British MX: Close Calls In The Maxxis At Brampton
Brampton also saw Maxxis action in 2007, but the weather conditions between the two rounds one year apart could not be any different. While in 2007 it rained and the track turned into quicksand, 2008 turns out to have almost perfect weather. While it is overcast, and it has rained throughout the night, the clouds that loom and threaten on the horizon, seem to be giving the area a wide berth, rotating around it to the north and the south. This round is the final round of the MXY2 youth class, and it is these youngsters who get sent out onto the track first on Sunday morning. PAR Honda's Edward Allingham takes pole, followed by Bikesport Yamaha's James Hutchinson and Danger UK Honda's Joe Gregory.
In the MX2 class it is UTag Yamaha's Zach Osborne who takes pole on the sandy track, followed by the sand specialist from down south, Suso MVR-D Suzuki's Carl Nunn, and Molson Kawasaki's Stephen Sword, who originally hails from Lockerbie across the border. In the MX1 class PAR Honda's Ray Rowson sets the pace, followed nearly a second later by ARB Tuning Kawasaki's Mark Jones and Swift Suzuki's Brad Anderson. Anderson has a lot of his supporters here today; he hails from Tow Law, and this is the closest to home he will get.
After the obligatory twenty-minute break for autographs, the youth riders get themselves ready for their first race at quarter past noon. Allingham sets the pace. He makes it hard for the other riders to keep up, with one exception – James Hutchinson. Hutchinson stays close, and at one point challenges Allingham for the lead. The challenge does not last long, one lap to be precise. Thirty seconds behind the two is Team Green Kawasaki's Josh Waterman who passes CI Sport KTM's Nathan Rooks in the first lap and then sets his eyes on the two in front. While Rooks remains close, he soon has to concede his position to local boy Jamie Jackson, racing for One 11 MX Kawasaki. It is Jackson who reduces the distance between himself and Waterman to seven seconds.
The MX2 race will be interesting as the main protagonist, Shaun Simpson, returns with his collarbone plated after a big get-off at the previous week's world championship race in the Czech Republic. Whether he will be able to keep the pace is anyone's guess. The start so far looks good; Simpson goes out the gate like a shot, followed by DB Racing Honda's Neville Bradshaw and Osborne. After Simpson drops the bike, it is Osborne in the lead, and he does not let go. He is joined by Sword, who has made it into the first corner in fifth. In third is Bradshaw, and he is soon pushed back another position by Simpson, who comes back to third in just a few laps.
Simpson then makes Sword his priority, after all, it is Sword who makes his existence at the top of the championship table uncertain, and that is the last thing he wants. His task is successful as the timer runs down to zero, forcing Sword to go on the defence and taking second. The sliver of dirt between himself and Osborne shrinks, and it is but four fifths of a second that separate the two across the finish line, Sword a second or so behind. Bradshaw is fourth, fifteen seconds back. The rest of the pack does not see all that much movement; most riders move up or down a few gradual positions, but there is nothing spectacular about it at all.
The MX1 class sees some astonishing action. While Monster CAS Honda's Billy MacKenzie has come off relatively lightly after his massive get-off in Loket the previous weekend, his hip injury that he took home with him is playing up. He is certainly not his usual self, keeping the damage to his point stretch to a minimum. It is the young rider from Shropshire, Ray Rowson, who makes the biggest waves. In the beginning of the year, at the first round of the season at Little Silver in Devon, he won his first British Open Championship race. Now it is time to do the same in the premier championship of the country. He is first into the first corner, he sees off a challenge by Anderson, who is usually a very tough competitor to beat, and then keeps Grand Prix regulars Tom Church and James Noble, riding for Molson Kawasaki and Team KTM UK respectively, at bay for the rest of the race. In the end it is Rowson, Noble, Church.
MacKenzie battles briefly with Jones, but chooses to save his strength, letting the veteran rider past. He also drops back a position as Anderson, coming back from his crash that cost him the lead, comes storming past again. Another young rider who seems to be making a good impression in the big class of the championship is Meredith Motocross Suzuki's Joe Dark, who makes up eight positions to end just two positions behind the incumbent champion. Twisted 7 Kawasaki's Bryan MacKenzie runs a solid race in eighth, keeping STR Honda's Jordan Rose well within his sights.
The first support race does not have many riders. Motoward Yamaha's Stuart Morrison sees off Darren Scott to take the lead, followed by Stuart Houlston and TWMA Racing Kawasaki's Joe Garrick.
The second MXY2 race goes to James Hutchinson, convincingly so. Allingham starts in sixth, falls in the first lap and drops to eleventh. He struggles to get back to eighth, and makes another attempt at progress with two laps remaining. He ends fifth. Behind Hutchinson all the way is Waterman, having beaten ARB Tuning Kawasaki's Vytautas Bucas into third, and soon after Jackson joins him in the chase for the lead. They end in second and third respectively. The day overall is Hutchinson, Waterman and Allingham, but Allingham still takes the championship by twelve points. Waterman is runner-up, while Hutchinson is fourth behind MotoXtreme Kawasaki's Sam Davis.
