Last Saturday the final round of the Phoenix Tools Premier motocross Championship took place at Little Silver Moto Parc which had atracted a far entry which included many wildcards. Heavy rain had fallen during the night, but the sun was out early morning to dry things and the track was nigh on perfect for qualifying and the first block of racing, but as the day progressed the heavens were to open and things got a bit tricky and slippery.
In the Gabriel Insulations Expert Championship it was Jordan Carter on the MotoXtreme/Stones Supplies Kawasaki who went in to the final round with a 29 points advantage in the standings over the Tony Maunders Racing Suzuki of Jamie Skuse with Kelvin Townsend also on a Tony Maunders Racing machine just 21 points further back in 3rd so the battle was on, but before racing commenced there was a minutes silence in memory of David Snow who sadly passed away back in September.
In the opening Expert race it was wildcard Todd Kellett(Pictured No 98) on the Crecent Racing/S J Hodder KTM who had first pick of the gate after qualifiying the fastest who was to put that to good use with the holeshot from Townsend who was out on a borrowed bike and Tommy Alba on the D S C Cornwall Kawasaki, but not the best of starts for Luke Dean who was out on his new 2017 bike SevenSeven2 UK Yamaha who was totally last out of the first corner. Kellett was soon in to a rythm and with a clear track infront of him was to ease away. Alba was to get the better of Townsend on the opening lap as did Skuse who was all over Alba for several laps looking to get pass which he eventually did on lap 6 to move up in to 2nd, but by this time Kellett was well clear and went on to take the win, Skuse took 2nd with Alba 3rd just holding off Dean who had come through from last. In the second moto again it was Kellett with the best start from Skuse and Alba with Dean with a better start in this one in 4th. Alba was to make a mistake on the opening lap in the tricky conditions and dropped down the field which let Skuse up in to 2nd who had Dean all over him like a rash with Dean pushing to go through which he did on lap 4 when he got the better traction going up one of the hills. Championship leader Carter who seemed to be playing it safe was now in 4th but not for long as both wildcard Michael Ellis and Alba were to pass. Alba was giving his all after his earlier mistake and was to pass Ellis 2 laps later and then moved up in to 3rd after Skuse made a mistake, but he wasn’t going to catch Dean who took 2nd behind runaway winner Kellett. Race 3 and the track had deteriated even more, but it was Kellett again out of the first corner from Loukas Maggio (Pictured No 17) on the Dave Thorpe Off road Honda who emerged in 2nd ahead of the Tony Maunders Racing/MDR KTM of James Kensington. Alba was to go down on the first bend with Dean and Skuse both running in to him. Dean was to pull out after injurying his arm, Alba was to carry on for a couple of laps but he also pulled out. By the end of lap 4 Kellett had a 12 second lead over Maggio with Carter now in 3rd who had Ellis all over him who was to pass Carter a lap later and went on to take 3rd behind Maggio and Kellett who made it a hat trick of wins, but with Carter coming home in 4th he had done enough to become the 2016 Expert Champion.
In the Over 35’s Championship class there was great drama especially in the first race. James Price on the Ace Cooling Comfort Kawasaki was to have the holeshot from Ben Harmon on the Cheddar Mx/MDR Honda with already crowned Champion Wayne Shimell who for the last round was on a TyreMarks Honda tucked in 3rd. Shimell was to pass Harmon and went up in to 2nd, but he then came off down one of the downhills and bent his handlebars down and rejoined well down the field. Harmon was to take over the lead by the end of the opening lap and up in to 2nd was now wildcard Darren Banwell on the Cheddar Mx KTM. Shimell was absolutley flying and by the end of lap 2 was up in to 3rd and was closing in on Banwell who was all over Harmon desperate to find away pass which he eventually did going all the way around the outside of him on a right hander and from there went on to take the win with Shimell taking 2nd after a mistake from Harmon on the last lap who took 3rd. In the second moto this time it was Banwell who led the proceedings from Harmon and Jonathan Morrissey, Shimell was totally last after a crash on the first corner, but was to have his throttle wound right back and was to be back up in to 4th by the end of the opening lap and was soon in 3rd after passing Morrissey. Banwell was trying to get away from Harmon at the front who was soon to have Shimell breathing all over him who was to get pass a lap later then was to catch and pass Banwell and from there went on to take the win, Banwell 2nd and Harmon 3rd. In the last race there was no Banwell nor Harmon as they were non starters, but there was only one winner and that was Shimell who led from start to finish in the wet conditions with Price taking 2nd ahead of Luke Dewey (Pictured No 14) who took 3rd.
