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After a long wait for Britain’s stars of the future, the much anticipated FAB-Racing Minibike British Championships were back underway over a four-day weekend that held both Rounds 1 and 2 of the 2020 season at the Lydd Kart Circuit on the South East coast of England.
With the sun shining down on Lydd, following Friday’s practice and qualifying sessions, 3 races for each category were held on Saturday’s action packed Round 1, with some wet weather conditions shaking up Sunday’s Round 2, where the young riders faced 3 more races around the Lydd circuit.
MK-GP70 Round 1
The MK-GP70 class saw the return of 2018 GP70 Champion Casey O’Gorman making a wildcard appearance for Round 1 and 2 of the championship. Already further down the road to MotoGP, O’Gorman had his work cut out for him for Round 1, having to start all 3 races from the back of the grid after missing out on Friday's qualifying due to commitments at Silverstone, for an official test ahead of his British Talent Cup campaign.
It was Johnny Garness, 2020 Championship favourite who took pole position ahead of Saturday’s Round 1 races, with the number 2 of Josh Bannister lining up next to him on the front row.
2 laps into the race, and Casey O’Gorman had already fought his way up to 4th position from the very back of grid. Johnny Garness had made a superb start and begun to break away at the front ahead of Lucas Brown and Josh Bannister. It wasn’t long before the battle for 2nd became a battle for 3rd as the charging Casey O’Gorman made his way past Lucas Brown and Josh Bannister to begin an attack to attempt to close down the 4 second lead to race leader Johnny Garness. As Garness controlled the race at the front, Mason Foster found his way onto the back wheel of the battle for 3rd, making it a 3-way battle between Brown, Bannister, and Foster. O’Gorman did all he could to try and catch Garness, but it was Garness who took the win with a 3.355 second lead over line. The battle for 3rd went to Brown, just pipping Bannister to the line.
Race 2 was a similar story with Johnny Garness breaking away at the front, and Casey O’Gorman on a mission from the back of the grid. O’Gorman had already made his way up into 3rd place as the riders began lap 2, making his way through on Josh Bannister in the first sector. Next up for O’Gorman was Lucas Brown, O’Gorman replicating the passing manoeuvre he made on Bannister a lap before at turn 4. O’Gorman now up into 2nd position, his sights were firmly set on race leader Johnny Garness. Despite the blistering pace of Johnny Garness, with one lap to go Casey O’Gorman managed to climb his way right up onto the back wheel of Garness, with the battle for 3rd between Brown and Bannister hotting up once again. A desperate lunge up the inside at the final corner from O’Gorman saw him and Garness come together, unfortunately resulting in O’Gorman crashing out right at the end of the race, with Garness taking 2 wins from 2. Bannister managed to get the better of Brown in race 2 taking 2nd position ahead of the number 29 in 3rd spot.
The final race of the day for the MK-GP70s saw Casey O’Gorman more determined than ever, after his mistake in race 2. Having flown through field once again, this time O’Gorman managed to catch Johnny Garness well before half race distance. As the race went on O’Gorman followed race leader Johnny Garness waiting for the correct moment pounce. Lucas Brown was having a lonely race in 3rd spot ahead of a 3 rider battle for 4th place between Ben Jolliffe, Josh Bannister, and Mason Foster. O’Gorman then proceeded to make a move to take the lead from Johnny Garness with a brilliantly calculated pass at turn 4. Garness then had no answer for Casey O’Gorman, with Casey taking the final race of the day ahead of Garness, and Lucas Brown taking another 3rd.
MK-GP70 Round 2
The grid for Sunday’s Round 2 was made up of the fastest laps from the 3 races of Saturday. This saw Johnny Garness maintain his pole position, with Casey O’Gorman lining up next to him on the front row.
O’Gorman got a blistering start, taking the holeshot and opening up a gap from the first lap. Casey O’Gorman stretched out the lead at the front over Johnny Garness, with Lucas Brown having another lonely ride in 3rd spot. An exciting 5 rider battle for 5th place began to brew further back between Mason Foster, Harrison Mackay, Clayton Edmunds, Josh Bannister, and Ben Jolliffe. Distaster then struck as Josh Bannister crashed out of the race with his bike unfortunately leaving Ben Jolliffe nowhere to go and also crashing out. This caused a red flag and the result was called with O’Gorman taking a tremendous win over Johnny Garness and Lucas Brown.
