BSMA Bridgestone Nationals MX finale -Preview
After rescheduling the earlier venues due to a few concerns over the suitability of the revamped Brookthorpe track its been put on as the final round for the BSMA Bridgestone national series.
Report and Images by Ady Cowshall
The former circuit was extremley high speed and usually produced some spectacular racing and crashes! Now with the addition of bigger jumps and mixed in a large quantity of woodchip the dynamics of this popular circuit have changed quite considerably. Theres even more changes to the layout and the once horendusly deep woodchip has now been reduced and worked into the soil making a multi lined circuit where the riders have to take some thought about the best way around. Its no longer a throttle jockeys playground but now lends itself to a rider that can think about hitting big braking bumps and turning those to his/her advantage, looking at a corner with 6 long ruts and picking a completly different approach and squaring that corner off to make a pass, while those that follow the rider in front will suffer from being overtaken by the pilot that has the vision to fly past on a smooth runway!
With a lot of points up for grabs there is no one class that has a pre determined champion! 225 points from 5 races availabe means in some classes up to 10 riders could still be in with an outside chance of taking glory on the stage at the Dirt Bike show for the award ceremonies. The auto class has been dominated of late by Freddie Gardiner who has taken the last 11 straight wins from his rivals. But he didn’t have the early going quite so easy as Ben Casey and Harlow Green have been consistanly scroing inside the top 5 to stay within striking distance for the final round, Casey only 42 points adrift and Green only a further 33 down on Casey. Ollie Bubb still has a roll to play as a long shot for a podium, nearly 100 points down on the leading trio but with ever improving results he’ll be looking to at least get onto the podium for the final encounter.
The 65cc juniors have a revelation in that its not an Austrian powered machine out front. Kawasaki haveproduced a machine that has proven mechanically reliable and fast enough to break the dominance of the orange and white bikes. Ben Mustoe is that rider powering his way to what looks like victory in this class much to the delight of his mentor Lee Dunham, himself a very successful competitor in his time aboard the green brand. Mustoe’s only losses came from Louie Vincent, Shaun Mahoney and Freddie Bartlett, but his amassed 98 point advantage over Joey Benfield looks set to claim him and Kawasaki a huge victory. Bartlett’s departure from the country to go to Sweden looks set to give a chance to either Levi Davies or Harvey Jackson to claim the final position on the podium. But as we all know anything can happen so untill that final flag drops it could be a shake up that noones expecting.
Small wheel 85’s is realistically a 2 horse race between early points series leader Jak Taylor and the on form Ethan Sills. Sills has the upper hand in both the points and the latest form, but Taylor is hot off a very good ride at the ‘All British’ and wont go out without a fight. There will also be competition from Joe Brookes and Kyle Ingram and Tyler Smith who have all upped there game as the season has unfolded. Will Sills hold his nerve, can Taylor claw back the points and will Brookes play a part in splitting the two? In turn watch out for newly mounted Sonny Shipton trying to find a machine to gell with now 4 stroke mounted and hoping to brake the top 5!
Untill the last round it looked like a ‘perfect’ season was lining up for
Big wheeled 85 rider James Hanscomb, the smallest of the Bridgestone backed riders, Hanscomb has dominated from the first race but at Warmington lane a number of spills left him losing that impeccable record and giving renewed hope to the rest of the field.In reality Hanscomb bounced back with another race win and a huge points advantage which looks pretty certain of the crown. The real battle in this class is for the remaining steps on the podium. Only 11 points seperate the next 3 riders and only 2 of those will get their feet on those steps. Thomas Casbeard being the most consistent at the last round pulled himself up to be the 4th of those riders, Ben Watkins the only rider to have taken a victory from Hanscomb lies second in the point and Billy Duke has the potential to take it to Hanscomb if he can stay upright.
If current form is anything to go by Callum Beeken will wrap up his second Bridgestone title in as many years, Beeken took the bw class in 2016 and heads the 125 senior charge by around 50 points from his closest rival, Owen Woodhouse who in turn has himself a comfortable gap over Ryan Manly in 3rd. Manly will have his hands full holding onto that final step with only a small advantage over Joeseph Davies.
The open seniors has been all over the place with the initial swing going to Brooklyn Evans but by half way though the season that had all changed with Evans hitting the ground hard resulting in an early exit from the series and handed the lead over to last years series winner Ieuan Harris. But Harris has had stiff competition from all quarters with John McKenzie and Corey Coombs both taking wins and Jayden Murphy and an ever improving Tommi Davies all getting in the mix. Any of these riders has the potential to really shake things up in what is possibly the least decided class of the whole series.
With the adult classes proving some superb race action the final round on the 2/3 September at Brookthorpe be sure to get your entries in early, wildcard entries open on the 28th August (call Tracey on 07436563264) so if you think you can mix it up with the Bridgestone elite or just want to come and watch the action make it a date for your diary. The sun has been booked the track has been prepped and the racing will be electric!