Nicholls extends MX1 lead

13 August 2018

Go Back Jake Nicholls (Buildbase Honda) extended his MX1 series lead, Mel Pocock (REVO Husqvarna UK) pulled back a bunch of points in MX2, Rossi Beard (Putoline Planet Husqvarna) moved to the front of the MXY2 championship chase and Mike Kras (GL12 Racing KTM) sealed the British Two-stroke Championship title. It’s safe to say it was all going on at Hawkstone Park on Sunday!

Following the previous round at Duns, Nicholls had seen his championship lead cut to 12 points by Evgeny Bobryshev (Lombard Express Suzuki with PAR Homes) but luck wasn’t on the Russian’s side at the famous Shropshire sand circuit.

As Nicholls streaked to a gate-to-flag victory from defending champion Graeme Irwin (Hitachi ASA KTM UK) in the opening moto, Bobryshev found himself on the ground in the second turn and after a race-long charge could only get back to 10th.

Former champion Tommy Searle (Bike It DRT Kawasaki) had gone down with Bobryshev and after retrieving his bike from the chestnut paling mounted a sensational charge through the field to get up to third at the flag ahead of Elliott Banks-Browne (Geartec Husqvarna) and Gert Krestinov (Phoenix Tools Apico Honda).

Searle wasn’t hanging around in the second moto and dropped the hammer from the gate, eventually claiming a 12-and-a-half second win but the drama was behind him where Nicholls held an early second before Banks-Browne made a pass. Nicholls got him back but in the closing stages he had Bobryshev on his rear wheel before the Russian fell on the final lap, eventually coming home seventh.

Irwin took third from Banks-Browne and Ryan Houghton (Rob Hooper Racing Yamaha) but the situation then went from bad to worse for Bobryshev who was docked a minute after failing a post-race noise test which dropped him to 12th.

So Nicholls topped the podium from Searle and Irwin and with two rounds to go leads Bobryshev by 39 points.

“It’s been a great day,” said Nicholls. “Qualification went well and the first race was really good actually. The track is quite physical and I used a lot of energy and before the second race I felt a little bit flat so I knew it was going to be tough.

“I’m trying not to think about the championship. I’m just focussed on the races and enjoying myself and I had one hell of a day today.”

Series leader Conrad Mewse (Hitachi ASA KTM UK) was in a different class in the opening MX2 race, winning by over 40 seconds from Pocock with Josh Gilbert (Buildbase Honda) making a late pass on Todd Kellett (Verde Substance KTM) for third as Liam Knight (Pope Racing KTM) picked up fifth.

A first-lap crash in race two dumped Mewse down the field. Within a few laps he’d recovered to 21st but a second crash at the top of the hill forced him to pull out with a hand injury.

At the front Steven Clarke (Honda) led from Michael Ellis (Hitachi ASA KTM UK) and Knight but Pocock could sense victory and had worked his way up to second at half-distance before making a pass with three laps to go.

Knight took second from Clarke with Josh Spinks (M Smith KTM) fourth ahead of Martin Barr (REVO Husqvarna UK) and Gilbert.

The overall went to Pocock from Knight and Clarke. In the championship Mewse’s lead has been cut to 14 points with Gilbert still second but just one point ahead of Pocock.

“I’m just really, really happy,” said Pocock. “I’m still chasing my dream of winning a British championship – for a time I thought it would never happen and even an overall round win felt so far away.”

In the MXY2 class Beard nailed three wins to top the podium from Aaron Lee Hanson (Husqvarna) and Joel Rizzi (RFX Crescent Yamaha). The result gives Beard a 24-point lead over George Sim-Mutch (Manchester MX Husqvarna) who led the championship heading into Hawkstone where he ended the day fourth overall.

Defending B2S champion Kras held a 21-point lead ahead of Ash Wilde (RMJ Husqvarna UK) at the start of the day and looked a safe bet to wrap it up comfortably but he was forced to pit in the opener to have his silencer replaced. With Wilde winning and Kras coming home seventh the gap was suddenly down to 10 points with one race remaining.

Second time out Kras was content to sit in second behind Wilde and shadowed him to the flag so while Wilde took the overall from Jack Brunell (Hitachi ASA KTM UK) and John Adamson (AAA Husqvarna) it was the Dutchman who made it back-to-back titles.

“It feels good to win the title again,” said Kras, “and if I get the chance with Bob we can go for the hat-trick because it’s a great class and I love coming to England.”

The action now shifts to the spectacular Foxhill circuit in Wiltshire for the penultimate round on September 23.

Picture © Nuno Laranjeira

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