Maxxis 2017 UK Flat Track Championships.
April 9, Rye House Speedway, Hoddesdon
Round one of the Maxxis 2017 UK Flat Track Championships put on by the DTRA (Dirt Track Riders Association) series held at Rye House Speedway kicked off the season in style. With the largest numbers of entrants to date, blazing sunshine and an amazing day of racing it produced a spectacular opening event.
The Pro class A-final saw 2016 DTRA champion Alan Birtwistle line up on the front of the grid alongside former champion Aidan Collins and young hotshots Oliver Brindley and Toby Hales. It promised to be special and it didn’t disappoint as Collins got a flying start leading the way into turn one. Birtwistle and Brindley were hot on his heels with Hales chasing hard in fourth. A crash early in the race led to a restart with the riders lining up in the position they were in when the race was stopped.
Once again Collins got a text book start and led the way with Birtwistle, Brindley and Hales chasing as before. Birtwistle pushed hard all the way but Collins had the track dialled, held his line and the competition at bay to take the win. Birtwistle rode well for second with Brindley holding off Hales for third.
The Pro class B-final saw Vince Hurst get the holeshot. He was closely followed by Gary Birtwistle and Leah Tokelove, who was competing in the Pro class for the first time. Hurst, who might be the fastest granddad racing with the DTRA, showed his years of experience as he blasted ahead to take the win. Behind, Birtwistle got the jump on Tokelove to move into second, as did Justin Heavens as he moved into the third. Birtwistle rode well for second with Heavens third.
A new guard of young hotshots took over in the Restricted class. Sky Adams showed skills beyond her age as she blasted into the lead ahead of Jordan Miller and Jon Bell. Miller had a wobble and Bell didn’t hesitate to take advantage as he moved through into second. Out front Adams rode well holding her line and stayed out of trouble to take the win. Bell took second with Miller holding off a late challenge from Joe Banks to take third.
The Vintage class had a truly international flavour and provided one of the best races of the day. Flamboyant Frenchman Dimitri Coste got a flyer of a start as he led the way through the first turn with speedy Spaniard Ferran Mas Saenz second and Britain’s Guy Sutherland third. Mas Saenz then turned up the power as he blasted past Coste to move into the lead with Sutherland close by. Following lots of jostling for position early in the race Mas Saenz manged to open a small lead before taking the win. Behind, Triumph duo Sutherland and Coste rode superbly to take second and third respectively.
In the Thunderbike class Jon Bell got a fast start as he led Ross Herrod and Mike Hill into turn one. Bell continued to lead and started to open a gap on his competition. Behind, Hill got the better of Herrod as he moved into second. Herrod sat in third but was being pressured from Kye Forte in fourth. Bell took the win with Hill second and Herrod held off Forte for third.
The Rookie class was bigger than ever with lots of new racers joining the DTRA family. Lee Sadler got the early advantage as he led Richard Gardiner and Gareth Howes. Behind, Howes turned it up as he moved into second and started to close the gap on Sadler. In the final lap Howes made his move to snatch the win. Sadler had to settle for second with Martin Mills moving through into third.
Joe Banks flew into the lead in the Minibike class only to crash early on putting him out of contention. Neil Macqueen seized the opportunity to take the reins up front with Jeremy Skipp and Mike Fisher hot on his heels. Macqueen rode a smart race staying ahead to claim victory. Behind, Skipp, Fisher and Andy Swift pushed each other for the final podium positions. Skipp hung on to second as Swift worked his way into third.
The Youth Senior Class saw Joe Burden take the win. In the Youth Intermediates Luke Gardiner got a flying start only to be taken by Jack Bell who went on take the victory. Ted Wilkinson rode well as he moved up to steal second with Gardiner rounding out the podium. In the Youth Juniors Charlie Kelly took the win with Thomas Hunt second and Wilbur Skip third.