Cusses Gorse is a fast, flowing, jump-infested circuit, but the racing line is very narrow, and the talk in the paddock was how to stay on line and clear everything, as the supercross-type layout offers big advantages to those riders brave enough to clear the huge jumps and triples.
The atmosphere was electric with the sound of those bikes echoing up the hill before moto one whilst the fastest 125 racers in the country lined up. Dave Willett wheelied, catching plenty of traction out of the gate, as Lloyd Taylor took the holeshot award with Jake Page right there. Jack Brunell dived into third with Willet eighth, but he was three and even four wide with riders on the first lap trying to make up ground. Jim Davies was passing at will as his TM nailed the triple with ease, and Sean Stevens had Darren Redman for company, the two ex-British Schoolboy Championship riders mixing it again after a 15-year lay-off! Brunell was on rails, the supercross-style track just begging him to perform - he was three seconds in front after just two laps, which is unheard of in this 125 class. Willet was into third and right on Taylor as Page succumbed to the pace, whilst Redman launched his YZ over the triple and just held it wide open to rail the outside berm at a ridiculous speed, passing Stevens with a move no one else had used. The Essex lad used it the very next lap when he passed Lloyd Morgan and Page in one impressive move. Behind these guys, chaos ruled as bikes clashed all over the circuit, with the trio of Jason Wells, Bradley Howlett and Luke Heaver especially good to watch, swapping paint at every chance before Heaver slid out mid-race. Willet went down trying to make a pass when the front tucked on the loose stuff but he remounted and only lost a few places, as Davies had the TM ripping in pursuit of Taylor - the pair must have banged bars as Taylor went missing, Redman had clawed his way onto third behind Willet and these two locked horns with Redman looking like he could make the pass but they were so even that an attempted move put him in that horrible loose stuff and he ran wide, smashing his radiator off in a cloud of steam. As Willet carried on charging, Stevens continued his speedy ride to pass Page and Morgan as they were all joined by John Butler, Lee Wren and Danny Tollet. An unlucky Wren got caught up in a big crash on the big tabletop which claimed several riders. Mildenhall Junior winner Luke Dean must have had terrible luck as he was stuck in the pack, battling with a rapid-looking Charles Statt, but up front Brunell took a well deserved win with a commanding lead from Willett with Davies holding third.
Race 2 A 125
Chaos reigned as first-corner carnage claimed over 15 riders including Page, Davies, Brunell, Willet and Ranton. As the leaders came back into view, it was Redman out front with a borrowed radiator from those nice guys at TeeBee Racing. Stevens took second from a fast-starting Rowan Hill with Chris Povey, Tim Heasman, Howlett, and Charles Statt holding seventh, but as they started their second lap Brunell was up on the pegs and passing where passes had not been made, just jumping his way through the field. On the top-ten bubble was Morgan, Peedle and Nick Banks, but Willet was wide open and showing the YZ no mercy, the iron man finding lines no one had even thought about. Out front, Redman looked like he was walking away with it, but Brunell was now into third place, all over Stevens and all the time keeping an eye on the leader. Midpack battles included a race long duel with Terry Lloyd, Tom Johnson, Alex Davies and Mark Haigh, swapping positions for the entire moto - if they had settled and stopped blocking each other they surely would have moved forward! Nick Banks held off Kev Green and Ashley Crossley who pulled some fantastic whips on the uphill step, entertaining the crowd. Up front Brunell passed Stevens only to get re-passed as the Honda man was having none of it, but Brunell just blasted into second and nailed a couple of super quick laps to break the tow and close the big gap to Redman. Redman was super smooth but Brunell was faster and with a lap or so to go the unthinkable happened, Brunell passing for the lead as Redman dropped in to watch the youngster‘s lines. Willet busted a few quick laps at the end to nail third whilst Davies worked hard to get back to fifth place after that last place start.
