The QRA UK team rocked up in Margate at the start of last week to turn the main beach in to a challenging Motocross track where riders from across Europe could do battle at the start of the MCF British Beachcross Championship for 2016.
Riders arrived on Friday ahead of round one of the series on Saturday to find a perfectly sculpted track made using machines courtesy of Ovendon Plant.
Multi times Solo Champion Arnaud Degousee was due to make an attempt to reclaim his title but a training crash in France on Friday ruled him out for the weekend leaving KTM mounted Richard McKeown to defend his title from some extremely rapid UK riders in the form of Wooldridge Hondas Matt Bayliss and Freestyle Husqvarna rider Mitchell Lewis.
The three showed their pace during qualifying with Lewis coming out on top with Bayliss and McKeown not far behind with Steve Bixby, Jamie Wilson and Ryan Matthews filling the next three spots with half a second between them setting up the day for some extremely close racing. Bayliss got the holeshot in Moto one but had the super quick Lewis hot on his heels with McKeown holding a watching brief in third. Lewis made a mistake on lap four allowing McKeown through and giving himself a seven second gap to claw back.
The smooth style of McKeown saw him closing the gap to Bayliss but crossed the line just 1 second adrift with Lewis losing more ground but claiming third ahead of local rider Matthews. Lewis got away at the front of Moto 2 but a fall dropped him down the order allowing Bayliss and Mckeown to once again battle for the lead, Lewis got back to third before retiring on lap seven allowing Matthews to claim third ahead of Frenchman Duyme Theo. Bayliss got away fast in Moto three ahead of McKeown and Lewis was down in fifth after the first lap.
McKeown was on a mission and soon reeled Bayliss in to make a move for the lead on lap three but he couldn’t break away and Bayliss was back in front by the following lap whilst Lewis was forging his way through the field. There was never much more than a second between the two leaders and McKeown once again made a move for the lead with three laps to go crossing the line two and half seconds ahead with Lewis 50 seconds further back after more issues in the race.
Round two on Sunday saw the beached bathed in early morning sunshine with the temperatures finally getting above freezing and the locals came out to watch the proceedings lining the promenade railings three deep at times.
After day one Bayliss started the event with a slender 3 point advantage over McKeown who had made the trip home to Skegness overnight. Moto one saw Lewis finally put his speed to good use and head the field straight from the go. Bayliss was running second until losing out once again to the smooth style of McKeown taking advantage of the rough sand. McKeown kept Lewis honest all race and setting the fastest race lap on the final lap of the race crossed the line just two seconds adrift with Bayliss third and Matthews once again claiming fourth.
Moto two was the race of the weekend with the three going head to head with Bayliss taking the initial advantage from Lewis and McKeown. The three set a blistering pace and lapped the complete field by the end of lap 10. McKewon once again got the better of Bayliss on lap eight after trading places with Lewis throughout the Moto but it wasn’t all over as having also dealt with Bayliss, Lewis made a move for the victory on the final lap.
McKeown now went in to the final Moto with a 1 point lead over Bayliss so the battle would be on for honours. Lewis got the holeshot and was never headed on his way to the race win but Bayliss and McKewon were locked in combat behind with the two swapping places throughout the Moto. Bayliss finally managed to break away to cross the line a comfortable second with Mckeown third ahead of Matthews.
The weekend overall and championship lead was in the hands of Matt Bayliss just a single point clear of McKeown and Matthews in third, Lewis suffering from his one moto dnf finished in sixth.
Round one for the Quad class on Saturday was looking as if it would be as close as ever with less than point three of a second covering the top four riders with reigning champion Carl Bunce leading the way ahead of Jamie Clarke, Harry Walker and Oli Sansom with Bailey Edwards just a further half second behind.
Bunce took the holeshot ahead of Edwards in Moto one, the same position as they crossed the line but the racing was far from over right up to the finish line Mark McLernon held third early on and was trading the position with Clarke until a mistake on lap eight dropped him down the order allowing Sansom to take over fourth having come through form a lap one ninth place.
Ant Barrett had a good race to take fifth ahead of Walker who hadn’t got the start he was after. Bunce once again got away at the front and this time gradually extended his lead to take a comfortable victory whilst the rest of the field did battle on the ever cutting up track behind him. Clarke initially held second until succumbing to the pressure from Edwards on lap four.
