 AMCA series powered by Datatag and supported by Dunlop. Opening proceeding for the weekend was a big MX1 clash and right from the off there was to be major drama as Luke Burton the defending Champion found himself the innocent victim of a first turn collision. After being run over by several riders, Burton was a distant last as the pack disappeared led by Jamie Skuse. On the opening lap though, Skuse was to be a victim of one of the heavily watered patches. Form here onwards it was Josh Waterman taking control before blasting to a super stylish win ahead of Greedy, Luke Hawkins, James Dodd, Adam Chatfield, Mark Young and James Mackrel. Following his early off, Burton somehow got right back to 12th whilst Zac Stealey, also involved in that turn one carnage recovered strongly to earn 16th. Skuse was quickest away again in moto two before first Greedy then Burton led the charge. Gating 6th, Chatfield eventually came through for 2nd but it was Waterman in 4th who was to take the overall win for day one.
In very determined and focussed mood, Waterman then won the opening two moto’s on the second day. In the last clash of day two though fortunes changed for Josh after crashing on the opening lap and damaging is Honda’s clutch, eventually nursing his machine home for a 16th place finish. Taking victory in that one was the consistent Greedy despite being under race long pressure from Burton who bagged the overall victory in this round three. This class is certainly living up to expectations with just 16 points separating the current top five in the standings of Greedy, Burton, Waterman, Chatfield and Dodd.
Five riders, Rossi Beard, Nev Bradshaw, Shane Carless, Josh Peters and Henry Williams were to figure prominently in the weekend’s MX2 action. Starting right from the off, moto one was a classic as Bradshaw then Beard took turns to lead before series pacesetter Carless came storming through for the win. Gating 10th, Peters eventually took 5th with Corey Hockey, Lewis Dowdeswell, Rory Jones and Josh Canton also in the mix. With Williams then winning moto two on Saturday, it was the Apex GasGas UK youngster who got the overall verdict.
Day two did certainly not start well for series leader Carless, slipping off on the opening lap of the opening moto and dropping down to 10th. Although he eventually got back to earn a distant 5th it was Williams who produced a mature, calm and composed performance to take a great win despite being under constant, race long pressure from Bradshaw and Beard. That result meant that Williams had also now become the series leader.
Race two and this time it was Beard taking the honours from the normal suspects with Jones, Hockey, Brooklyn Evans, Lee Truman and Harry Linton completing the top ten. In another super contest after Canton had grabbed the final moto holeshot, Beard, Carless, Williams and Bradshaw regularly swapped positions at the front before Carless claimed control for the win. On the final lap, Williams slipped off so it was Bradshaw getting 2nd from Beard in 3rd. In this one, the very impressive Peters was unfortunately forced out after very painfully jarring his ankle in a Warmingham Lane rut. Taking the overall was young Beard whilst in the title race it’s just an incredibly tight 6 points that’s the difference between Williams, Carless and Bradshaw.
After passing Jordan Wright four laps into the opening 125cc clash of the weekend, series leader Bradley Tranter looked on course for another win before hitting one of the very wet watered sections on the Warmingham track. Dropping down to 8th, Brad was to eventually finish 10th as Kieran Banks took the win. Getting home in 2nd was the very impressive Joel Fisher, the 2020 AMCA Youth 85cc winner with Wright, Harrison McCann, Lloyd Morgan, Jack Timms and Jonathan Roderick-Evans on a borrowed bike next up.
Despite being on that borrowed bike, Roderick-Evans somehow then took it to a stunning moto two win, ironically passing Connor Challinor, the rider who had very kindly lent him the replacement KTM. Banks was right on the gas again to get home in 2nd from Wright, Morgan, Tranter and McCann. So that result meant that Banks had grabbed the day one overall 125cc verdict joined on the podium by Wright and Roderick-Evans.
Buoyed by that overall success, Banks then led the opening clash on day two from just about start to finish as Tranter bagged his best result of the weekend getting home in 2nd just ahead of Wright. Unfortunately for Wright, the weekend was to then turn very sour following a very heavy crash on the first lap of moto two, a contest won by Roderick-Evans, back aboard his own trusty KTM mount as Banks, Tranter and Luke Newman gave chase.
Saving the best until last, 125cc moto three was a thriller with Roderick-Evans taking the win. Somehow after gating outside the top ten, Banks was to produce a stunning ride, hauling himself right back to 2nd. That ride by Banks not only earned him the overall win during round three but also confirmed his place at the top of the title standings.
After Paul Burn had grabbed a now almost expected Vets moto one holeshot, both Phil Mercer and Gary Davies came zooming through before indulging in another super tussle. These two motocross master craftsmen are a joy to watch seeing and picking lines which simply no one else appears to find or dare to use! Eventually series leader Mercer took the win from rival Davies with Burn 3rd and the Lane brothers James and Simon Lane. In the second clash on Saturday, the stylish Phil Mercer came through to earn another victory. So on the completion of Vets day one the podium read Mercer, Davies and James Lane.
Something unusual occurred in the opening Vets clash on day two as Burn surprisingly did not get the holeshot! Instead that honour belonged to Mercer who went onto bag another win. In the second moto on Sunday there was then to be another form breaking moment as Mercer suffered his first defeat of the series so far with Davies this time getting home in pole position. Normal service though was resumed in the final race of the weekend as Phil took the honours from James Lane, Davies, Burn, Simon Lane, Rogers, Marchant and Smith.
With round one Youth 85cc winner Shaun Mahoney a non-starter at Warmingham, it was a question of who would step-up to take the series lead. That person appeared to be Charlie Hucklebridge as he started by winning the opening three moto’s of the weekend in complete command and with style.
It was though then to then unfortunately go badly wrong for the Wiltshire youngster in the second clash of Sunday’s racing, crashing out with a big excursion over his Husqvarna handlebars just two laps from home and when holding another big lead. Battered and bruised he did still finish the contest in 28th spot as Oliver Rigby took victory from Wyatt McGregor, Benjamin Sullivan, Harrison Davies and the very impressive girl racer, Rheanna Morgan-Rogers.
Despite being on a small-wheeled machine, Harley Prickett grabbed the final Youth moto holeshot. Quickly though Rigby took control before marching onto victory from Sullivan, McGregor and Davis. Despite that big off in moto two, Hucklebridge was a surprise starter in this clash, riding with caution he finished a brave 13th. Sunday’s results meant overall victory for Rigby who now leads the Youth series 34 points ahead of Davis and Hucklebridge. In the separately scored small-wheeled 85cc standings Prickett is now in control with Oakley Kettle and Caiden Bailie next up.
Well done to AMCA Events and the organising Middlewich MXC for getting the ‘Double Header’ completed. Also a special mention to commentator Mark Parmeter who kept everyone entertained in his own unique style during the ‘watering moments’!!
Photos and Words by Mike Wood