The rain came down over the lunch break, soaking the track ahead of race 2 for MK-GP70s. Casey O’Gorman took an early lead ahead Lucas Brown, with Johnny Garness dropping through the field from pole position. Drama at the beginning of lap 2 for Casey O’Gorman as he crashed out at turn 5, re-joining the race in 9th place and gifting the race lead to Lucas Brown. As the race went on, a 7 rider battle for the lead emerged with Lucas Brown leading over Harrison Mackay, and Ben Jolliffe. Championship leader Johnny Garness watched from the back of the group. Johnny Garness got more and more confident in the wet weather conditions towards the end of the race, climbing through the field and finishing in 3rd place behind Casey O’Gorman, who’d also climbed up through the field after his crash earlier on, and Lucas Brown who had led the majority of the race, to fend off O’Gorman right at the end and take his first win of the season.
Conditions remained wet for the final race of the weekend for MK-GP70s, and drama unfolded early on in the race with race 2 winner Lucas Brown crashing at the first corner, and re-joining well behind the rest of the field. Casey O’Gorman was flying at the front of the race, stretching out a 4 second lead on the opening lap ahead of Johnny Garness and Mason Foster. Foster swiftly despatched Garness and began to close down that early lead that Casey O’Gorman had stretched out. Under pressure from the charging number 88 of Mason Foster, Casey O’Gorman crashed out of the lead of the race and gifted the race lead to Mason Foster. Also promoting Johnny Garness to 2nd place, and Harrison Mackay into 3rd who was just ahead of Josh Bannister. Mason Foster went on to take the final win of the day by a hefty 18 seconds ahead of Johnny Garness and Josh Bannister who made his way up into 3rd place, almost challenging Garness for 2nd.
MK-GP50 Round 1
It was the familiar name in Mason Foster that had pole position for Saturday’s Round 1. Lining up alongside him was Ethan Sparks, with Ronnie Harris in 3rd spot.
It was a two-way battle at the front for race 1, as Ethan Sparks and Ronnie Harris battled it out for the win. Poleman, Mason Foster, spent the race recovering from dropping down the order early in the race, and fought his way up through the field to take 3rd place. A last corner lunge saw Ethan Sparks snatch the first victory of the season ahead of Ronnie Harris in 2nd.
The same 3 suspects battled it out in race 2, in an enthralling 3 lap battle for the lead with Ethan Sparks, Mason Foster, and Ronnie Harris pushing each other to their limits. Olly Horner watched from a distance, picking up a lonely 4th place. However, it was Mason Foster who used his ability to swiftly navigate through lapped traffic, and break away at the front to take the win. Ethan Sparks and Ronnie Harris battled it out behind with Harris getting the better of sparks on the final lap.
Ronnie Harris and Olly Horner got superb starts in race 3, coming across the line in 1st and 2nd respectively at the end of first lap. Harris then broke away at the front, with Ethan Sparks and Mason Foster making their way past Horner. With Harris untouchable at the front, he made it 3 different race winners in 3 races for Round 1. It was then Mason Foster that took 2nd place ahead of Ethan Sparks.
MK-GP50 Round 2
Race 1 saw Mason Foster take the hole shot ahead of Ethan Sparks, with Ronnie Harris dropping drown to 4th after the number 146 of Clayton Edmunds climbed into 3rd. Foster ran away with it at the front, with Harris finding his way around Edmunds to battle it out with Sparks for 2nd place. Foster took a dominant first win of the day, with Sparks just fending off Harris to take 2nd, ahead of the number 66 of Harris in 3rd place.
A rain-soaked race 2 saw the first wet race of year for the MK-GP50s. Race 1 winner Mason Foster took an early lead ahead of Ronnie Harris with Ethan Sparks in 3rd. After putting some pressure on Sparks for 3rd place, the number 146 of Clayton Edmunds fell victim to slippery turn 12, a corner we’d see catch out many riders throughout the day. Warwick Brady was charging through the field, setting fastest lap after fastest lap and picking off rider after rider. Race leader Foster ran into technical problems late in the race dropping him to the 3rd spot, with Harris taking the win. Despite the superior pace of Brady, there wasn’t enough laps for him to catch the leader, with the number 99 taking a superb 2nd place.
The conditions remained treacherous for the final race of the day. Warwick Brady came charging through the field once again, making up several positions on the first lap to slot himself in 3rd spot just behind Ronnie Harris, with Mason Foster stretching out a lead at the front. A brilliant round-the-outside move at the final corner saw Brady take 2nd place from Harris, bringing home an excellent 2nd place with Harris taking 3rd. Mason Foster was dominant at the front, taking the win with a massive 8 second lead.
Minimotos Round 1
The AC40 Rookies is where young talent start off their motorcycle racing careers on air-cooled 40cc minimotos, with riders participating in their first ever weekend of racing. A few familiar names were on the grid in the form of Freddie Bridewell, nephew of BSB race winner Tommy Bridewell, and Harrison Day, son of 2019 Ducati TriOptions champion Josh Day.