Simpson makes no mistakes in his second race. First into the second corner and first all the way in the second MX2 race, he grits his teeth and keeps his head together. Bradshaw, right behind Simpson in the first lap, is rudely shoved aside by Osborne and Sword, then by Osborne's team mate Martin Barr, who makes a good appearance in this race. Sword soon progresses to second, Osborne remaining hot on his heels. Halfway into the race, Osborne falls and lets by Barr and Bradshaw. A few laps after, Sword makes the same mistake, dropping four positions and losing out on the podium. It goes to Bradshaw instead, the South African celebrating his first Maxxis podium ever. Second on the podium is Osborne, even though he only crosses the finish line in fourth. Winner on the day is Simpson. The win is crucial for Simpson as he widens the gap between himself and Sword to fifteen points, not much, but a considerably larger breathing space than the week before.
The second-to-last race of the day, the second MX1 race, sees some changes at the top. Rowson again has the hole shot nailed, and he keeps the lead for another two laps before MacKenzie, right behind him in the first corner, makes a pass for the lead. MacKenzie however makes a mistake and drops the bike four laps later and drops away to fifth. Noble, second by then, takes over the lead, and soon finds himself pressured by PAR Honda's Gordon Crockard, who has returned from the US and the GNCC scene. And so it stays for the remainder of the race, Noble in front, Crockard hot on his heels. Jones is also in the mix, trying to reel Crockard back in after letting him by in a moment of weakness. Rowson gradually drops back to eleventh, his injured foot making things very tough for the youngster.
Noble streaks across the finish line, winning his first Maxxis championship round of the year, and breaking MacKenzie's near-perfect streak. And this time Noble's win is not contested either, as was the case at Whitby the year before. Jones finds himself on the podium again too, giving his team something to smile about. Rowson is third, but his foot hurts so much that he returns to his motorhome to ice it up and take some painkillers. MacKenzie is fifth overall in the end, but he still keeps a good lead that will allow him the luxury of sitting out the second race at Hawkstone at the final round in September.
With Brampton over, there is only one round remaining. Just as in 2006, Hawkstone will be the final battleground for the two classes, with MacKenzie looking to be a sure-fire winner in the MX1 class, and Simpson and Sword bound to thrill the spectators with a brilliant battle for that red plate and the championship.
|Moto One MX1||Moto Two MX1||MX1 Overall|
|1. Ray Rowson||1. James Noble||1. James Noble 47|
|2. James Noble||2. Gordon Crockard||2. Mark Jones 38|
|3. Tom Church|
3. Mark Jones
|3. Ray Rowson 35|
|4. Mark Jones||4. Brad Anderson||4. Brad Anderson 34|
|5. Brad Anderson||5. Wayne Smith||5. Billy MacKenzie 30|
|Moto One MX2||Moto Two MX2||MX2 Overall|
|1. Zach Osborne||1. Shaun Simpson||1. Shaun Simpson 47|
|2. Shaun Simpson||2. Martin Barr||2. Zach Osborne 43|
|3. Stephen Sword||3. Neville Bradshaw||3. Neville Bradshaw 38|
|4. Neville Bradshaw||4. Zach Osborne||4. Martin Barr 37|
|5. Carl Nunn||5. Carl Nunn||5. Stephen Sword 35|
|Moto One MXY2||Moto Two MXY2||MXY2 Overall|
|1. Edward Allingham||1. James Hutchinson||1. James Hutchinson|
|2. James Hutchinson||2. Josh Waterman||2. Josh Waterman|
|3. Josh Waterman||3. Jamie Jackson||3. Edward Allingham|
|4. Jamie Jackson||4. Tom Watts||4. Jamie Jackson|
|5. Nathan Rooks||5. Edward Allingham||5. Nathan Rooks|
|1. Billy MacKenzie 280||1. Shaun Simpson 298||1. Edward Allingham 151|
|2. James Noble 258||2. Stephen Sword 283||2. Josh Waterman 139|
|3. Brad Anderson 240||3. Martin Barr 245||3. Sam Davis 110|
|4. Mark Jones 231||4. Neville Bradshaw 177||4. James Hutchinson 107|
|5. Tom Church 196||5. Carl Nunn 174||5. Tom Watts 102|
|6. Wayne Smith 195||6. Jason Dougan 162||6. Joe Gregory 98|
|7. Mark Eastwood 154||7. Elliott Banks-Browne 161||7. Lloyd Morgan 96|
|8. Bryan MacKenzie 132||8. Marcus Norlen 130||8. Nathan Rooks 79|
|9. Mark Hucklebridge 124||9. Lewis Gregory 124||9. Scot James 78|
|10. Jim Murrro 102||10. Mel Pocock 116||10. Scott Elderfield 74|