Tight at the top!

27 June 2019

The Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championship supported by Pro Clean passes the halfway mark this weekend with round five at Desertmartin in Northern Ireland on Sunday and itís super-tight at the top in both the MX1 and MX2 classes.

The huge first-race, first-turn pile-up in MX1 last time out at Blaxhall left red plate holder Shaun Simpson (RFX KTM powered by PAR Homes) with a broken hand. The Scot bravely ground out 7-4 finishes in an exercise in damage limitation but itís Tommy Searle (BOS Kawasaki) Ė who also went down hard in the crash Ė who now leads by five points.

Simpson will be back this Sunday and shouldnít be too race rusty after his enforced absence so, as long as his hand is sufficiently healed, expect him and Searle to recommence their fight at the front.

This will be the fourth consecutive year that the Maxxis series has visited the spectacular sweeping sandy circuit and thereís no shortage of podium contenders who relish the soft stuff queuing up behind Searle and Simpson.

Gert Krestinov (Phoenix Tools Apico Kawasaki) sits a distant third in the points table and is coming under increasing pressure from Jake Millward (Chambers Racing Husqvarna) whose form on a 450 this season after making the switch from MX2 has been a revelation.

Other possible podium contenders include Brad Anderson (Verde Substance KTM) Ė although heíll have his work cut out on the 250cc two-stroke Ė along with Jake Shipton (Crescent Yamaha), Mel Pocock (ASA United KTM) and Lewis Tombs (Buildbase Honda) if heís sufficiently recovered from the broken hand he too sustained at Blaxhall.

Sadly, Harri Kullas (Cab Screens Deos Group Racing) is out after injuring his shoulder training on a mountain bike but Elliott Banks-Browne (Geartec Husqvarna) will be in action at a Maxxis round for the first time this year.

While itís tight at the top of MX1 itís even tighter in MX2 with just seven points covering the leading three riders. Dylan Walsh (REVO Husqvarna UK) did enough to take the red plate from his team-mate Alvin Ostlund at Blaxhall as a career-first overall win moved Josh Gilbert (Buildbase Honda) into second, one point behind the Kiwi.

Itís a fascinating contest between the two GP regulars and EMX250 competitor Gilbert and itís one thatís too close to call. Walsh and Ostlund will be making their first visits to Desertmartin which in theory should give Gilbert an advantage although the REVO riders havenít had too many problems learning new tracks this season.

With defending champion Conrad Mewse (Hitachi KTM fuelled by Milwaukee) still sidelined, his team-mate Bas Vaessen is definitely a rider to watch. The Dutchman has been flying in the world championship and heads into his teamís home round full of confidence and you also canít count out local hero Martin Barr (Crescent Yamaha).

There will also be 85cc support races so spectators can look forward to a packed programme.

Picture © Nuno Laranjeira