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British 2-Stroke Championship Race Report: Whitby

The Fuchs Silkolene British 2-Stroke Championship went up north for round five of the world’s leading two-stroke-only series. As always, preparation of the jumpy Yorkshire circuit was perfect, and an overcast morning burning off into a glorious sunny afternoon was just the icing on the cake.

  • Jamie Smith started off the day on a pristine 1989 KX125 - fastest in his qualifying group, he took seventh in the first 125 A moto, but switched to less antiquated machinery to finish the day out overall 125 Expert winner.
  • There are ways and means of making sure your rider see their pitboard - this is one of them...
  • Fourteen year old James Dunn was awesome on his big bike debut, super quick and very consistent with two outright moto victories.
  • Charles Statt came from miles down to carve his way into sixth in the first 125 A moto.
  • Reigning champion Mark Eastwood was evenly matched with Jack Brunell - the youngster, on a forray from German championship duties, had a slight edge on pace, but Eastwood never put a wheel wrong. Noble has already checked out....
  • Lewis Rose
  • Adam Reynolds rode a blinder in the final moto to take third behind Noble and Eastwood.
  • James Noble rocked up on an eight year old CR500 and just ran off and hid from everyone. Even starting in dead last wasn't enough of a handicap...
  • Whitby - a beautiful place for a race...
James Dunn was the big news in the 125 A class. The 14-year-old was simply sensational on his 125 debut, stepping up from an 85 and making it all look easy. Dunn led right from the start of moto one with championship leader Jim Davies second, but Davies, in considerable pain after a hefty off at the British Championships a week ago, had Lloyd Morgan right with him from the start. Charging through the rhythm section, Welshman Morgan managed a heroic leap through into second place and immediately set off after Dunn as Davies put up a stern defense against Darren Redman and Jack Plowman. Up front, Dunn had been edging away but Morgan began to close the slender gap, taking a run out of the rhythm section and attempting to double two of the step-ups on the back straight to jump into the lead. Right alongside leader Dunn, Morgan was absolutely full-bore and gave it everything, but the gamble failed to pay off: Morgan impacted heavily on the face of the following jump, sadly suffering injuries that would put him out for the rest of the day. With Morgan out, Redman took up the chase, edging his way through after the lower whoop section, but some last-lap retaliation by Dunn was enough to secure victory. Jack Plowman took an excellent third ahead of Davies, Danny Tollet, Charles Statt (who came from a long way down the field), and Jamie Smith, mounted on a pristine 1989 KX125.

Dunn got the holeshot in race two ahead of Highway Oliver, Davies, Stephens and Redman. Stephens wasted no time in taking second place, but Redman was carrying even more pace and was rapidly into second. Jamie Smith, now on more contemporary machinery, battled his way into second - a rather optimistic pass attempt into the hairpin left them both on the floor, however. Whilst Redman circulated slowly into retirement, Smith would remount to attempt a serious challenge on Davies, making a far more civilized pass in the same place before setting off after the leader as Davies worked at staying out of the hands of Plowman. Smith would close in on Dunn, but an incident somewhere on the circuit caused him to drop back.

Highway Oliver led them away form the start of moto three, but Stevens jumped his way straight through into the lead, Smith following him into second within half a lap. Oliver then headed a freight train of Matthew Thomas, Jake Page, Dunn, Plowman, Lee Holland, Redman, Davies, Tollett and Luke Dean. As the pack squabbled over the final step on podium, Smith closed down Stevens and calmly made his way through before the halfway mark and gradually eked out a gap. The battle behind the lead pair raged, but one by one the contenders dropped out until just Dunn, Redman and Davies were left to slug it out. Redman actually made it through into third but Dunn battled back to retake the spot before both Redman and Davies finally made it through into third and fourth, crossing the line barely a second apart. For the valiant Davies, a day that threatened to be a rearguard action in defense of his series lead turned into an unexpected bonanza as he extended the gap at the head of the field.

  • The Yorkshire track combines natural terrain with user-friendly man-made jumps and is a big hit with the riders.
There was only one man in it for the Open class: James Noble made his debut for his new STR Honda team on an old steel-framed CR500 and just annihilated the field. Even getting stuck in the gate, leaving him dead last in moto one, plus a minor mid-race tumble, couldn’t stop him from just galloping through the field to win at a canter. By lap three he was into fifth as Lewis Rose, Mark Eastwood and Open class debutante Jack Brunell tried to escape up front, but their efforts were in vain as local lad Noble was just unstoppable. Reigning champion Eastwood took second whilst Brunell survived a brief off for third ahead of Rose and Matt Moffatt. Noble made no mistakes for race two, using the potent motor to fire out of the gate into a lead he wasn’t to lose, as Marc Dean, Christian Taylor and Eastwood headed the chasing pack. Within a couple of laps, Eastwood was through into second but he had company in the form of Brunell, until the youngster slid off over the tunnel jump. He was quickly back up and running but had dropped back into the mass brawl over third. Brunell, now racing mostly in Germany, made short work of getting through the pack and was back into third within a lap, Rose leading Moffatt over the line for fourth and fifth after Taylor crashed heavily out of the race. Noble was again quickest out of the gate, ahead of Alistair Clarke, an unusually subdued Luke Hill, Adam Reynolds and Zac Blackwell. As Noble ran off and hid from the rest of the pack, Hill made his way swiftly into second, with Reynolds following him through and a Mark Eastwood on the fight back from a comparatively average start. Easto was second by the end of the first lap, but Noble was long gone by then. Rocket Reynolds made his way past Hill and showed signs of going after Eastwood as Rose started to push Hill with Lewis Tombs in close attendance. Rose would drop back after an incident with five minutes left, however, leaving Tombs to take the fight to Hill - the U Tag Yamaha rider would make it past Hill’s Service Honda CR500 as Rose recovered to lead Blackwell and Clark over the line.

Four weeks from now the series reconvenes at the excellent Canada Heights for an intense doubleheader weekend of motocross: two strokes and women’s championship on Saturday, and the Red Bull Pro Nationals on Sunday. If you’re a fan of the sport, there’ll be no finer place to be.
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