Lloyd Morgan had a clear holeshot with Davies slotting the TM into second, the pack cresting the hill with Willet dropping into third. Stevens had again got out of the gate with Brunell and Luke Kennett all over him whilst Redman suffered a terrible start and was getting knocked all over the place as he tasted a little midpack mayhem. Willet spied an approaching Brunell and pushed hard to get away but Davies’s TM just pulled gaps on the straights as this track was now a very narrow race line, Davies blasted into the lead as Willet was trying to pass Morgan, Brunell closed in on them and simply squared a corner, nailing the big uphill step from the inside and passing Willet and Morgan in one go. Green, Crossley and Banks were again all elbows and it was Banks’s #609 KTM that got nudged off the track, loosing a few places before re-joining. Statt put in a great ride amongst Howlett, Tomkins and Heasman, fast starting Highway Oliver was enjoying himself inside the top ten as he showed the kids a thing or two as did Danny Tollett. Brunell passed Davies for the lead as Morgan was still holding off Willet, the pair closing on Davies, whilst Kennett was now fifth and holding off a super quick Redman, who had Stevens, Oliver and Tollett with him whilst they all tried to break away from Leium Morgan, Tommy Bidder, Ady Peedle and Stevie Gesner battle - at one point fifth down to seventeenth place were separated by just five seconds. Late in the moto Willet moved into second place and just kept nailing lap after lap but it was too late as Brunell had cleared off, and Davies rode the wheels off that TM to hold off a charging Redman at the flag.
Race 1 A Open
There’s a tried-and-trusted saying from the other side of the pond - in the USA they say that ‘there’s no replacement for displacement’. It’s so true as blasting out of the gate the two 500s of Luke Hill and Greg Hanson just plain hauled - the sound alone was worth the entrance fee. Hill was on fire as he held off former British Champion Hanson. Eastwood soon joined in the mix, but suddenly Hanson was out with a tire puncture, Willet was soon pestering Easty and forcing him to make the move on Hill who was enjoying the BHP effect up those triples. Willet passed Hill in the tight stuff and set about Easty as the pair set a blistering pace but couldn’t drop Hill by much, although Hill soon had company in the shape of Lewis Tombs and Trickett, plus Marc Dean. Willet hounded the leader and made the pass to run away for the win as Easty took second and Hill steered the big 500 to a fine third, Marc Dean having blown away the rest with his charge through the field.
Eastwood took a five-yard lead before they were even halfway up the start straight, but Hanson had that 500 hooked up and wheelied past, dropping the front right on the inside of the first corner, Hill too passed Easty as Tombs was fighting Willet for top Yamaha honors, although Willet was using far less of the track than young Tombsy! Hill jumped past Hanson on the big triple but couldn’t hold the inside and Hanson took the lead back, Eastwood had dropped back behind Tombs and Willet who were having to eat some painful roost from the 500 of Hill. The top 6 were at warp speed and for a few laps and the pace was unbelievable, Tombs was first to suffer as Willet and Eastwood drove past with the Yamaha man trying everything he knew to pass Hills’ 500, but ever move was countered with a hefty dose of throttle which blasted Hill back past again. Willet conjured up some lines to pass the 500s for the lead and Easty followed suit but could not catch the leader and settled for second place, with Hanson took third and Hill fourth.
Race 3 A Open
Once again it was a Service Honda CR500 taking the holeshot, this time Hill wanted to run away for the win as his pace on the opening laps was scorching. Eastwood had to battle with Nathan Rooks who fired his KTM into the first corner followed by three more KTMs. Willet had a poor start and was trying to pass Adam Reynolds just on the top ten bubble, while Lewis Rose was struggling with the early pace, Tombs was right at the back so he must have been down on the opening lap. Willet went into hyperdrive as he forced his way to the frontrunners, making some classic passes enroute in this, his sixth moto of the day! Eastwood played a great hand as he allowed Hill to make the pace until he was tiring, quick as a flash Easty was underneath Hill on the tight right hairpin and just took off for the win, whilst Willet somehow got back to second place and Hill settled for third at the flag.
A big “Get Well Soon” to 125 series #1 and current Champion, TM’s Jon Pettit, who suffered some nasty injuries during some pre-season races. Come back soon Jon, we’re all missing you!