Nora Round 7 & ACU British Round 4
Callaway calms Cusses to take first British Overall Win
George Callaway took his first ever overall British Championship victory at a sun drenched and perfectly prepared Cusses Gorse in Wiltshire on Sunday and in doing so hauled himself up to third in the points table.
Yamaha-mounted Callaway was in his element on the fast, wide, hard pack Cusses track opening his account with a fourth in the opening 25-minute race, a fine win in race two, then rounding it off with runner-up spot in the last race.
Meanwhile defending British Champion Paul Holmes ended up in sixth overall, his worst result for two years, yet actually extended his points lead in the series from seven to 33!
Holmes’ relatively lowly finish came after he and Mark McLernon were involved in a collision in the third race. As a result of the incident, and the rider’s subsequent behaviour, the Clerk of the Course excluded Holmes from the third race and excluded McLernon from the meeting.
In qualifying it was teenager Harry Walker who set the pace with the fastest lap of 1 min 42.2 s, with 0.34 seconds separating the top three riders. Callaway in turn was down in 10th spot, a two whole seconds off pole.
In race one fast starting Dafydd Davies took the holeshot, followed in by Ireland’s Leon Rogers. Rogers soon took the lead and set the early pace, before disaster for him on lap two as a mechanical issue forced him out of the race.
Davies took up the mantle and led until lap seven, when McLernon and Holmes surged forward to commence their battle. McLernon held on to the flag to take the win (which he was to later lose) half a second ahead of Holmes. Walker came through strongly to take third from Davies.
Race two saw a determined Rogers blast off the line for the holeshot, this time with Callaway and Wildcard, George Day, giving chase. Some quality fast racing between the trio ensued until on lap seven Dutch Wildcard Joe Maessen joined the battle.
Eventually Maessen, usually more a sand man than a hard pack specialist, overcame Rogers for second place, with Callaway pulling away to grab the win by five seconds.
On to the final race of the day and all to play for, with McLernon (at that time) two points up on Callaway and Holmes a further four points back. However, it was Rogers off the line the quickest again and setting the pace ahead of early contenders Murray Graham and Tom Day.
Graham and Day kept with Rogers for five laps before McLernon and Holmes came through the pack to join Rogers at the front. With three minutes left on the clock it was still Rogers at the helm, and then McLernon made his move, closely followed by Holmes.
The race looked to be heading for a battle between the pair before the aforementioned collision put them both out of contention. Rogers took full advantage, taking the race win, with Callaway second and Maessen third.
Rogers, winner of the opening round of the Championship but who had a disaster at round two, is now back up to second in the series,
The meeting also saw a full programme of NORA MX Championship classes,
In to the 100cc open class the total domination by Jago Jackson continued, as he made it 15 wins out of 15. The only sharing he did this week was in holeshots, as he took one, as did Connor Yates and Rory Wood. Frank Morgan took the 100cc Auto class and Morgan Humphreys the 50 cc class.
Jack Young shone in the 250cc class with three straight wins, and perhaps more importantly, he pulled a 17-point gap in the Championship over Robbie Wood. Alfie Walker got his best result of the year in 2nd (4, 2, 3) and Robbie Wood was 3rd (5, 3, 2). Luke Berlyn had problems in the last race, ruling him out of contention.
In the Masters classes it was normal service for the two "maximum men" of Ed Davies (Masters "A") and Geoff Otway (Masters "B") with three wins each. Jonathan McKnight was the best of the rest (2,2,2), but could not match Davies's pace in the A's on the day, with Davies's smallest winning margin nearly 29 seconds. A credible 2nd place in the B's went to Pete Bates (4, 2, 2).
Ayrton Knowles was jumping high and long in the Clubman Elite Class. Three holeshots for him, and so nearly three race wins (1,1,2), until Zak Orchard showed his Championship pedigree with a last lap overtake of Knowles, to improve his scorecard (2,2,1). Orchard currently leads Knowles in the Championship by 20 points. In the Clubman sub class, Axle Bone took the win (1, 1, 2) over Sonney Ward (2, 2,3)
The Novice class saw a new winner for the day in Myles Mott, with three race wins. The Championship leader, Ryan Hickman fought back from a 11th in race two, but just missed the podium.
The British Championship now moves onto Dean Moor on the 5th of August, with NORA’s next event at West Meon on the 9th of September, after the summer break!
Cromwell Trucks British Championship:
1 George Callaway (Yamaha) 65 points, 2 Joe Maessen (Yamaha) 53, 3 Dafydd Davies (KTM) 48, 4 Sheldon Seal (YFZ Husky), 5 Leon Rogers (WSP Husky) 45, 6 Paul Holmes (Yamaha) 41.
Race one: 1 Holmes, 2 Harry Walker (Yamaha), 3 Davies, 4 Callaway, 5 George Day (Suzuki), 6 Emma McQuaid (Honda).
Race two: 1 Callaway, 2 Maessen, 3 Rogers, 4 Day, 5 Holmes, 6 Seal.
Race three: 1 Rogers, 2 Callaway, 3 Maessen, 4 Seal, 5 Tom Day (Suzuki), 6 James Bevan (Yamaha).
Championship points: Holmes 173, Rogers 140, Callaway 131, McLernon 125, Davies 119, Walker 117.
Under 21 Overall: 1 Dafydd Davies (2,1,3), 2 Tom Day (4,4,1), 3rd Dean Dillion (Honda) (6,2,4).
NORA MX Championship:
Masters "A": 1st Ed Davies (1, 1, 1), 2nd Jonathan McKnight (2, 2, 2), 3rd Greg Fisher (3, 3, 3)
Masters "B": 1st Geoff Otway (1, 1, 1), 2nd Pete Bates (4, 4, 2), 3rd Richard Clark (5, 3, 3)
Novice: 1st Myles Mott (1, 1, 1), 2nd William Dunlop (3, 2, 2), 3rd Georgia Lent (4, 4, 4).
Clubman / Elite overall: 1st Ayrton Knowles (1,1,3), 2nd Zak Orchard (2,2,1), 3rd Gary Atkinson (3,3,3)
250cc overall: 1st Jack Young (1,1,1), 2nd Alfie Walker (4,2,3) 3rd Robbie Wood (5,3,2).
100cc overall: Jago Jackson (1,1,1), 2nd Rory Wood (2,2,2), 3rd Connor Yates (3,3,6).
100cc Auto: Frank Morgan & Morgan Humphreys the 50cc class.