Race Report: British championship RD 2 Lyng – Herlings edges Watson in Lyng thriller!

What a 450 debut by Ben Watson on the factory Yamaha at Lyng! The British youngster looked incredible on the 450 all day with a languid, smooth and very fluid style to battle with Jeffrey Herlings in both races only to lose out on the overall on a tie-break with Herlings taking the decisive and nail-biting moto two win!

Watson holeshot race one with Herlings quickly in his tail but a couple of laps in Herlings appeared to stall the machine and lost second to Dylan Walsh allowing Watson to open a gap of over six seconds. Herlings then set to work blitzing by Walsh but closing Watson down was proved more difficult. The duo set a pace no-one else could match as Herlings, in his first race in about 9 months, inched his way closer and with five minutes to go Herlings was on Watson’s rear wheel but Watson wasn’t giving in! With two laps to go, Herlings made the move, but he couldn’t make the pass stick and Watson pulled away again on the final lap with backmarkers in the middle of things to give the Brit a superb debut win on the Yamaha against the fastest man on the planet, much to the delight of a vociferous 4,000 strong crowd!

“It feels really good,” said Watson after his race one win. “To have everybody here is a great thing. I’ve done three full GP seasons since I’ve been in the British championship and you learn so much over there with the intensity and everything. Coming here the race feels a little bit smaller and you come in with a a bit more expectation that you should be at the front, overall I’m really happy.”

Jake Millward rode a fantastic race to take third and be the best of rest in race one with Sterry fourth and Searle fifth. A mistake dropped Walsh back to eighth after a fast start with Simpson seventh after an early tip-over.

This article continues below
It was this close most of the day between Watson and Herlings!

Race two and the battle was on again! Watson got into the lead quickly again with Herlings top five but the Dutchman had work to do, passing Searle then Walsh to get Watson back on his radar. Searle then also made the move on Walsh, desperate to go with his former title rival Herlings to make up for an average fifth in race one for the Honda man.

Watson had a five second lead as Herlings chased him down but Searle, who stayed close to Herlings for a couple of laps, couldn’t keep the scalding pace up and it was back to a two-way battle for the win with the factory MXGP stars. By halfway Herlings was on Watson’s rear when but once again Watson wasn’t for giving in with Herlings eventually finding his way by with only five minutes to go but even then Watson refused to give in, harassing Herlings right to the end of the race never letting the Dutchman get away!

Searle took third to strengthen his title hopes with round one winner Evgeny Bobryshev struggling all day with a broken shoulder. Simpson had his best result with a fourth ahead of Walsh but the Scot still doesn’t quite look himself, however he won’t be giving up easily and will expect the speed to come with more race time.

But today was all about Ben Watson and Jeffrey Herlings with both riders thrilling the crowd all day with some stupendous speed and Watson having a factory 450 debut he will never forget!

Moto one
1. Ben Watson
2. Jeffrey Herlings
3. Jake Millward
4. Adam Sterry
5. Tommy Searle
6. Harri Kullas
7. Shaun Simpson
8. Dylan Walsh
9. Brad Todd
10. Liam Knight

Moto two
1. Jeffrey Herlings
2. Ben Watson
3. Tommy Searle
4. Shaun Simpson
5. Dylan Walsh
6. Adam Sterry
7. Harri Kullas
8. Jake Millward
9. Brad Todd
10. Dan Thornhill

1. Jeffrey Herlings 47
2. Ben Watson 47
3. Tommy Searle 36
4. Adam Sterry 33
5. Jake Millward 33
6. Shaun Simpson 32
7. Dylan Walsh 29
8. Harri Kullas 29
9. Brad Todd 24
10. Dan Thornhill 21

In MX2 Conrad Mewse was in his own postcode all day in Lyng with a dominant 1-1 win to assert his authority on the British championship. Mewse made it look easy on his Hitachi Fuelled by Milwaukee KTM and was even jumping braking bumps as he flowed with a rough, tricky circuit with despite rain at the end of the second moto making vision tough. Mewse looks more than ready for the world championship season to begin – especially if he can keep making some great starts!

“It was an awesome start,” Mewse said of his holeshot in race two. “I rode my own race, I put some hard laps down at the start then I just settled in, the track was very difficult. I didn’t want to push too much, I had the lead, I had the overall. Overall it as a great weekend and I’m looking forward to round three.”

This article continues below

Behind Mewse, the racing was intense not much separating the next ten in the pack. Race one it was Steven Clarke who took a strong second on the Gas Gas from Taylor Hammal with Liam Everts coming from seventh to fourth and passing Brad Anderson to do it – a man over twice his age who was racing when his dad Stefan was still competing!

Everts chases Anderson!

Ahead of Everts in fifth was Taylor Hammal but he will be disappointed after crashing out of third and then going down again – but his speed was on point all day. John Adamson took fourth after seventh in race one despite a mistake with Jay Hague third in the second moto and finally getting a bit of luck! The Crendon Honda rider landed on a downed machine on lap one of race one and came from way back to eleventh but race two showed what Hague could do with a good start. Ashton Dickinson rode fantastic to take second in race two and it was a comfortable second at that to give him something positive to go home with after a DNF in race one- it was a topsy-Turney day for everyone not named Conrad Mewse in MX2!

Moto one
1. Conrad Mewse
2. Steven Clarke
3. Taylor Hammal
4. Liam Everts
5. Nathan Dixon
6. Brad Anderson
7. John Adamson
8. Florian Miot
9. Tom Grimshaw
10. Calum Mitchell

Moto two
1. Conrad Mewse
2. Ashton Dickinson
3. Jay Hague
4. John Adamson
5. Taylor Hammal
6. Liam Everts
7.  Steven Clarke
8. Brad Anderson
9. Nathan Dixon
10. James Carpenter

1. Conrad Mewse 50
2.Taylor Hammal 36
3. Steven Clarke 36
4. Liam Everts 33
5. John Adamson 32
6. Jay Hague  30
7. Brad Anderson 28
8. Nathan Dixon 28
9. Ashton Dickinson 22
10. Tom Grimshaw 21

Report: Jonathan McCready