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Race report: Scottish‌ ‌Championship opener at Tain!

Race report: Scottish‌ ‌Championship opener at Tain!
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After having to delay the start of the Scottish Championship due to the lockdown restrictions, the date was set for 15th / 16th May and Duns was to be the track where the series would finally get underway. Unfortunately, the weather kicked in with torrential downpours during a MX meeting last week and resulted in that being cancelled  after day 1 and cast doubt the track would be able to recover in time. The hard decision to change the venue was made and the obvious choice was Tain. The track is a Mecca for Motocross as many riders from all over the UK regularly make the pilgrimage north to ride, mostly for winter training, but its ability to be ridden all year round meant it would be a safe bet. With riders coming from the four corners of the UK, the decision was not taken lightly but would turn out the right one. The sun shone all weekend and the track conditions were perfect, credit to owner Peter MacKenzie who pulled out all the stops to get it prepped with a few days’ notice. Stuart Flockhart and his ScotMX team, with the support of his growing list of sponsors pulled off an amazing weekend.

Saturday 15th May

Traditionally, this day is all about the kids with an Adult support class making up the days race schedule. Some of the adults racing chose to ride the support race to bed themselves in for the Sunday and time would tell if that was to their advantage. The classes were packed and the MX Mum’s and Dad’s were at the ready to keep the kids on track.

Auto’s 

With three races on the Saturday and only the one on the Sunday, the Auto’s were the first up to get the meeting rolling. Ethan Gawley had a faultless weekend as the diminutive rider showed his sand riding skills, formed over in Ireland, had stood him in good stead. There were a great number of riders benefited from the 11th hour changed from Duns to Tain and Ethan was one of them. He blasted out the gate and secured 4 race wins making the long journey worth it. Hendry is a well know name in Scottish youth motocross with Logan and Owen showing young Zak Hendry the way and he proved worthy competition with a solid 2nd place over the two days. There was some spirited racing between the next three riders as Lyall Rutherford got the better of Tucker Moffat and Ivan Williamson. Lyall’s three third places were only halted by Ivan’s well deserved podium place in the first race. Tucker got the fourth overall ahead of young Ivan with some good consistent riding. Caleb Shearer grabbed the top six position by 2 points ahead of Cameron Berry.

65’s

In similar dominant fashion to the Auto’s, it was Alfie Heron who won overall. Four from four meant he would beat Malachi Allan who kept him honest by pushing him all the way. Kian McGill overcame his first race 7th with two thirds and a fourth to finish off the podium places with Jamie McKee and the unfortunate Robbie Scott who finished fifth overall despite having two thirds on both days. The thrills and spills cost him a podium. Jack Deasy had a solid day and finished top 6.

85’s SW/BW

The racing dominance continued into the next class with Cole McCulloch, not only winning the SW85 overall but beating his bigger counterparts on the BW. Jack Fletcher on the BW85 would finally bag the overall race win between the two classes in the final race, but it was an action packed race as Lennox Dickenson got in the mix to grab a couple overall race seconds. 

SW

While Cole was doing his best to stay ahead of the BW bikes, Hayden Statt and Lewis Spratt swapped positions through the day and ended up on 82 points with count back going to Hayden as he was ahead of Lewis in the last race. Jaden Anderson proved he could repeat his form from racing south of the border recently and easily finished fourth ahead of Samuel Logan and Alfie Stott who were 1 point apart. The next 5 riders were within a few points of each other proving this to be a tough class to compete.

BW

Jack Fletcher continued where he left off from last season. He had Brett Kelly chasing him down all weekend as Lennox Dickson also pushed hard and got the better of Jack in two races. Brett would grab the second place on the podium ahead of Lennox as he had the more consistent finish. Troy Flockhart had to ride hard due to a couple poor starts and gained 10+ places in two races to finish a distant fourth. Ryan McKinney and Reilly McKenzie would finish 5th and 6th respectively with the latter making the top 3 in race 4. Ryan was the more consistent and edged out 5th by 3 points.

