Despite a depleted field due to injuries and holiday, the penultimate round of the BWMA British Womens Motocross Championship held at Grittenham on Sunday certainly lived up to its promise. Once again the girls present produced plenty of spectacular racing and as always gave it their all!.
On a track prepared to a very high standard by the Devizes club who put on a great Championship event, rain just 24 hours before raceday ensured that conditions were just about perfect. Taking out a late entry, it was to be Nadiya Jones, the winner of the previous round at Lower Drayton who was to post the quickest time in qualification. Next best was series leader Beth Farmer followed by home club member Cath King. Leonni Tighe, Mille King, Louise Powell who had missed the previous two rounds due to a family illness, Ciara Robertson after her 10 hour journey down from Scotland, Vicky Marriott and 15 year-old Grace Bates. There was some fantastic performances from the young girls but probably the most outstanding came from 15 year old Eleanor Calby fresh from taking the 125cc Championship win at the All British the day before grabbing 5th place.
In moto one, all the girls were looking forward to improving their positions while Beth Farmer had to race like a champion after letting the pressure get to her at Lower Drayton making too many silly mistakes. Race like a Champion she did, following Catherine King who took the BelRay holeshot into the first corner she quickly took the lead and rode a very mature race to steadily pull out a comfortable win. Meanwhile behind her all hell was let loose as Nadiya Jones and a few others were caught out by the start gate dropping so quickly. In typically determined fashion though, Jones then showed her true class to charge back up the leaderboard in spectacular style and thus bag a strong 2nd at the finish.The battle for 3rd place was hard fought setting the tone for the day with Cath King, Leonni Tighe and the very impressive Louise Powell fighting it out to the end. Young Eleanor Calby got the better of the battle with Charlotte Hall in 7th who made up for a disappointing qualifying position whilst Millie King who struggled to get to grips with the track and Vicky Marriott rounded out the top ten. Just behind these girls, 13 year old Abbie Chambers got the better of Grace Bates while Leah Monks and Hannah Stone enjoyed their own private tussle for the right to finish 13th.
As Catherine King pulled out another BelRay holeshot in moto two, Nadiya Jones again had it all to do after crashing early on when the front end of her KTM washed out. So as Nadiya picked herself up and started the long charge back through the pack, Beth Farmer quickly took the lead and with a very measured ride she built another comfortable gap at the front before racing onto the win. Taking 2nd was Catherine King and the talented Wiltshire lass pulled out all the stops to keep leader Farmer in her sights throughout. Also producing a class ride to bag 3rd was the equally talented Leonni Tighe . Througout the contest, Leonni the true-racer that she is, attempted at every opportunity to try and attack King whilst also protecting her own position from a very determined Louise Powell. Taking 5th after that early tumble was Nadiya Jones, ahead of a tough battle involving Millie King, Ciara Robertson, Charlotte Hall and Vicky Marriott, incredibly those girls were covered by only 4 seconds at the finish line, what a race! The unfortunate Eleanor Calby who fell then fought back, showing great determination to grab a hard earned 10th place ahead of the two battling teenagers Abbie Chambers and Grace Bates..
Moto three and it was a familiar story as Catherine King completed her hat trick of BelRay holeshots before Beth Farmer quickly again took the lead. On this occasion though Nadiya Jones got a clean start and was in a good position to take the battle to Farmer. In the duel that developed, Beth Farmer initially pulled a comfortable gap but then made an unforced error dropping back to 3rd behind Catherine King as Jones now took control of proceedings. Eventually Beth got back to 2nd but couldn't catch the flying Jones.Probably the best racing was again in the mid pack, Catherine King had ridden an almost faultless meeting but she too made an error. Under pressure, Catherine dropped down to 5th at the finish as the very determined and experienced Louise Powell and Leonni Tighe both passed her. Typical of the great action produced by the girls, Millie King, Charlotte Hall, Ciara Robertson, Vicky Marriott and Eleanor Calby locked horns for 6th, continually swapping positions lap by lap, simply superb! During that super contest, Ciara Robertson had eventually dropped out of contention after falling, so at the chequered flag it was Hall topping that private party from Eleanor Calby, Vicky Marriott and Mille King. Ciara Robertson raced hard to fight back after her tumble but she had to settle for 11th as the young Abbie Chambers managed to hold on to 10th place.
This was another exciting and great round with changes to the Championship standings but now it’s all about the finale at Brookthorpe on Saturday 12th August.
Round 4 Grittenham
1st Beth Farmer 174 points
2nd Nadiya Jones 159 points
3rd Catherine King 149 points
4th Leonni Tighe 144 points
5th Louise Powell 142 points
6th Charlotte Hall 123 points
7th Eleanor Calby 119 points
8th Millie King 118 points
9th Ciara Roberton 113 points
10th Vicky Marriott 111 points
Report and images by Howard Marriott