The first Rock Oil/MichelinEcosse XC outing of the New Year, saw over 200 solo and quad riders turn out to a new sand venue at Tyninghame Links, near Dunbar in East Lothian
A huge amount of work and input from the Pro riders went into building an interesting and flowing one-mile-plus track with plenty of passing lines and big berms. Great weather welcomed the riders who were swiftly through signing-on, practice and ready for the first race with go underway promptly at 9am.
A surprise competitor in the A group was non-other than two-time MX1 British champ – the first-ever Scottish rider to win a World Motocross GP – Billy Mackenzie. He was enjoying a blast of winter race fun, and so laidback was the former champ that he forgot a transponder, but the Ecosse lap-scoring girls caught sight of him flashing past their post. He didn’t get it all his own way though and had to push hard to get to the front, ahead of John Robson, Michael Ogden and Sean Williamson in the first and second race and then Robson, Ryan Thomson and Williamson in the third moto. So, whilst the uber-smooth Mackenzie won on the day, the official result went to John Robson. The Rookies were also out with this top group and made a good account of themselves, with a flying young Shay Page out front in all three motos.
Nieve Howes gave an outstanding performance in the B-class with a blistering start in race one to briefly take the lead, giving eventual winner Ivan Williamson, together with second-placed Fraser Watson, a run for their money. She finished third in the opening moto and fifth overall.
A full-gate lined up for the C’s with tight and close racing between a dominate Zack Frost, who took three wins from three starts, with a hard-charging Scott Foote all over his rear wheel. Jimmy Bell and Stuart Wilson were also in the up-front mix.
The combined BW/SW85 class made for exciting racing, with the small-wheel riders holding their own against the bigger bikes, whilst enjoying their own in-class battles at the same time. Ayden Smith, Jay Cheel and Kieran Sives were the ones to watch in the big-wheel sector, with Smith’s one-two-one giving him the overall. They had to contend with the small-wheel rippers of Jack Fletcher, Cristina Palmer and Ryan Waggot in their midst though with Fletcher third, Palmer fourth and Waggot fifth in race one and then Palmer third, Waggot fourth and Fletcher fifth in the final moto. The youngsters changed positions throughout each race with Fletcher taking the overall just three points ahead of Palmer, who was three points ahead of Waggot.
Tom Grant won the closely-fought Vets battle and Rhys Whyment was too fast for the rest of the pack in the 65cc class.
The quad start-line featured two former Scottish champions Michael Brewis and Paul Davie, to absolute newbie Hugh Beattie, with a bevy of well-known ‘vets’ including Ian Neill, Iain Clark, David Vass and Warren Allen.
Michael Brewis took the holeshot in all three motos and won the day by three points from Lorne Sinclair, but not without a fight. Eighteen-year-old Sinclair challenged Brewis throughout the day, setting the fastest lap in each race in the process, but the experienced Brewis won through taking the overall with first and third race wins, whilst Sinclair won the second moto. Another 18-year-old, Ayrton Knowles, who was runner up in the Clubman British Quad Championship in 2018, surprised himself by taking third place overall on his Yamaha after three steady races. “I’m quite happy with that, given the amount of Christmas pudding I’ve been eating recently,” he commented. Vass was happy to finish fourth overall, having taken a last-minute decision to make the four-hour trip south on the morning of the event. A fan of sand racing, Vass used the day to get in some valuable practice ahead of Le Touquet later this month. Completing the top five overall was Mark Wilson – his best race of the day was moto one, where he held the runner up spot until the last lap, when Sinclair squeezed past him.
The youngest rider in the quad class, schoolboy Robbie Wood, took sixth overall, despite a near collision on the first moto with George Oliver, who took seventh overall, just five points behind Wood. Rookie Beattie showed great form in his first ever race weekend, finishing eighth overall, with Davie one point behind him in ninth overall, and Richie Cornett tenth.
A-Group; 1. John Robson, 135 points, 2. Michael Ogden, 122, 3. Sean Williamson, 120, 4. Ryan Thomson, 115, 5. Alan Smith, 103, 6. Seth Moir, 102.
B-Group; 1. Ivan Williamson, 130 points, 2. Fraser Watson, 122, 3. Steven McCormack, 120, 4. Alex Jaffray, 116, 5. Nieve Howes, 114, 6. Steven Lennie, 100.
C-Group; 1. Zack Frost, 135 points, 2. Scott Foote, 122, 3. Stuart Wilson, 117, 4. Mike Tweddle, 108, 5. Steven Lancaster, 107, 6. Gavin Lowes, 103.
Vets; 1. Tom Grant, 124 points, 2. Alan Thain, 120, 3. Gordon Morrison, 113, 4. Peter O’Neill, 111, 5. Ian Wilson, 110, 6. Morton Hannah, 107.
Rookies; 1. Shay Page, 135 points, 2. Logan Ferguson, 126, 3. Jake Sharky, 118, 4. Jack Winthorp, 116, 5. Josh Buchanan, 108, 6. Tyla Moir, 105.
BW85; 1. Ayden Smith, 132 points, 2. Jay Cheel, 127, 3. Kieran Sives, 122, 4. Mark Parker, 114, 5. Tomas Bruce, 107, 6. Euan Aiken, 106.
SW85; 1. Jack Fletcher, 130 points, 2. Cristina Palmer, 127, 3. Ryan Waggot, 124, 4. Conner Smith, 111, 5. Ryan Lowes, 109, 6. Thomas Carruthers, 106.
65cc; 1. Rhys Whyment, 135 points, 2. Haydon Statt, 120, 3. Lucus Forsyth, 118, 4. Jamie Prentice, 113, 5. Jaxon Haswell, 112, 6. Leo Self, 110.
Quads; 1. Michael Brewis, 132 points, 2. Lorne Sinclair, 129, 3. Ayrton Knowles, 118, 4. David Vass, 110, 5. Mark Wilson, 107, 6. Robbie Wood, 103, 7. George Oliver, 98, 8. Hugh Beattie, 97, 9. Paul Davie, 96, 10. Richie Cornet, 95.
The next round of the Ecosse XC series will take place on 20th January 2019, back at Tyninghame Links.
Pic: Peter Greenwood Photography