Last Sunday on what was a bitterly cold day the long awaited opening round of the 2016 Phoenix Tools Premier Motocross Championship took place at Phoenix Moto Parc, Kingsteignton in Devon. Every effort had been put into making sure the event went ahead and the track was prepped to perfection and was to produce some top quality racing.
Words and Pictures by Dave Rich
In the Expert Championship which this year had a new sponsor onboard in the shape of Gabriel Insulation Services there was some real good tussles. In the opening race it was 2015 AMCA MX1 Champion Luke Dean (Pictured no 52) on the Meredith Mx Suzuki who had a blinder of a start from wildcard young Joe Clayton, but not such a good start for last years runner up Jamie Skuse on the Tony Maunders Racing Suzuki who was well down the field. Clayton tried his upmost to stay with Dean, but as the race went on Dean was to ease away. Kelvin Townsend on the Tony Maunders Racing Yamaha was there in 3rd, but all eyes were on Skuse as he was soon up into 5th looking to get pass the Stone Supplies Kawasaki of Jordan Carter which was a battle royal for a couple of laps until Skuse went through and was soon on the heels of Townsend, but Townsend held strong to take 3rd behind Clayton and Dean. In the second moto this time Skuse got a better start and hit the front from the off, but right in his wheel marks was Dean who was to pressure Skuse for several laps until lap 6 when a slight mistake from Skuse was to let Dean into the lead. Dean was looking good at the front and was to ease away, but 2 laps later Dean went down entering a slow lefthander and back into the lead went Skuse who from there went on to take the win from Dean who got the better of Clayton on the last lap and took 2nd by a whisker. In the last race there was no messing from Dean who led from the off and was soon to ease away from Clayton who did come back at Dean in the latter part of the race, but it was to no avail.
In the Over 35 class expectations were high and that was exactly the case as there was some really close racing between the Tyremarks Husqvarna of Wayne Shimell and Ben Harmon on the Cheddar Mx/M D Racing Honda with Shimell being pushed all the way in the opening race, where as in the second race Shimell had led early on, but Harmon was piling on the pressure and with just 3 laps remaining Harmon forced his way to the front and was to keep Shimell at bay. So it was all down to the last race to see who would take the overall on the day and the answer to that was Shimell as he was to lead the last race from the off and was to use all his experience to hold off Harmon all the way to the Chequered flag and with it took an early Championship lead.
The Over 40’s class was well represented and had attracted many new competitors. In the opening race it was 2015 Champion Terry House on the Crescent Racing/New Milton Tyres KTM who led early on, but a mistake on lap 2 saw House drop down the field and up into the lead came Stuart Rawlings who was in a real hurry. House was giving his all and was soon up into 3rd all over Richard Green on the T R Engineering Kawasaki who he got the better of a lap later and was now closing in on Rawlings at the front who he caught and passed on lap 6 and from there went on to take the win. In the second race there was no House who was out with a problem and the early leader was Rob Lewis on the Tony Maunders Racing Honda from Rawlings who was soon over Lewis like a rash and was soon to hit the front and from there Rawlings raced away to take the win from the Gabriel Solution Services Honda of Steve Elford who had fought his way up to take 2nd. In the last moto again House was missing but there was no one who could denie Rawlings the win in this one as he led from the off and stormed away to take the chequered flag and with it the Championship lead.
The Over 50’s class was a bit low on the ground, but never the less there was a fine display of riding by David Ford on the Projuice KTM who was to take a hat trick of wins and with it laid down his intention in the Championship.
In the opening round of the Open Evo Championship which was new for 2016 it looked as if Ricky Brown on the CR Tony Maunders Racing Honda was going to make it a clean sweep of wins after winning the opening two races and was leading the last race, but Brown got winded midway through the race and was to slow considerably and up into the lead came former 1991 South West Champion Andrew Williams on his 125 Kawasaki who from there was to go on to take the win to much applause.
In the Junior Championship it was fast and furious with many new names on the line including many riders coming up from the schoolboy ranks having there first ride in the adults. In the opening race it was the Alex Buckingham M/c Husqvarna of Jamie Buckingham with the best start who led Dave Anthony on the Oakleaf Building Honda who was to stick with Buckingham like glue for several laps looking to get pass, but Buckingham held tight until lap 5 when a slight mistake at the u-turn corner let Anthony through on the inside and into the lead. Tyrone Cleaver was soon to be challenging Buckingham and was to get pass a lap later and now had his sights on Anthony who he was soon to catch and pressure and was to take the lead 2 laps from the end and from there went on to take the chequered flag. In the second race it was Anthony this time with the best start from Harry Linton on the Bridgestone KTM who was soon all over Anthony looking to get pass which he did on lap 3 and Linton with a clear track in front of him soon had a cushion and raced away to take the win as he did in the last race as he had the holeshot and used it to great advantage and went on to take a convincing win.