Race report: British Championship RD1 Culham
Big bumps and deep ruts proved to be a tough combination for the opening round of the 2022 British motocross championship at Culham but it was the defending champions who dealt with it best.
Tommy Searle won both MX1 motos but dealt with pressure in both outings. Race one was tension filled with Dylan Walsh getting himself into the lead but Searle was quickly around Simpson and then put the pressure on the Revo Kawasak rider as Billy Mackenzie ran top six for the opening couple of laps before going down in the ruts! Walsh then went down and rode without a glove as Searle came under big pressure from a flying Jake Millward who passed Simpson and had a win in his sights.
The top four were never far apart with Searle holding off Millward, Simpson and a very impressive fourth placed Ashton Dickinson, with both Searle and Simpson complaining of arm pump at the end of the moto.
Race two and Searle got the holeshot but Josh Gilbert got around Harri Kullas quickly and set his sights on Searle. Gilbert got close but could never quite unsettle Searle enough to make a concerted pass attempt with Searle doing enough to take the win.
Third place in race two went to Shaun Simpson whom came through the top ten to get there and that was good enough for second overall and a solid start to the season for the Scot.
Jake Millward took third overall after a bad start restricted him to seventh in race two after that runner-up performance on the opening moto.
A very happy Searle said he found a good flow in race two and, despite needing concentration for the ruts, said he could just ride his own race and it felt like he was at the practice track!
Isak Gifting looked shocked and angry at the end of the MX2 first moto after Conrad Mewse caught, passed and left him to dominate race one and underline to everyone, including a baffled Gifting, that the Brit really is a different rider in the UK compared to Grand Prix racing.
Gifting of course was up amongst the top 5/6 in Mantova with Mewse just outside the top ten but if you only watched Culham you would think it was the other way around!
Gifting didn’t give in and upped his game admirably in race two and held Mewse off for half the race until Mewse went around the outside of Gifting when the Swede choose the wrong line and followed a back marker. Mewse subsequently pulled out a lead of 5 seconds to start the defence of his title with a perfect 1-1 score, despite a scary moment on the last lap through the backmarkers when he nearly dropped it!
Mewse said afterwards he learnt from Giftings good lines in race two to find the pace he needed to take the win with Gifting admitting Mewse just had the superior pace on him despite his best efforts in race two.
Jay Hague took third in race one with a great ride by Kyle McNicol for a superb third in race two but it was Jamie Law on the 250 Apico Husqvarna two-stroke who took a podium with consistent race finishes despite a late race charge from Taylor Hammal, threatening to displace Law on the box.
Report: Jonathan McCready
Image: Adam Duckworth