Swanepoel stars at Lyng showpiece
Motocross: South African Gareth Swanepoel underlined his MX2 Championship intentions at Lyng with a faultless display on the Molson Kawasaki.His success came as defending MX1 title holder Ken De Dijcker had a day to forget as technical problems saw him slip from the top of the current standings.
South African Gareth Swanepoel underlined his MX2 Championship intentions at Lyng on Sunday with a faultless display on the Molson Kawasaki.
His success came as defending MX1 title holder Ken De Dijcker had a day to forget as technical problems saw him slip from the top of the current standings.
The die was cast for De Dijcker in timed qualification when despite setting pole position he fell from his CAS Honda and from there on in he was fighting a losing battle.
When the gate dropped for the opening MX1 race it was Billy MacKenzie on the De Groot Kawasaki who took the lead as the pack headed off into the Norfolk countryside for the first time.
Hot in his tyre tracks was the Pioneer Yamaha of Brad Anderson, while the Honda powered trio of Gordon Crockard, James Noble and De Dijcker engaged in their own private battle.
It was the Belgian who eventually worked his way through to lead the race and crossed the line first with a healthy five-second advantage. Behind him, Anderson withstood a fierce challenge from Noble on the Multitek Honda for second place while MacKenzie had slipped to fourth, and Crockard fifth.
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But the winner's machine failed a post race noise test and he was penalised a minute on his race time, dropping him to sixth and handing Anderson his maiden MX1 British championship victory.
The second race started with a familiar pattern, and it was MacKenzie who opened up an incredible three second lead by the end of lap one.
Mark Hucklebridge on the MotoExtreme Kawasaki followed him through, with Anderson, Crockard and Noble once again on the leaderboard.
De Dijcker made up for a mediocre start and after 15 minutes of the 30 minute plus two lap race he was closing in on the leader before the final cruel twist to a torrid day, when his Honda developed a problem, forcing him to retire from the race.
MacKenzie never looked back and was rewarded with his first big class win after moving up from the MX2 category. Anderson once again withstood a stiff challenge, this time from Crockard, to take second, with Noble completing his afternoon's work in fourth.
After a hectic timed qualification which had Jason Dougan putting his Fork Rent Suzuki on top spot by a fraction of a second, the large Norfolk crowd were looking forward to the MX2 class race action.
Teenage KTM protégé Tommy Searle took the initiative on the opening lap of race one, with the Molson Kawasaki pairing of Tom Church and Swanepeol in close formation.
American Mike Brown on the CAS Honda was also in contention as the 35 strong field jostled for position, with current MX2 champion Carl Nunn and Bike-it Dixon Yamaha team mate Martin Barr both well placed.
Swanepeol, who has only been off the podium once this season, forced his way past his fellow green machine rider and quickly closed on Searle before making the pass to take the honours in the opening encounter. Church grabbed the final podium place, with Brown fourth just ahead of the warring Barr and Dougan.
Searle repeated his lightning pace off the start line in race two, but was quickly overhauled by Swanepeol who went on to open a commanding eight second lead by the chequered flag. Brown rode a lonely race in third, while Nunn, who was making his return to the championship after missing round two due to a back injury sustained in a big pre-season crash, overcame the disappointment of eleventh in race one to claim a well-deserved fourth.
Church could make no impression on the leaders and finished fifth ahead of Lewis Gregory (Relentless Suzuki), and series leader coming to Lyng, Shaun Simpson (Wulfsport Kawasaki), who crossed the line in a photo finish.