Another Step closer for GB Racers! IMBA European Motocross Championship, Belgium – Report
Following yet more superb performances and podium places, Luke Burton (MX1) and Ray Rowson(MX2) now definitely have one hand on their respective IMBA European Championship titles.
Report and Image by Mike Wood
In the penultimate round of the MX1 chase held last Sunday in Huldenberg, Belgium, Burton aboard the FUS FRO CPS Husqvarna took the overall win with a brilliant 1/1/2 scorecard. Also producing a super performance in Belgium was Ed Briscoe with a big 5th overall placing. Over in MX2, the GB lads made the very long journey to Recoaro in Italy where Ray Rowson on the Apex Geartec KTM took 2nd overall after going 1/2/2. Also on the box again was Lewis King, blasting the TMC Kawasaki to a hat-trick of third placings.
So looking first at the MX1 action from Huldenberg and the day did not start too well for the very unlucky British rider Scott Bates who dislocated his shoulder during timed qualifying. In moto one, Luke Burton produced a class ride to lead from gate to flag chased home by home favourite and his closest title rival Frederic Weigert. Ensuring that the Union Jack would be flying high and proud, Ed Briscoe also started strongly by gating in 3rd and eventually getting home in 5th. After unfortunately blowing the engine of his number one Honda during the previous weeks IMBA round in Germany, Andrew Smart on the spare bike still started the day well with a 8th place finish whilst Joshua Scott was 22nd.
Moto two and it was Weigert grabbing the holeshot to lead Burton for the opening three laps. There was no stopping the GB star though as he glided through before clearing off and thus comfortably win the contest by over 16 seconds. Once again Smart on that spare machine was going strongly early on and holding 6th before another blown engine signalled a premature conclusion to his event. On the tight, technical and dusty Belgium circuit, passing was to prove to be extremely difficult as Briscoe quickly discovered. Gating 10th and working overtime, Ed had to settle for 8th at the flag in this one while Scott had his best finish of the day in 16th.
In the final clash, Weigert again led the way with Burton hot on his tail. With the FUS man rapidly closing in, his progress was then halted by a fall, dropping down to 3rd in the process. Undeterred, Luke was quickly back on the gas, passing Belgian Jonas Salaets to slot back into 2nd on lap five. Charging hard, Luke was reeling Weigert back in but ran out of time, still claiming though 54 more vital Championship points in his title quest. Producing another impressive effort, Briscoe finished with a 5th place and Scott took 20th. So with just one more round to come in the axle deep sand of Meijel in Holland on September 17th, Burton now holds a 63 point advantage ahead of Weigert. With Swiss rider Daniel Huser cut well adrift in 3rd, it’s definitely a two way shoot-out for glory but will it be either Burton or Weigert lifting the crown?
Also having to overcome back to back rounds, the AMCA MX2 Team Great Britain lads were competing this week in Recoaro, Italy. And in the soaring temperatures, the Brits were to produce another red-hot performance with a super showing in moto one. Getting off to a flyer, series leader Ray Rowson controlled proceedings from start to finish. For the opening five laps, Lewis King held 2nd before eventually being overhauled by Italian favourite Riccardo Vitaliani. With King finally getting home in 3rd, Josh Waterman took 5th and Bradley Tranter 7th.
The Brits were on it again in moto two as King held an early 2nd spot with Rowson 3rd, Waterman 5th and Tranter 6th. Unfortunately Tranter was then drop out of the reckonings after encountering terminal back brake problems on his Husqvarna machine. Up front it was Vitaliani all the way with Rowson eventually moving past King to thus take 2nd. Not enjoying the most memorable of meetings, Waterman took 7thin this one.
With Tranter unable to start the last moto due to his mechanical gremlins, Vitaliani controlled from start to finish as Rowson held 2nd spot throughout. After gating in 5th, King fought hard to pass Dutch duo Joshua van der Linden and Jacky Tausch to thus take another strong 3rdplacing. For Waterman who had led the IMBA series just two rounds earlier, Italy proved to be total frustration! Struggling with an engine that was not producing maximum power and performance, he was forced to cruise around, well downfield in this final moto. Finishing in 16th place, it was more crucial IMBA Championship points lost as Rowson now leads the series by 85 points. The final and deciding MX2 round is at Kelinhau in Germany on September 24th and mathematically Waterman in 2nd, Joshua van der Linden and Riccardo Vitaliani could all still beat Rowson to the crown, it’s going to be a tense affair!