In the Over 40’s class current 2016 Champion Stuart Rawlings was to lead the opening race early on, but a mistake was to cost him dearly and it was the Gabriel Insulations Honda of Stephen Elford who was to come through to take the win with Richard Green on the T R Green Engineering Husqvarna taking 2nd ahead of the Tony Maunders Racing Honda of Rob Lewis. In the second moto there was no mistakes this time from Rawlings who was to lead from start to finish with Elford taking 2nd and Green 3rd. The last moto Rawlings was a non starter and it was Elford who took an early lead, but he was put under huge pressure from Green mid race with Green getting pass who was to go on to take the win ahead of Elford with Lewis taking 3rd.
In the Over 50’s class already crowned 2016 Champion David Ford on the Projuice KTM was to show his class not only in the dry, but also in the wet conditions as he was to dominate all three races with a hat trick of wins.
In the R C Motorhomes 2-Stroke Championship it was Moto 64 KTM of Leighton Holmes who went in to the final round with a comfortable lead, but not enough to be crowned Champion as yet, but he was to make no mistakes in all three races to take a hat trick of wins to become 2016 Champion. Ben Milward on the Inchains Yamaha was to give his all in all three races to take a hat trick of seconds with Tristian Rowe finishing 3rd in all three races.
In the Junior Championship class there was some really close racing which was to produce some of the best racing of the day. In the opening race it was Jamie Dixon on the P & S Auto Servies/Create Designs Print KTM with the holeshot from wildcard Jake Parker on the D S C Cornwall Kawasaki and Tyron Cleaver, but not the best of starts for Championship leader on the Bridgestone KTM Harry Linton who was well down the field after a early mistake. Parker was to pass Dixon on the opening lap to take the lead and was to hold the lead for several laps, until lap 4 when Cleaver who had got the better of Dixon a lap before was to force his way to the front exiting a fast lefthander and from there was to take the win with Linton eventually coming through to take a well deserved 2nd just a head of Parker who finished 3rd. In the second moto this time it was 2nd place rider in the Championship Jay Lewis on the Tony Maunders Racing Honda with the holeshot from Cleaver and Dixon with Linton again well down the field. Lewis was put under huge pressure from Cleaver for the first couple of laps until on lap 3 Cleaver was to squeeze through the slightest of gaps on a tight lefthander to take the lead and was to take his second win of the day with Lewis taking 2nd and Parker who had got the better of Dixon mid race taking 3rd. In the last race this time it was Harry Mitchell (Pictured No 6) with the best start from Dixon and Parker with Cleaver this time with a bad start. Mitchell was to hold the lead for a couple of laps, but on lap 3 Linton was to pass both Dixon and Mitchell to take the lead, but the lead was to go back to Mitchell 2 laps later after Linton went down and it was Mitchell who took the win from Parker with Dixon taking 3rd but with Linton coming home in 4th he was declared 2016 Junior Champion.
At the end of the Championship races there was an extra race for the fastest qualifying Experts and Juniors, but with several riders electing not to take part in the wet conditions it was open to all. Shimell was to get the holeshot from Kellett and Lewis Barfoot and looked good at thr front and was to lead for the opening lap making sure that Kellett didn’t go home with a clean face as Shimell was filling him in, but this was short lived as Kellett hit the front on lap 2 and went on the take the win from Shimell with Barfoot a distant 3rd.
Words and Pictures by Dave Rich