As an off-road motorcycle rider when you sign that entry form and part with that hard-earned cash, you’re hoping for a well organised, competitive event in which you can also have plenty of fun bike time!
Now in its 32nd year, the annual AMCA Weymouth Beach moto-cross provides just that, with the 2016 bash attracting a massive line-up of over 300 racers. Indeed year on year it’s also sees a lot of the same old and young faces returning to test their skills in the soft Dorset sand, thus proving that this particular event certainly appears to tick all of the right boxes!
This exciting, fast-paced sand race is organised by the Purbeck MXC, one of the smallest AMCA Clubs in conjunction with the local Weymouth and Portland Lions Club. With all proceeds going to charities within the Dorset community, the promotional team are backed by the crucial and valuable assistance of some 45 volunteers. Together this happy band’s enthusiasm appears to rub off not only on the riders but also captures the attention of spectators. With the sun shining, thousands lined the Esplanade to watch the action for FREE and what a treat they were to enjoy!
First up was a simply gigantic group of Junior racers and as Jim Shipton lowered his flag to signal the dead-engine start of moto one it was 18 year-old Callum Ford who led the thunderous charge. In this Unlimited class sponsored by Caroline Racing, Ford aboard his 250F Kawasaki was right on the gas and still in control at the end of a very frantic opening lap. Also in the early mix were Tom Ayres, Mark Gale, James Cole, Simon Edward Stockham, Paul Armstrong and Darren Leach. Whilst Ford then controlled all the way to take the win, there was plenty of movement going on behind him. As Ayres dropped back to a final 9th, it was Gale who got home in 2nd spot from Shane Trotter who had gated 10th, Luke O’Brien who blasted all the way up from 25th, Peter Skevington, Jake Stephen Gay, Ed Hopkin and Justin Coombes.
Junior race two and Ford was on it again, grabbing the holeshot to lead from Gay, Hopkin, Cole and Armstrong. This time though it was not all plain sailing for Ford as an error on lap five dropped him back to 3rd behind Gay and the hard charging Skevington who had initially gated right down in 17th. This battle was now well and truly on in a tough, three way struggle for supremacy. Lap seven and it was now Gay who was in trouble, slipping down the leaderboard to 5th as Skevington became the third different leader of what was a truly entertaining Beach moto-cross race. On the final circuit though, the super Ford was back at the front and there he remained to bag his second moto win of the day. As Skevington took the runners-up slot, Trotter got home in 3rd from O’Brien, Gay, Hopkin and James Cole.
In what was proving to be a good day for Kawasaki power, 16 year-old Jake Parker grabbed the holeshot in the opening Seniors Unlimited moto sponsored by Van Worx-VW Transporter Specialist. And, what a performance the very fast and stylish Parker was to produce, leading all the way to the chequered flag and lapping everyone except runner-up Brad Thornhill and third placed Sam Lycett. Indeed Thornhill, the brother of Maxxis British Championship rider Dan, also had a super moto one ride after gating 5th. Completing the top ten in this Seniors sand blast were James Adams, Jack Sherwin, Jonny White, Leonard Paget, Ricky Britton, Giles Richards and Jamie McCarthy.
Although young Parker was off to a flyer again in Seniors moto two, he was certainly not to have it all his own way this time around. In another great scrap, Thornhill and Lycett also took turns to lead moto two as Parker hit trouble on lap four dropping back to 5th. Eventually the Kawasaki Kid got back to 2nd but could not prevent Lycett taking the win with Thornhill impressing in 3rd from Marcus Alba, Adams, White and Jamie Aitken.
Debuting his new shiny Geartec Crescent Yamaha, local Maxxis British Championship ace Jake Shipton started the Poole Motorcycles sponsored Experts class as favourite. However it was to be James Dodd on the FUS Moto4 Fro Husqvarna who grabbed a glorious moto one holeshot and thus lead the charge to turn one. With Shipton down in 5th, the battle appeared well and truly on! Proving though just why he is the defending Weymouth Champion, Jake took just one lap to hit pole position and there he remained all the way to the chequered flag. Right up until lap fourteen, the fast starting Dodd held 2nd spot before eventually being overhauled by Tommy Alba. Indeed Dodd and Alba were the only two riders not to be lapped by the very rapid Shipton. Taking 4th in this clash was TMC Kawasaki pilot Matt Ridgway, fresh from his fantastic 12th place finish in the big Weston Beach race. In a big quality field, the other AMCA lads to shine were MX2 pilot Cory McShane in a great 8th, Mark Young 9th and Luke Mellows 11th.
In the second Experts clash of the day, super Shipton turned on the style with a massive start to finish win as Alba got home in 2nd despite a split silencer reducing his power output! Right up until lap six, James Carpenter had held 2nd before eventually disappearing from proceedings on lap eight. In this clash the AMCA aces again shone with Dodd taking a big 3rd despite initially gating 9th and being forced to discard his goggles and Ridgway scorching to a strong 4th. The 250F lads were also stretching that throttle wire to the max with Mellows 7th, McShane 8th and Lee Truman 9th just ahead of another popular AMCA pilot, Midlander Ryan Morris.
So with the 2016 Weymouth action over, it was time for the presentation which started with Purbeck MXC Chairman Alf Stearn handing over a chequer for £1,500 to Lions Club chairman Mark Lockie. Then it was the riders turn to step up, with the young class winners Callum Ford(Juniors), Jake Parker(Seniors) and Jake Shipton(Experts) not only picking up a trophy but also a new tyre courtesy of event supporters Dunlop. Finally, it was announced that the 2017 event will take place on Sunday, 22nd October, put it in your diary now!
TO VIEW ALL OF THE IMAGES FROM THIS EVENT GO TO
Mike Wood http://www.offroad-action.co.uk/
The results of the event are below.