Wildcard Clarke On Fire At Foxhills



Last Sunday round 4 of the Phoenix Tools Ifly Premier motocross Championship took place at the ironic Foxhill Moto Parc Nr Swindon where the heavens had opened up overnight which was to make things a bit slippery and slushy to begin with, but with the sun coming out late morning things were soon to dry and the track was to produce some brilliant racing and with the Maxxis British Championship been held at Foxhills in just 5 weeks time there were many wildcard entries.

In the Pro Expert class there was a fair entry, but there was no Alfie Smith who was 2nd in the Championship standings going in to round 4 as he was out with a broken hand, but in to the equation there were a few wildcard entries from the likes of defending Champion Luke Hawkins on the Dave Thorpe Off road Honda who was on home soil, Jake Shipton who had recently returned from racing on the Crescent Racing KTM in Dubai where he won the DMX Championship and also 2014 European 250 Champion Steven Clarke (Pictured No 511) who for a change was onboard a 350f instead of is usual 250 Apico Husqvarna. In the opening race it was Clarke who was to get the best start from Hawkins and Championship leader Shane Carless on the Oakleaf Motorsport Honda and it wasn’t long before Clarke got in to his rhythm and started to get away at the front. Shipton had a moderate start and was soon to get pass Carless as was James Harrison who was also on a 350f rather than his usual 250 Phoenix Tools Ifly Husqvarna and these two had a real tussle for several laps and were soon all over Hawkins pressing for 2nd. Shipton eventually got pass Hawkins mid race, but Clarke had a fair lead by this time. Harrison was to finally get pass Hawkins on lap 8 and really had to throttle wound back as he caught and passed Shipton 2 laps from the end, but he wasn’t going to catch Clarke who took the win. In the second moto it was a fierce bit of riding at the front in to the first corner between the Phoenix Tools Ifly Husqvarna of Alex Snow and Clarke with Snow not giving an inch at the second corner which left Clarke no option but to tuck in to 2nd with Harrison there in 3rd, but it was a disasterous start for Shipton who had a front wheel puncture. Snow was giving his all at the front to try and get away from Clarke, but Clarke kept with him and on lap 3 Clarke hit the front passing Snow dropping down one of the steep hills. Clarke and Snow were absolutely flying at the front and this turned in to a battle royal in the closing stages when Snow was all over Clarke looking to get pass, but Snow was to be hampered by backmarkers which was to slow his progress and Clarke took the win with Harrison again taking 3rd. In the last race it looked as if Clarke had the holeshot, but he ran a bit wide and nearly went down which let Harrison through to take the lead with Hawkins there in 2nd ahead of Clarke. Hawkins got the better of Harrison on lap 2 and took over at the front, but a lap later a mistake was to put him back in 4th and up in to the lead was now Clarke who had found a way pass Harrison. Snow was soon up in to 3rd and was climbing all over Harrison mid race and eventually moved up in to 2nd and was closing on Clarke all the time, but Clarke held on to take the win by literally a second and a half with Shipton coming through to take a well deserved 3rd.

Copy of PIC 99

In the Expert class there were several riders missing including 2nd & 3rd in the Championship, but there in 4th was David Keet on the Danger UK Husqvarna who was just 7 points adrift of Charlie Putnam on the Phoenix Tools Ifly Husqvarna. In the opening race it was the Goss Mx KTM of Luke Sturgeon who was to lead early on, but a nasty tumble mid race saw him withdraw with a leg injury and in to the lead came wildcard George Clarke who from there went on to take a the win with Sam Gabriel on the Gabriel Insulations Honda taking 2nd just ahead of Putnam. In the second moto there was no Sturgeon and it was the D S C Cornwall Kawasaki of Ben Butler who led from the off from Jake Penny with Clarke there in 3rd. Clarke moved up in to 2nd on lap 2 and was soon breathing all over Butler and this battle was to go on for several laps before Butler made a slight mistake and Clarke shot through to take the lead and from there went on to take the win. In the third moto this time it was Putnam with the best start from Butler and Clarke which turned in to a real scrap early on. Butler got the better of Putnam on lap 2 to take the lead, but Clarke took a further 3 laps to find away pass Putnam which had let Butler get away a bit, but again a slight mistake from Butler in the latter stages of the race was to let Clarke close right up on him and with just 2 laps remaining Clarke hit the front and went on to take a hattrick of wins on the day.

In the combined Over 35, Over 40 and Over 50’s races it was Terry House on the Crescent Racing/New Milton Tyres Suzuki who had led the opening race early on, but a mistake entering the whoops section where his stalled his machine was to let both Rick Hanson on the Readypower KTM and the Gibbs Performance/St Blazey Yamaha of Nick Life through. Hanson was to lead momentarily before Life hit the front, but soon to be back in to 2nd after Hanson had a problem was now House who was soon all over Life pressing for the lead which he eventually took 2 laps from the end and he was to hold off a late challenge from Life to take the win, with Hanson absolutely having a stormer of a race coming back from 19th after his earlier problem to take a well earned 4th just behind Stephen Elford who took 3rd. In the second moto there was no stopping House who led from the off to the chequered flag, but in the last race it wasn’t the best of starts for House who had to work hard before catching and passing Life mid race to take yet another win.

Copy of PIC 97

In the Junior Championship class again there were many wildcards and it looked as if this was set to be a cracker, and the many spectators were not disappointed as Championship leader young 15 year old Jamie Carpenter (Pictured No 184) on the Phoenix Tools Ifly Husqvarna had to be at his best, which he was in all three races as he was put under huge pressure from wildcard Josh Coleman on the Cab Screens Yamaha in the first two motos and Billy King in the last one, but the youngster handled it well and took all three race wins to extend his Championship lead even further.