GREAT racing, close finishes and dramatic incidents all played out on a Nympsfield track in absolute prime condition ensured that the opening round of the 2014 AMCA British Motocross Championships had it all and so much more, writes Mike Wood.
It was a memorable day as Brad O’Leary, Clinton Barrs and Richard Cannings all bagged one MX1 moto win apiece with Bristol's Barrs taking a morale boosting overall victory despite nursing a sore knee from O’Leary and Luke Mellows, making his AMCA Championship debut.
In an equally thrilling and compelling MX2 contest, Thornbury-based Carl Benjamin (2) and Paul Neale of Stroud took the race victories with Benjamin earning the overall win.
On a track expertly prepared by Lawson Benjamin and the organising Dursley MXC, it was time after months of hard work, training and preparation for the riders to lay their cards on the table.
The MX2 class produced plenty of great action at Nympsfield, starting with a moto one thriller in which Neale led all the way only to be passed on the final lap by Dursley MXC member Benjamin.
After that late defeat in the opening moto of the new title campaign, Neale was focussed and very determined to make amends in moto two.
With a copybook performance, the Apico LPE Kawasaki pilot made no mistakes this time around, leading the charge in style from gate to flag.
Chasing Neale home though was that man Benjamin, who had moved from eighth up to second.
With one moto win each, it was a head to head battle between the immaculate duo of Benjamin and Neale for the right to earn the first overall victory of the season.
Right from the off it was Benjamin who held the crucial race leadership, just ahead of Neale and Lewis King, who held a great third.
Setting a terrific pace at the front, Benjamin then dictated proceedings, standing strong and repelling Neale’s initial close attention before racing onto glory as King maintained third throughout the contest.
A totally elated Benjamin said: "The track was awesome and it produced some great racing.
"Coming away with three solid rides and the overall win is a great way to start the 2014 campaign.
In the battle of the AMCA Championship non-qualifiers at Nympsfield, Sean Wainwright gained some consolation for missing the cut into the main races by taking overall victory, whilst James Lane, Jack Jackett, Tom Guilding and Owen Coates topped the respective experts, seniors, juniors and inter juniors support classes.
Results – MX1 overall: 1 C Barrs 161 points; 2 O’Leary 159; 3 Mellows 144; 4 J Jones 134; 5 Cannings 132; 6 E Barrs 125; 7 Blanchard 124; 8 Thomas 113; 9 Cox 108; 10 Meredith 105; 11 Briscoe 96; 12 Pearce 91; 13 Poolman 89; 14 T Barrs 80; 15 Agius 74; 16 Frayne 70; 17 R Jones 66; 18 Ayres 64; 19 Bayliss 63; 20 Smith 60.
MX2 overall: 1 Benjamin 174 points; 2 Neale 168; 3 Saunders 140; 4 King 136; 5 Mathia 134; 6 Crowder 117; 7 Gardner 111; 8 C Hill 107; 9 McShane 103; 10 Morris 97; 11 Swift 91; 12 Wells 88; 13 Ridgway 85; 14 J Smith 84; 15 D Hill 84; 16 Truman 81; 17 Everitt 76; 18 Payne 70; 19 Tranter 65; 20 Yarranton 64.
Amca Championship non-qualifiers: 1 Sean Wainwright 168 points; 2 Ash Cotterell 159; 3 Lee Clarkson 142.
Experts unlimited: 1 James Lane 174 points; 2 Adam Harris 168; 3 James Price 142.
Seniors unlimited: 1 Jack Jackett 167 points; 2 Wayne Meacham 164; 3 George McConnell 151.
Juniors unlimited: 1 Tom Guilding 174 points; 2 Adam Senior 164; 3 Ross Jones 149.
Inter juniors: 1 Owen Coates 174 points; 2 Jamie Comley 161; 3 Billy Wieczorek 151.