Paul Holmes made an incredible comeback in the season's opening race, winning from last place and going on to take a comfortable win in race two, making him the man to beat in this year's ACU British Quadcross Championship. Staged at the demanding sand circuit of Mepal Moto Park and organised by West Devon MMC, the crowds gathered as 33 riders took to the line to battle it out over four separate race classes.
Carl Bunce was on the pace...
Carl Bunce was on the pace and looking good for the start of the season
Held in conjunction with the British Sidecar Championship on a day of sunshine and hail, the track demanded the most out of riders both physically and mentally. Sand expert Holmes onboard his Holmes Racing Yamaha was just ahead of the inform David Wray riding his McQuaid Personal Training Honda with a difference of 0.13 seconds. Oli Samson rounded up the top three in third, showing improved pace since competing in the USA.
Paul Holmes off defined race...
Paul Holmes off defined race one
Before racing commenced, a minute's silence was held in remembrance of the much loved Cumbrian rider Mark Watson. Mark's father and his best friend John Pattinson had travelled to support under 21 contender Conner Smith.
With just five seconds separating the top 10 riders the competition was going to be tight as the flag dropped for the first of two 25 minute plus two lap races. Wray was fastest out of the gates, taking the holeshot and displaying blistering pace with the fastest lap as he pulled away from front runners Justin Reid, Oli Samson and Carl Bunce on his Arrow Self Drive Suzuki. Just a few seconds after the start Holmes crashed with Scott Sinclair, sending both quads into the air and leaving both riders on the track through a busy first corner.
David Wray took the fastest...
David Wray took the fastest lap in race one
"After I untangled my bike, the clutch lever had bent round which caused me to then stall in lap three but I pushed and rode hard until the last lap when I caught up to Wray and was able to make the pass with six corners to go." Explained Holmes after he passed his way through every rider to take an impressive first race win. Wray, who had established a good lead and was looking set to take his first British QX victory, had to settle for second with Bunce having passed the battling Reid and Samson taking third.
Holmes took the holeshot in race two and was almost overtaken by the chasing Bunce, with George Calloway and Reid behind him. Holmes built up a 10 second lead and rode smooth through the deep sand all the way to the finish, taking fastest lap in the process. Bunce was riding well in second; "Paul and I had built a gap from the rest of the field and I stayed the same for the rest of the race to take second." It was also another solid performance from Wray who finished third and that's also how it finished overall.
Holmes takes maximum points...
Holmes takes maximum points going into round two
In the Quad Under 21 class, George Calloway rode well with a ninth and fifth place finish overall, taking first in the class. Sheldan Seal and Conner Smith were also picking up valuable points, finishing second and third respectively. Smith had a difficult first race but showed character in race two with a charge to the finish which ensured him a place on the podium. Lindsey Duke bagged maximum points in the Quad Masters with Anthony Barrett taking second place but level on points with Clint Eagle. Anthony Canavan took first place and a strong lead in the Clubman Championship.
Round two will take place at Asham Woods near Frome on the 4th June, organised by Frome MCC. It is sure to be another superb day of quad racing action. For more details please visit www.acuquadracing.co.uk
British Championship: 1 Paul Holmes (Yamaha) 40 + 40 =80, 2 Carl Bunce (Suzuki) 35 + 37 =72, 3 David Wray (Honda) 37 + 35 =72, 4 Justin Reid (Can Am) 33 + 33 =66, 5 Oli Samson (Yamaha) 28 + 31=59, George Callaway (Yamaha) 31 + 28 =59
British U21 Championship:
Reid, Samson and Bunce Battle...
Reid, Samson and Bunce Battle it out in Race One
1 George Callaway (Yamaha) 40 + 37 =77, 2 Sheldon Seal (KTM) 35 + 40=75, 3 Conner Smith (KTM) 29 + 35 =64, 4 Dean Colhoun (Can Am) 31 + 31 =62, 5 Leon Rogers (Kawasaki) 33 + 29 =62, 6 Tom Claireaux (Honda) 26 + 33 =59
British Masters Championship: 1 Lindsey Duke (KTM) 40 + 40 =80, 2 Anthony Barrett (Suzuki) 35 + 37 =72, 3 Clint Eagle (KTM) 37 + 35 =72, 4 Chris Murphy (Suzuki) 33 + 33 =66, 5 Martin Sayer (Suzuki) 29 + 31 =60, 6 Simon Walton (Honda) 31 + 27 =58
British Clubman Championship: 1 Anthony Canavan (Honda) 37 + 40 =77, 2 Michael McCullagh 40 + 0 =40, 3 Jonny Harper (Suzuki) 0 + 37=37