Last Sunday the opening round of the 2017 St Blazey MX Premier Motocross Championship took place at Little Silver Moto Parc, Exeter in front of what was a bumper crowd who were to witness some excellent racing on a track that was in prime condition for the first two blocks of racing before the track became slippery when rain was to fall.
In the St Blazey MX Expert Championship there were many wildcard entries with one of them being Jake Shipton on the Crescent Racing/RHR Yamaha who was to notch up the fastest time in qualifying and had first pick at the gate. Shipton had a blistering start and took the holeshot in the first race from the Tony Maunders Racing duo of Kelvin Townsend and Jamie Skuse and with a clear track was to soon ease away at the front. Todd Kellett on the St Blazey MX/S J Hodder Husqvarna (Pictured) was expected to do well in the Championship this year didn’t have the best of starts, but was soon on the gas and by the end of the opening lap was up in to 2nd giving chase. Skuse was now in 3rd who soon had the Cab Screens Husqvarna of Dan Thornhill breathing down his neck which went on for a couple of laps before Skuse went down and through went Thornhill, but he wasn’t going to catch the leading two as Shipton took a comfortable win from Kellett. In the second moto, this time it was wildcard Tom Moore on the A D Homes/ Wulfsport Suzuki with the best start from Skuse and Kellett with Shipton back in 8th after running wide at the first corner. Moore was to lead the race for the opening lap, but now right on his tail on lap 2 was Shipton who had come up through the field and was to power pass Moore to take the lead. Both Kellett and Skuse were to pass Moore on the same lap and were again chasing Shipton at the front. Shipton had a 6 second lead after 4 laps and looked set to take his second win of the day, but on lap 5 his race came to a halt when his Chain snapped and up in to the lead went Kellett who from there went on to take the win with Thornhill taking second after passing Skuse mid race who took 3rd. In the last race conditions were a bit slippery to say the least with drizzly rain falling, but that didn’t slow Thornhill who had the holeshot this time from the P & H Motorcycles/MRS KTM of Michael Ellis and Kellett with Shipton tucked in 4th, but it wasn’t long before Shipton took command of the race taking the lead on lap 2. Kellett had moved in to second with Thornhill now in 3rd which was to remain that way to the Chequered flag.
In the R C Motorhomes 2-Stroke Championship it was last year’s Champion Leighton Holmes on the J D Racing KTM who was quickest in qualifying, but in the opening race it was the Henry Ebbutt with the best start from the Mark Rowe & Son Honda of Tristian Rowe and the JCT Developments/Inchains Yamaha of Ben Milward with Milward taking over at the front by the end of the opening lap, but within a further lap Ty Kellett on the 98 Vision Husqvarna was to take the lead and was soon on his way to taking the win with Milward 2nd and Fraser Gardiner taking 3rd. In race 2 it was Milward this time with the best start from Gareth Northam and Holmes with Kellett way down the order. Milward was soon into a rhythm and was getting away at the front, Holmes was to get the better of Northam on lap 3 with Kellett moving up at some rate now in 4th all over Gardiner, but within a lap the race was stopped and the result stood, Milward took the win from Holmes with Gardiner taking 3rd. The last race was a belter with Kellett initially leading the race from the off with Holmes all over him in 2nd with Ricky Brown on the Tony Maunders Racing Yamaha not too far away in 3rd. Holmes was giving his all in this one and took the lead on lap 3 after a slight mistake from Kellett which dropped him down to 3rd behind Gardiner who was now 2nd, but not for long as Kellett was to pass Gardiner a lap later and was soon challenging Holmes for the lead which he took on lap 5 and from there held on to take the win with Holmes 2nd and Gardiner a close 3rd.
In the M D Racing over age races which as per usual was well supported there were many from yester years returning to do battle. In the Over 35 class there was some close racing between defending Champion Wayne Shimell on the TyreMarks/St Blazey MX Honda and Darren Banwell on the Cheddar Mx KTM who was to give his all especially in the last race, but it was to no avail as Shimell opened his 2017 campaign with a hat trick of wins. In the Over 40’s we saw a welcome return from leapey Leigh Williams on a J D Racing KTM who was to show that he has still got what it takes after winning 2 of the 3 races with last year’s Champion Stuart Rawlings denying him the hat trick. New for 2017 was the Over 45 class which saw Richard Green on the T R Engineering Husqvarna totally dominate the proceedings with a fine hat trick of wins, where as in the Over 50’s class there were 2 wins for Steve Elford on the Gabriel Insulations Honda with 2016 Champion David Ford on the Projuice KTM winning the other one.
In the newly sponsored JCT Developments Junior Championship class there was many up and coming youngsters with no fear and it was to produce some good racing. In the opening race, there was a fine performance from Jake Curtis-Stevens on the D S C Cornwall Kawasaki who once he hit the front went on to take the win, but there was a good scrap for 2nd behind him between Harry Kimber and Harry Prichard with Kimber just holding on by a the closest of margins to take 2nd. The second saw the P & S Autoservices KTM of Jamie Knight head the proceedings for the first couple of laps before Lewis Dowdeswell took over the lead and went on to take the win with Curtis Stevens after not the best of starts coming through to take 2nd with Ross Parkinson 3rd. In the last race, there was only one winner and that was Curtis-Stevens who led from the off with Jordan Barrs taking 2nd ahead of Dowdeswell.
Report and Photos by Dave Rich