Strong winds and rain showers hampered the team set up at round four of the Michelin MX Nationals. Still, in high spirits and with hard work from the dedicated team, the Cusses Gorse track did them proud come race weekend and looked colourful and professional.
A large crowd of excited spectators flocked to line the course fences to watch the two Lyfelinez Fastest 40 motos that combine the Leatt MX1 and Apico MX2 Elite classes. They were treated to an epic three-rider battle between Josh Gilbert (SC Sporthomes Husqvarna), Tommy Searle (Crendon Fastrack Honda) and series leader Harri Kullas (Cab Screens Crescent Yamaha) for the Leatt Pro MX1 overall win, all three of which could have been up for the win with all three having the skills to get the job done. And in the end, it was so close that only a single point separated the three after two intense motos.
If that wasn’t exciting enough, the smaller Apico MX2 races were just as exciting as Dylan Walsh (Revo Seven Kawasaki) finished in fourth on the track and well ahead of most of the 450s, which gave him the MX2 overall win. He was chased over the finish line on each occasion by Conrad Mewse (Stebbings KTM), who closed on Walsh at the end of each moto but ran out of time to catch and pass the Kiwi.
Gilbert got the holeshot at the start of the first Lyfelinez Fastest 40 moto followed by Searle, Jake Shipton (FUS Husqvarna) and Jake Millward (Verde Shiloh KTM) as Glen McCormick (Chambers Husqvarna) crashed out halfway around the opening lap. Kullas had gated sixth but by the end of the second lap was in third behind the new leaders Searle and Gilbert.
As for the MX2 riders, Walsh had gated in eighth and was chassed by birthday boy Jamie Law (Apico Husqvarna) in tenth, who had Conrad Mewse (Stebbings KTM) a place behind him. But Mewse was on a mission and passed both Law and Walsh before the end of the second lap. With two laps under their belt and with the all the riders in their rhythm, it was flat out for the rest of the race with some brilliant battles to keep the crowd entertained.
Mewse made a little mistake and allowed Law and Walsh to repass him, but Walsh was not happy to be back to sixth as he seemed to engage another gear and started passing riders almost every lap on his way to the front of the pack. By the time the race was half over, he had passed Brad Todd (Gabriel KTM), Shipton, who was slipping down the field on his way to pulling out of the race with four laps to go with an undisclosed problem. He then passed Martin Barr (Apico Husqvarna) before having a coming together with Millward on turn two, with Millward coming off worse and crashing out of the race. Mewse meanwhile followed him all the time and passed him for fourth in the race and pick up the lead of the Apico MX2 class with four laps to go, only to have Walsh fight back and repass him for the MX2 win with one and half laps to go.
While all this was happening, Kullas had closed in on Gilbert with his usual smooth style and made a pass just before the halfway point. From there, inch by inch, lap by lap, he closed down the leader Searle and crossed the finish line in his wheel track as the pair were separated by less than a second. With an ill-handling bike, Gilbert came home in a lonely third place with Walsh just five seconds behind him fourth, as the first MX2 rider. John Adamson (ASA United Gas Gas) may well be in with a shout for the ‘Dirti hard charger’ award once all the lap charts have been analysed. He gated well but was knocked off before even half a lap was completed. He re-mounted, charged through the pack, and came from seventeenth on lap one to finish sixth on the track but fourth in his class.
Searle got the holeshot at the start of race two from Gilbert and Kullas with McCormick, again making a good start but slipping down the running order as the laps were ticked off. Barr had gated fifth but had Walsh on his tail as Adamson, with a better start, was in seventh place, but that was about to change. On lap two, Adamson had both Todd and Mewse come by, but that must of fired him up as within the next three laps, he repassed them and slipped into fifth passed Barr.
The three front runners had spent all of the race in very close company, constantly pushing each other as the gap opened up and then closed again between the three of them. As the two lap to go board came out, they were all on the gas through the rollers along the finish straight and it looked like it was going to take a mistake from Searle for him not to win. It turned out he didn’t make a mistake but lost the lead on the last lap through nothing but bad luck as a stone jammed his back brake, causing him to over jump the finish jump and exit the course the wrong way down the start straight allowing Gilbert and Kullas through. Knowing the overall win was then there for the taking for either of them Gilbert and Kullas then threw everything they had at the last lap with Gilbert holding on by just over half a second, with Searle twenty-eight seconds further back after un-jamming his rear brake. Adamson was fourth MX2, with Barr and Todd next.