Rookies

With Ben Kennedy moving up to MX2 this year, this meant the class was wide open. Ben was swiftly replaced by Sam Atkinson who laid claim to the #1 championship plate by winning all four races. Having trained hard all winter in the company of some very fast friends in Carlton Husband and John Robson, the young man was flawless. His lap times would have put him in the mix in the MX2 races for a podium. Drew McCreanor was equally as exciting to watch as he charged hard but would ultimately finish 2nd overall with four 2nds’. Hudson Roper grabbed the last podium place as Ayden Smith paid the ultimate price of finishing 5th in the fourth race. Lee Cameron and Charley Irwin both finished on 61pts, but it was Lee’s last race that got the 5th place by finishing ahead of Charley.

Adult Support

There was a good mix of MX1 and MX2 riders rode the adult support race on the Saturday and it was Carlton Husband who grabbed the first two races wins of the day ahead of Gary Gibson took a tumble in race one where he suffered a minor whiplash to his neck which would plague him for the rest of the weekend. Gibson would recover to finish 5th in the first race and a creditable 2nd in the second race. With all to play for in the last race, it was Richard McKeown who would finish 1st. Richard rode well in all three races and was finally rewarded with the win. Gary Gibson took the 2nd place again with Carlton ending up 4th as Jordan McCaw pushed to come from 8th to 3rd.

Sunday 16th May

Incredibly, the weather beat the forecast and the brisk early morning soon disappeared as the promise of some heated racing was matched by the temperature increase from the day before. No need to water the track as the overnight dew was enough to ensure the track remained in prime condition. Yet again, Peter MacKenzie had worked hard to deliver a track befitting the riders on show. With the gates full in most of the classes, the ScotMX Championship, Powered by Milwaukee has proven to be extremely popular as pre-registration ensured places were taken bar a few slots in the two top classes. Riders had come from all over the UK to stake a claim for the coveted title of Scottish Champion. Martin Barr had returned, not only to claim his trophy from last year, but to prove he’s still the man to beat. The rumours were true as Shaun Simpson posted on the saturday he was heading north to do battle with the popular Irishman with plenty others queuing up to join the action.

It was a who’s who of British Motocross as some of the countries best made the long trip up north. Not only the established riders, but a few young guns were present to show them who’s boss. But it wasn’t all about MX1 and MX2. There was some serious racing to be done throughout the day as the Adult B/C classes would do their best to shine. The kids were still part of the busy schedule as they wrapped up their weekend but it was the Vets who set the tone for the day.

Vets 40,50 and 60

With 37 riders on the start gate, it was the busiest race of the weekend so far. With three combined classes, it would be challenging to see who was winning which class but there was no doubt who meant business. Having had the benefit of racing Hawkstone a few weeks ago, it was Barry Gray who triumphed over his Irish nemesis Stephen Kelly in the first two races and the ex-GP rider could only finish 3rd/2nd in his first two races as his third race was to make the Ferry! Stephen had to miss the last race which opened the podium to Richard Miller and Euan McConnell with the former winning the last race. Barry joked about being “taken out” by Scottish MX legend Paul Chiappa at one point as Paul unfortunately clipped Barry’s wheel but it didn’t stop him taking the overall.

With the 40’s decided, the 50’s saw Graham Anderson take the overall by winning the last race which was enough to secure the top spot. Morton Hannah’s two 3rd’s and a race win was not enough but he battled the big 4 strokes on his trusty Honda even if he did bin it several times. The ever present Craig Smith was unchallenged for the final podium place. The 60’s were only represented by two riders, the afore mentioned Paul Chiappa and Douglas Garrick. No surprises who took the honours. 

Adult C (MX1/MX2)

Slight change to the Adult C class by splitting it into MX1/MX2. Last years runaway winner Dylan Grieve had moved up to the B’s and Mike McLarty blasted out of the gate with three hole shots and the MX2 championship lead. His long lay off regular riding had not deterred him from showing he was more than just a fast starter. William Anderson showed the winter training had paid off as he rode steadily to grab the second place from Scottie Mair, who’s first race first corner pile up ended up with him finishing way down the pack only to then win the next two races but no enough to over haul two podium places. In the MX1 races, Lewis Fleming had three race wins as Jordan Aitchison’s podiums were enough to secure overall second. Andrew Thomson was delighted to grab the final podium as he beamed with delight as Stuart Flockhart handed him his prizes.

