Round 4 of the BWMA Westermans International British Womens Motocross Championship took place on a very hot Bank Holiday Sunday and Monday at the fast and flowing Warmingham Lane circuit run by the AMCA Sandbach Club.
With both Chelsea Gowland and Elisha Elliott looking almost unstopable the main focus would be on the places behind and as the season is progressing the girls are closing the gaps and raising their games.
Qualifying for the weekend saw the 25 Adult riders out first on a heavily watered track, lines started to form and it got quicker as the session went on but Chelsea Gowland on her Redline Honda put in a super quick lap 5 seconds faster than Amy Goodlad, with Leonni Tighe, Taylor Scott and Nadiya Jones rounding out the top 5, setting the tone for the weekend. In the Youth class again Elisha Elliott put in the fastest lap but a rapidly improving Jaysi Austin wasn't far behind with a great time only 1 second behind with Rheanne Morgan-Rogers, Hannah Jones and Grace Packman rounding out the top 5, setting up for an exciting weekends racing.
Race 1 for the adults and things didn't go quite to plan, a blistering BelRay holeshot by young Jaymee Garrood, followed by Leonni Tighe, but with Amy Goodlad having a poor start and Chelsea Gowland falling on the first corner this was going to be one exciting race. Goodlad was first to pick her way through pushing her way through the tight battle between Charlotte Hall, Taylor Scott, Nadiya Jones and Eleanor Calby all wheel to wheel, further back the remounted Gowland was on a charge, within one lap she was through the mid pack and by lap 4 she was already on the back wheel of Goodlad within a lap Gowland had taken the lead but she was riding her Redline Honda to the limits and after the big uphill jump lost it on the corner allowing Goodlad to get back through with one lap to go, this time though Gowland couldn't make up the ground and had to settle for second, followed home by Leonni Tighe, Ellie Sleightholme and Eleanor Calby.
Race 2 and this time it was the BelRay Holeshot Championship leader Leonni Tighe getting another one in the bag on her IDS Passion Racing Husqvarna, again both Goodlad and Gowland had poor starts allowing Tighe to push at the front, Goodlad was the first to get through and pressure Tighe for the lead, Tighe put up a determined figtht but couldn't hold on, then Gowland went past and the battle was, with two laps to go Gowland put the pass and went through for another hard fought win, Tighe was comfortable in third with Sleightholme fourth and Calby taking fifth from a hard charging Charlotte Hall only a bike length behind.
Race 3 and this time Goodlad was determined to take the lead and make it stick taking her first BelRay Holeshot just pipping Charlotte Hall, Gowland however also had a reasonable start and was on the back wheel of Goodlad by lap two setting this up to be another exciting race. It took two laps of intense pressure before Gowland put the pass on Goodlad and steadily pulled a gap to take the win, Tighe's race however turned sour after a fall put her down the field in sixth place leaving the consistent Ellie Sleightholm to take a well deserved 3rd place ahead of Charlotte Hall and Nadiya Jones.
Day two started of badly with a first corner pile up with the unfortunate Scot Ciara Robertson coming off worse, after a coming together she was hit by several bikes. The racing was delayed for her to be airlifted to hospital cutting short the racing to 2 races for Monday. Ciara suffered a shoulder broken in 3 places and bruised liver but thankfully in good spirits. The re-run saw Tighe take another BelRay holeshot again closely followed by Amy Goodlad determend to stop Gowland running away with another round, Gowland had another poor start and had to push hard to get through the 6 way battle of Taylor Scott, Eleanor Calby, Charlotte Hall, Nadiyal Jones and Kayleigh Durston, these were racing so closely it took Gowland a few laps to get past but soon she was through and past Tighe to give chase to Goodlad, by now Goodlad had a fair gap but Gowland chipped away and finally took the lead with a lap to go, Goodlad fought back but finished just 3 seconds down.
Race 5 and by now Goodlad's determination to get another victory was evident as she grabbed her second BelRay Holeshot of the day and checked out posting the fastest lap of the race. Gowland wasn't far behindd but the effort over the previouse four races took its toll and having made it through to second couldn't make an impression on Goodlad's lead this time and had to settle for second place, Leonnie Tighe settled for her familiar 3rd place but ride of the day was from Ellie Sleightholm after badly bruising her thigh in the Robertson crash she managed a remarkable 4th place ahead of Taylor Scott, further down the field the rapidly improving Vicky Marriott took well deserved 9th place after battling with Eleanor Calby and Charlotte Hall just ahead of her to grab 10th overall
1st Chelsea Gowland 288pts
2nd Amie Goodlad 282pts
3rd Leonni Tighe 243pts
4th Ellie Sleightholme 236pts
5th Charlotte Hall 213pts
6th Eleanor Calby 211pts
7th Taylor Scott 209pts
8th Kayleigh Durston 191pts
9th Nadiya Jones 190pts
10th Vicky Marriott 159pts
The Youth class is seeing some exciting close racing with Elisha Elliott being the rider to chase, stepping up to the challenge is young Jaysi Austin but while Elliott took all 5 BelRay holeshots the task for the other girls is a big one.
Race 1 and Elliott set the pace with Scot Cristina Palmer close behind but it was the determined Austin who quickly past Palmer to give chase to Elliott, for a couple of laps Austin had Elliott in sight but the speed of Elliott was just too much, behind Austin the battle for third was hot with Hannah Jones and Grace Packman finally getting the better of Palmer who finished fifth.
Race 2 and again Elliott was away with Grace Packman in close pursuit and Austin on her whell, it wasn't long before Austin was through to second chasing Elliott, while the battle for 3rd couldn't have been closer, Rheanne Morgan-Rogers was in the hunt after a fall in the first dropped her out of contention, Hannah Jones was soon to pass to get her into third but with Morgan-Rogers fighting back followed by Grace Packman and Cristina Palmer all covered by just two seconds the racing couldn't be more exciting,
Race 3 Elliott takes the holeshot and pulls away with Austin having to fight through to second, Elliottt had already gone, behind Austin the battle for third was another close fought thing with Morgan-Rogers getting the better of Jones this time closely followed by Grace Packman and Cristina Palmer.
Day 2, Race 4 and Elliott again dominant taking the win from start to finish, Packman this time gave chase but the ever determined Austin pushed her hard to finally take the pass, Morgan-Rogers and Palmer again continued their battle for with Morgan-Rogers getting the better by only a couple of seconds at the finish, a better finish for Izzy Neale who had been struggling with bike issues, joined in the battle to finish a close 6th.
Race 5 and Elliott again took the win from the holeshot with the Packman in second being pressured by Austin who again took the position on the second lap the battle behind was a bit more open as the heat of the weekend took its toll, with Hannah Jones pipping Morgan-Rogers for fouth place.
The racing in both classes was really close and exciting and the girls in both classes are all stepping up and improving race by race with some real stars shining.
Round 5 is at Long Lane Sunday 10th June
Words by Howard Marriott and images by Gavin Ithell
The results of the event are below.