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Magic Mewse matches Herlings at British MX Championship opener

Magic Mewse matches Herlings at British MX Championship opener

Crendon Tru7 Honda rider Conrad Mewse shared the spoils with five-times world champ Jeffrey Herlings as both riders scored a race win and a second place each in the opening ACU British championship round at Lyng on Sunday.

Reigning British champ Mewse had the crowd running from one side of the track to the other to see the thrilling battle in the opener. The 25-year-old blasted his CRF450R into the lead in the first corner but Herlings was behind him for the whole race. It came down to a last lap dash to the line and the Brit held on to take a historic win by 0.7secs from Herlings. The pace was so quick, the leading duo finished 1min 46secs in front of third place and lapped up to seventh place.

Second time out the roles were reversed as Herlings led from the start with Mewse behind. In the tough, wet conditions that saw many riders not make it to the finish, Mewse couldn’t get close enough to make a challenge but came home second, almost a minute clear of third place.

With Dutchman Herlings winning the deciding second race, he was awarded the overall victory despite being level on points with Honda man Mewse. But as Herlings isn’t contesting any more rounds, it leaves Mewse in a strong position in the series.

Mewse said: “It was a really good day in the championship for me with 1-2 finishes. I got a really good start in the first one and managed to hold Herlings off for the whole race. On the last lap I heard him coming but I was trying so hard to keep my cool and focus on my riding as I knew the only way he could pass me was if I made a mistake. And the track was tough and so difficult to pass on.

“In the second race I got an even better start but I got excited and sat up a bit early, and the bike wheelied a bit. All my fault really. But second to Jeffrey is a great way to start the series.”

It wasn’t such a good day for his Crendon Tru7 Honda MX1 team-mate Callum Green who had a technical issue on the first lap of the opener which forced him out. In the second race he was running just outside the top ten when the mechanical gremlins hit again. But with so many riders not making it to the finish in the gruelling conditions, he still took three championship points.

Green said: “At least I did better in qualifying! In race one, I didn’t get a great start and had a bike issue on the opening lap so that was not ideal. Then in race two I had a decent start but fell. I was 12th but the bike wasn’t right so I pulled out.”

In the MX2 class, it was a day of mixed results for Jake Nicholls and Taylor Hammal. The day started so well for Nicholls who was fastest for most of qualifying until he was demoted to fourth right at the end of the session.

Knowing he had the speed to run at the front, Nicholls got a decent start and as many riders had issues, he capitalised and moved forward. With two laps to go he held a stunning second place that had his army of local fans urging him on all around the circuit. But he couldn’t hold off the challenge of eventual overall winner, Dutchman Cas Valk who got by. Then he lost third place on the penultimate corner to former champ Tommy Searle.

Hammal had not made a great start but put on a charge through the pack. He came around in 18th on the first lap then a determined ride saw him reach seventh at the flag.

In the second race, Nicholls was inside the top ten and pushing hard when his bike stopped with a technical problem. Then Hammal, who had come through from tenth on the opening lap to sixth, also had issues in the deep mire as a sprocket issue meant his chain came off on the last lap. He was credited with a disappointing 13th place which gave him eighth overall on the day.

Nicholls said: “The day was pretty good for me. I was fourth in qualifying which I was pleased with, then the rain came in and made it a lottery.

“In the first race, I had an average first lap but I rode a strong race. I was trying to preserve the bike then all of a sudden Tommy managed to creep up on me, I made a poor line choice and he got me. I was upset and it took the edge off a good race, but it was still a decent result.

“In the second one I was up at the sharp end but it was hard to pass. Then the engine decided it had had enough which was a shame. But overall, I had a positive day and we’ll get stronger from here.”

Hammal said: “I have to work on my starts as they’re not good enough. I feel good on the bike so if I can get away with the leaders I’ll be in the mix. The track today was really hard to pass on so my starts were a problem. In race two I got stuck behind a rider then the chain came off.”

Team principal Dave Thorpe said: “You couldn’t ask any more from Conrad, he was very impressive and I’m over the moon.

“In that first race he had Jeffrey right behind him but he didn’t crumble and kept to his lines. I couldn’t fault him at all. Then in the second race he used his head as this is an important championship for us.

“The first MX2 race was fantastic, too, with some great riding. It was so disappointing for Jake and Taylor in their second race as we had a few issues but we’ll get it all right for the next round at Canada Heights.”

ACU British championship MX1 round one overall and championship positions

1 Jeffrey Herlings 47
2 Conrad Mewse Crendon Tru7 Honda 47
3 Josh Gilbert 38
4 Jason Meara 35
5 Brad Todd 34
6 Martin Barr 30
7 Sam Nunn 28
8 Carlton Husband 25
9 Tristan Purdon 20
10 Dan Thornhill 20
21 Callum Green Crendon Tru7 Honda 3

MX2 round one overall and championship positions
1 Cas Valk 47
2 Jack Chambers 45
3 Tommy Searle 38
4 Joel Rizzi 37
5 Dylan Walsh 31
6 Alfie Jones 25
7 Ben Mustoe 23
8 Taylor Hammal Crendon Tru7 Honda 22
9 Jamie Wainwright 21
10 Ollie Colmer 18
11 Jake Nicholls Crendon Tru7 Honda 18

Words and Images by Crendon Tru7 Honda