Adult B (MX1/MX2)

Like the C’s, the split in MX1/MX2 gave the riders every opportunity to win their class.

In the MX2 class, Josh Gray and Mark Tow had their challenges. In race 1, Josh hit the deck hard at the first corner ruining his chance for the overall or even making the podium, although he managed a race win in the 2nd race, he would finish 4th overall. Mark would improve his results to secure the final podium place with a win in the last race as John Marshall and Jack Winthrop had the best of the results finishing first and second respectively. As much as his mates would cheer him on, Jack could not quite match John as his first race win would pay dividends. He was never out of the top three all day.

The MX1 class was won comfortably by Niall McAuley as he had 2 wins with the next two riders being separated by 2 points, Jak Henderson coming off best. Ash Darling had to settle for third as a poor first race spoiled his chance for the top spot. Ash did get a 1st/2nd place but overall third was the best he could do. 

MX2

With the increased entries in the MX1 and MX2 classes, this meant the classes were split into separate races. Mouth watering as it may have been to see all the MX1/MX2 on the same start gate, it meant the riders could pit themselves against their piers without interference. It was a mouth watering line up on paper and even better in real life as John Adamson relished the chance to race on home soil again. Adamson rode in determined fashion in all three races but was kept on his toes by Jay Hague, Nathan Dixon, and Jamie Law as they pushed hard to keep him honest. It was Dixon that would beat Law by two points. After chasing down Adamson for the whole race, Hague’s bike would pack up on the last lap, cruel fate yet again for the talented rider who was trying to build on his results this year. Carlton Husband and Kyle McNicol did their best to match the top three and they both beat Lewis Hall who definitely had the lap times to finish higher but costly crashes meant he had to fight back through the field in two races to secure points. 

Pic: Raymond Thomson

MX1

The much anticipated MX1 race had everyone track side waiting for the gates to drop. Qualifying had whet the appetite and Shaun Simpson’s times had shown he was dialled in and geared up to get results. Martin Barr looked smooth and fast and Brad Todd would always be a threat. There was some real depth in the rest of the field with Scottish stalwarts Ross Rutherford, Tony Craig and Ryan McLean. The potential podium places would also be threatened by Gavin Stevenson and Stuart Edmonds as well as the recognised talents of Gary Gibson, Ben Edwards, Richard McKeown, and Josh Bentley.

As the gate dropped, it was Todd who grabbed the first hole shot just ahead of Gary Gibson, but it wasn’t long before Simpson blasted past and maintained a strong lead. He would post lap times of 2s quicker than Barr and Todd who had their own race before Barr would ease ahead of Todd to round out the top three in race 1. Simpson would repeat his race win and push ahead even further in the next two races and his sand mastery would show he still has what it takes to win championships. As well as Shaun using this series to bed in his bike, Martin Barr, new to his Kawasaki KXF450, found the weekend an ideal preparation to his season. Stuart Edmonds enjoyed his first visit to Tain by securing a hard fought third place in race 2 but a couple of crashes put paid to any potential podium and he would run out overall 5th. Brad Todd’s consistent riding was enough to finish on the podium ahead of Gavin Stevenson who recovered well from a heavy crash in the deep sand where he almost buried his bike early in the first race. Ben Edwards hard work was rewarded with a top 6 as he improved in every race. We still saw flashes of greatness from Ross Rutherford as he ran top 4 in the last race before dropping a few positions. Tony Craig and Ryan MacLean both had their work cut out but will no doubt be back to show there’s more to come.

Pic: Raymond Thomson

Overall, ScotMX Scottish Championship Rd1 triumphed over adversity. The weather had caused the race to be moved but if anything, galvanised the team to deliver. With one rider dominating each class, it only took a momentary lapse of concentration or a deep berm to spoil your result. It took heart and bravery to race this weekend and every rider proved they had it by finishing.

Round 2 of the ScotMX Scottish Championship, Powered by Milwaukee will be held at Lochgilphead June 26th / 27th 

Go to www.scotmx.com for entries

Be sure to Follow ScotMX on Facebook/Instagram for all your regular updates.

Report and pics: Raymond Thomson

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