Finley Polhill took his first race win in race one, with early race leader Austin Johnson suffering from technical issues. Byron Johnson took 2nd place, with Harrison Day in 3rd. Race 2 saw race 1 winner Finley Polhill crash out and re-join the race. Austin Johnson took a dominant victory over Byron Johnson and Freddie Bridewell taking his career first podium. Austin Johnson went on to take a 2nd win in race 2, ahead of Finley Polhill and Byron Johnson in 3rd. Re-joining after a crash saw Freddie Bridewell take 5th place behind Harrison Day in 4th.
The next step for up-and-coming riders is the AC40 Pro class. Still on 40cc air-cooled minimoto machinery, these riders have graduated from the Rookies class and have at least a season’s worth of experience under their belts. Ethan Sparks was unstoppable on Saturday’s round 1, taking 3 wins from 3 ahead of Joshua Williams who took three 2nd places, after giving everything he had to try to beat Ethan Sparks. Archie O’Brien rounded out the podiums fending off the attacking Archie Gibbs.
The LC40 Elites also had an exciting season opener for Round 1. This class is the final stage in a young riders minimoto racing career, with the riders tackling the more powerful 40cc liquid cooled machines. Josh Bannister took an early lead in race 1, looking dominant at the front. He then ran into technical issues gifting the first win of the season to Charlie Huntingford. Huntinford fended off the number 99 of Warwick brady who took 2nd place, with Archie O’Brien rounding out the first LC40 Elite podium of the year. Josh Bannister took the spoils in race 2, clinching the win in brilliant battle against returning star Ryan Hitchcock who had fought his way up from the back of the grid, with Samuel Munson rounding out the podium. An action-packed race 3 saw riders battling all through the field, but it was Samuel Munson who won the battle at the front clinching the win ahead of Ryan Hitchcock, and Joshua Williams in 3rd place.
Minimotos Round 2
Round 2 saw more exciting action in the AC40 Rookies class. Finley Polhill took an early race lead, but it was the charging Johnsons who made their way past Polhill to battle it out at the front. Austin Johnson took another win ahead of Byron Johnson, with Finley Polhill in a distant 3rd place. Disaster for Austin in race 2 as he suffered a crash forcing him to re-join in 5th place. Byron Johnson took his first win, ahead of Finley Polhill with Freddie Bridewell fending off Harrison Day for 3rd. An exciting wet weather race saw plenty of action for the final race of the weekend. Freddie Bridewell took an early lead and looked dominant at the front. Finley Polhill was on a charge closing down the race leader, until Freddie Bridewell went down at turn 5, gifting Polhill the win. Byron Johnson took 2nd place ahead of Lewis Hull who took his first podium of the year.
Going into Round 2, Ethan Sparks had won every race so far for the AC40 Pros, giving his rivals lots of incentive to take their first win. It was Joshua Williams who managed to get the better of Sparks in a race-long battle between the two riders in race 1, Williams taking his first win of the year. An exciting 3 rider battle for 3rd place saw Archie O’Brien take another podium ahead of Archie Gibbs and Thorley Trevorrow. It was another exciting battle at the front in race 2, but it was Ethan Sparks who took the win this time. Joshua Williams gave it everything he had to beat Sparks but unfortunately crashed out at the final corner trying to take the win away from Ethan Sparks. Archie O’Brien took 2nd place, ahead of Archie Gibbs who took his first podium of the year. A rain-soaked final race saw Archie Gibbs take his first win, 10 seconds ahead of Ethan Sparks, and Wilson Dilks with his first podium of the year ahead of Archie O’Brien, and Marco Holt rounding out the top 5, showing some brilliant pace during the race.
Race 1 for Round 2 of the LC40 Elites saw a dominant victory from Ryan Hitchcock who ran away with it at the front. Joshua Williams and Warwick Brady were locked in an exciting battle for 2nd place, Brady unfortunately going down in the closing stages of the race causing a red flag. With the race results going back a lap, it was Hitchcock who took the win ahead of Williams and, with Brady eliminated from the result, Charlie Huntingford in 3rd.
Drama in race 2 for Ryan Hitchcock who broke away the front with a 5.7 second lead going onto the last lap, as he suffered technical gremlins right at the end of the race. This gifted the race win to Samuel Munson who beat Charlie Huntingford to the line ahead of Joshua Williams in 3rd.
Ryan Hitchcock continued his dominance in wet weather conditions to grab another breakaway win in the final race of the weekend. Marco Holt was charging through the field with great pace, climbing up the 3rd place until he crashed out the race and re-joined in 9th place. Hitchcock it was that took a comfortable win ahead Josh Bannister. Marco Holt came flying through the field again after his crash to find himself back into the battle for 3rd place, snatching the final podium with brilliant drag to the line, 0.005 of second ahead of Samuel Munson in 4th place.
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