AMCA WULFSPORT BRITISH MASTERS (ROUND 5) AT PONTRILASPublished on 10.7.2012 8:54
REPORT BY MIKE WOOD
After missing the previous round at Hawkstone Park, Pro stars Kristian Whatley and Neville Bradshaw were back in AMCA Wulfsport British Masters action last weekend, in the process bagging the respective overall wins in the Battery Energy Drink supported MX1 and MX2 classes. Again in scintillating form, PAR Honda rider Whatley blasted to both race victories and thus took home the big money on offer, a result which also saw him move back to the top of the MX1 Championship table with just one round remaining. Meanwhile, Bradshaw in topping the MX2 classhas now moved to just 6 points behind series leader Matt Burrows. Also starring at Pontrilas in a great weekend of Masters action were Matthew Moffat (Putoline 2-Stroke MX1), Dan Thornhill (GSP Race Products MXY2), Adam Wells (Michelin MX2) and Gradie Featherstone (Moto-Pro Suspension BW85cc) who all blasted to super maximum points scores.
Back to the Battery Energy Drink Pro racing though, as the main protagonists Whatley and Bradshaw were joined by a high quality, totally full line-up, including some of the Country’s most hungriest racers. When the gate dropped for moto one, it was Alex Snow who led the charge with Whatley, Josh Spinks, Josh Waterman, Alan Keet and Youth star Dan Thornhill chasing hard. Two laps in and Whatley surged to the front and there he stayed despite a determined late challenge from Snow with Waterman getting home in 3rd. But, whilst the top three maintained their positions, there was still plenty of high octane, frantic action going on just a little further downfield. As Spinks, Ray Rowson, Nicholas Aubin, Ashley Wilde and Scott Elderfield all disappeared from proceedings, Thornhill was having the ride of his career so far, moving up into 4th and for five laps brilliantly resisting the pressure of the rapid Evotech Stevens Honda pilot Bradshaw. Eventually Neville and Matt Moffat overhauled Dan, but what a performance. Also very impressive in moto one was Gert Krestinov, starting in 20th and moving up in style to earn 9th just behind Nathan Watson and Dorren Coutts.
Moto two and Snow pulled out another superb holeshot with Whatley, Bradshaw, Spinks, Coutts and Lewis King in tow. With King then disappearing two laps in, James Cottrell moved up the leaderboard. Upfront Snow held onto the race leadership for five exciting laps before once again the smooth Whatley soared to the front whilst as the race then developed, Coutts also got the better of Bradshaw for 3rd. Although from here onwards the top four broke away, the next six places were undecided right through to the finishing post. Continuosly, battle raged with Rowson after initially gating in 12th eventually seeing off the likes of Nathan Watson, Wilde, Waterman, Spinks, Jack Brunell and Jordan Booker in a superb tussle which had the crowd cheering with delight.
In the Putoline Two-Stroke class, Matt Moffat ripped to four great moto wins, chased home on each occasion by the equally impressive James Lassu. Throughout the weekend, Joe Jones, Matthew Williamson, Sean Eckersley and Daniel Brough were also right in the mix. Taking the overall wins were Moffat (MX1) and Cory Joe Nemeth (MX2). In the title standings, Brough still tops MX1 whilst Alex Davies is the new MX2 leader as previous pace setter Sam Winterburn was away racing in Europe.
There was no doubt who bossed the GSP Race Products MXY2 class at Pontrilas as Grittenham MX Suzuki pilot Dan Thornhill took all four moto wins in style. Dan though missed round four of the Masters series when away on RBPN duty – thus he is unlikely to bag his third consecutive title in this particular series. Currently leading the way is Jay Thomas with Scott Alldridge in 2nd. In the latest action, both Jay and Scott were right in the thick of the action, figuring prominently in the final results, with Jay the runner-up and Scott 4th behind Daniel Maxey whilst there were also impressive performances from Dima Fircks, Curtis Blamey and Tony Saunders.
Going into the Pontrilas event, Tyron Cleaver held a slender 6 point advantage at the top of the Moto-Pro Suspension BW85cc table. However on completion of the racing, Tyron is now 54 points behind rival Oliver Benton following a disastrous last moto mechanical problem. At Pontrilas, it was Gradie Featherstone and David Keet, both making their first appearances of 2012 who dominated proceedings. In all four motos, Gradie led the way chased by David whilst Mr Benton took 3rd overall ahead of Charlie Putman, Danny Mell and Josh Bunter.
The weekend did not go quite to plan for Moto-Pro Suspension SW85cc leader Henry Siddiqui either, as he was forced out of moto one after just three laps. However young Henry then quickly composed himself to reel off three moto wins in the remaining clashes and thus maintain his march to the title. Taking the Pontrilas overall verdict was another Masters first timer Harry Wichman ahead of Matt Brame, Nathan Harlow and Howard Wainwright.
In the Scott Acerbis Amateur MX1 class, Darryl Maxwell (2), Shaun Pearce and Lewis Belfield all bagged Pontrilas moto wins. Pearce also took the overall victory from Maxwell and Scott Bates, but it is Maxwell who crucially leads the title chase with a 53 point advantage over Matthew Thomas.
Typical of the close racing it always produces, Zook Clothing Amateur MX2 resulted in a race victory each for Ryan Crowder, Jack Cox, Edward Briscoe and Charles Statt. With Cox also crashing heavily when leading the opening moto on Sunday, the overall verdict was to go to the very consistent Crowder ahead of Cox, Briscoe, Ryan Williams and Statt.
Already this season, first Jake Alsop then Samuel Kirby have led the Michelin Masters MX1 Championship table but now with just one round remaining its William Orritt the pace setter. In the opening two races of the Pontrilas action, William also blasted to victory finishing ahead of his closest rival Kirby. However come Sunday, both lads were to be defeated by the very determined Tye Barrs who controlled from the front and earn his own moto win double in style. So with just Foxhills to come, Orritt has a 16 point advantage over Kirby, watch out for a Wiltshire thriller.
In Michelin MX2, Adam Wells further increased his title chasing advantage with a brilliant display of motocross racing. Wells was first past the post in all four clashes with his closest Championship rival Emerson Jones the runner-up. Also having a good weekend and earning the final podium place was Adam Constable whilst Jamie McCarthy, Adam Wigger and Ryan Osborn completed the top six.
On arrival at Pontrilas, Ken Winstanley reported that the track and surrounding area was remarkably dry. However typical of the Masters misfortune in 2012, heavy rain then fell on Friday turning the paddock into an absolute quagmire and resulting in the need to tow every single vehicle onto the site in preparation for the event. Thankfully, the rest of the weekend was then predominantly dry and the track in prime condition to thus enable an exciting full programme of super action. Ken and all of the Masters team deserve a massive pat on the back for their sterling efforts in once again getting it on.