Walsh and Mewse were fourth and fifth on the track but first and second in the Apico MX2 class as Jamie Carpenter (GRT KTM) added third in class to his fourth in the first race.
Overall, in the Leatt MX1 class, it was Gilbert from Searle and Kullas on the podium with Adamson just missing out. Kullas now has a thirty-five-point lead in the championship over Gilbert and Searle. With his two wins in the Apico MX2 class, Walsh took the overall result from Mewse and Carpenter, while in that championship, Grimshaw, with fourth overall on the day still has the red plate from Carpenter and Mitchell.
RFX Expert Class
With two race wins, a second and a third, Jayden Ashwell (AJP Racing Gas Gas) won the RFX Expert MX1 overall and closed the gap on series leader Shaun Southgate (Herts MX Honda). But Southgate limited the damage; with a couple of wins to secure second overall, with a hard charging Josh Waterman (Honda) third. It was a close finish for the RFX Experts MX2’s as Nathan Dixon (RFX Whites KTM), and Sam Atkinson (Phoenix Evenstrokes Kawasaki) both finished on equal points, with the win going to Dixon because of his higher place finish in the last moto. Wildcard and last race winner Gareth Padgett (Kawasaki) was third overall, with Jack Lindsay (Apico Husqvarna) just missing out on the podium despite finishing on the same points as Lindsay.
Motoverde Amateur Class
Harry Bradley (Kawasaki) backed up his second place in the weekend’s first race with three more race wins for the overall in the Motoverde amateur MX1 class. Second overall was Josh Greedy (Kawasaki), with race one winner Billy Wynn (KTM) third, just one point behind Greedy after a spectacular crash when his hand came off the handlebars on landing. Wildcard rider Shaun Springer (KTM) didn’t finish out of the top two all weekend and, with two wins and two-second places, won the MX2 class from race two winner Dan Brough (Rutzz.co.uk Husqvarna) and with the other race winner Niall Cregan (Husqvarna) taking third.
Clubman MX1 & MX2 Classes
With three race wins and a second-place, Mitch Best (Blackphone Honda) won the Worx Financial clubman MX1’s by thirteen points from Grant Martin (Yamaha) and race one winner Connor Baldry (KTM). It was close at the top of the Moto Connection clubman MX2 class, with the first three riders separated by just three points. Without winning a race, Toby Lightbown (RFX Whites KTM) won the overall, from race four winner Max Fletcher (KTM) and with race one and three winner George Boyce (Design Scaffolding Gas Gas) third.
Seven Youth 125 & 250 Classes
In the youth side of things, Tyler Westcott (HJA Motorcycles KTM) won all four of his races for a clean sweep of the youth 250cc class. Mackenzie Marshall (DK Offroad Yamaha) was always in the top four and was second, with Team Green Kawasaki’s Jak Taylor again making the podium in third and Bayliss Utting (Husqvarna) just missing out on a top-three by a single point. Like Westcott in the 250cc classs, Charlie Hayman (SJP Moto KTM) won all of his Seven MXY125 races to go unbeaten in the class yet again and after four rounds has a perfect score in the championship. Ben Mustoe (Matt Gardiner MX KTM) chased him over the finish line in two out of the four races for second overall, with wildcard rider Wal Beaney (KTM) third.
Syntol Lubricants 85cc Classes
Billy Askew (GRT KTM) was again dominant in the Big Wheeled class winning all four motos from Josh Vail (SJP Moto Husqvarna), with Charlie Richmond (Matt Gardener MX KTM) third. With three wins and a second-place, Hayden Statt (Manchester MC Gas Gas) won the small wheel class in style from Blake Ward-Clarke (JMR KTM) and race three winner Alfie Geddes-Green (Matt Pope Gas Gas) third despite a DNF in race two after throwing a chain.
Saturday evening’s Straight Rhythm presented by Phoenix Tools, Carbon Comps and in memory of Melvyn Brunell once again brought some great entertainment. Joe Clayton (Gas Gas), took the win in the MX1 class with Matt Bayliss (Honda) second and Jack Brunell (ASA United Gas Gas) third, while in the MX2 class, it was a win for Dylan Walsh (Revo Seven Kawasaki) from Florien Miot (SC Sporthomes Husqvarna) and Adam Chatfield (Honda).
Photo Credit – Elliot Spencer