Edwards pulled out a healthy gap until making a fateful mistake with one lap to go dropping him to sixth whilst Clarke held off Sansom for second and third respectively. Walker had a better start and took fourth ahead of Barrett. Bunce once again showed why he is the current sand champion and took his third unchallenged race win of the day.
Once again the battle raged behind him with Edwards initially running second ahead of Clarke and McLernon. McLernon moved ahead of Clarke on lap two and then up to second ahead of Edwards on lap five only to lose out to the pair on the next lap with Edwards claiming second ahead of Clarke, McLernon and Sansom.
Bunce started round two with maximum points on the board ahead of Clarke and Edwards. Moto one again saw Bunce take the early lead and prove that he wasn’t going to give up his title easily, this time Edwards made no mistakes and ran in second place throughout the ten lap Moto. Clarke was third but McLernon was carving through the field after a slow start eventually taking over from Clarke on lap seven.
Sansom also suffered from a bad start but came through to claim fifth ahead of Jamie Morgan. Bunce once again got away from the start in first but this time Edwards, who started down in fifth took the lead away from Bunce for the first time all weekend on lap four. Bunce was in no mood to be beaten however and kept the pressure on Edwards and retook the race lead with four laps to go to claim win number five of the weekend.
Edwards took second with Sansom moving through to third ahead of Clarke and McLernon. Bunce wasn’t letting anybody past in the final Pro Quad Moto going on to take a weekend maximum and championship lead whilst Clarke, after pushing Bunce early on, slipped back behind Edwards and eventually McLernon finishing in fourth ahead of Sansom and Barrett.
The weekend overall and championship lead went to Bunce with a maximum points haul ahead of Edwards in second and Clarke claiming third.
The 2016 series is due to run over a total of eight rounds with the next two taking place at Bournemouth as part of the wheels festival on June 4th and 5th.
British Solo Beachcross Championship
Round 1 Overall
- 4, Matt Bayliss, Honda, 60+60+57=177
- 1, Richard McKeown, KTM, 57+57+60=174
- 41, Ryan Matthews, Suzuki, 53+55+53=161
- 97, Duyme Theo, Yamaha, 50+53+51=154
- 30, Timmy Andrews, KTM, 51+51+50=152
Round 2 Overall
- 7, Mitchell Lewis, Husqvarna, 60+60+60=180
- 1, Richard McKeown, KTM, 57+57+55=169
- 4, Matt Bayliss, Honda, 55+55+57=167
- 41, Ryan Matthew, Suzuki, 53+53+53=159
- 30, Timmy Andrews, KTM, 51+51+51=153
2 Day and Championship Overall
- 4, Matt Bayliss, Honda, 177+167=344
- 1, Richard McKeown, KTM, 174+169=343
- 41, Ryan Matthew, Suzuki, 161+159=320
- 30, Timmy Andrews, KTM, 152+153=305
- 666, Brett TJ Moore, KTM, 148+149=297
British Quad Beachcross Championship
- 585, Carl Bunce, Suzuki, 60+60+60=180
- 9, Jamie Clarke, KTM, 55+57+55=167
- 33, Bailey Edwards, Yamaha, 57+50+57=164
- 3, Oli Sansom, Yamaha, 53+55+51=159
- 7, Harry Walker, Yamaha, 50+53+50=153
- 585, Carl Bunce, Suzuki, 60+60+60=180
- 33, Bailey Edwards, Yamaha, 57+57+57=171
- 919, Mark McLernon, Honda, 55+51+55=161
- 9, Jamie Clarke, KTM, 53+53+53=159
- 3, Oli Sansom, Yamaha, 51+55+51=157
2 Day and Championship Overall
- 585, Carl Bunce, Suzuki, 180+180=360
- 33, Bailey Edwards, Yamaha, 164+171=335
- 9, Jamie Clarke, KTM, 167+159=326
- 3, Oli Sansom, Yamaha, 159+157=316
- 5, Antony Barrett, Suzuki, 150+148=298
Round 1 full results HERE
Round 2 full results HERE