Daventry’s Whilton Mill circuit hosted Round 4 for the Fab-Racing Minibike British Championships, providing a variety of conditions for the young talent on their road to MotoGP™.
With the sun shining on the 1120 metre circuit for Friday’s free practice sessions, the riders negotiated their way around sweeping curves, long straights, and technical off-camber corners that the Whilton Mill circuit had to offer. Threats of rain were ominous heading into the races, with Whilton Mill being renowned for its greasy, slippery surface when faced with wet weather conditions.
The GP70s were already missing two regular front runners going into Saturday’s race 1, one being championship leader Johnny Garness, ruled out of the weekend with a hand injury, and Josh Bannister similarly injured following a fall at another event.
With the absence of Garness it was all about the 2nd place man in the Championship, Lucas Brown, who had to score 40 points in the weekend to take the championship lead. Brown was starting on pole position for the first race but Mason Foster took the holeshot into turn 1, with Brown quickly taking back the lead. With the front two breaking away it was between Harrison Mackay, Alfie Davidson, Clayton Edmunds, and Ben Jolliffe to battle it out for the podium. Disaster for Edmunds as he crashed out of the race after spits of rain began to fall. With the conditions becoming greasy in the closing stages of the race, the battle for the lead bunched up with Brown and Foster being caught by the charging riders behind. The slippery conditions caught out the number 125 of Ben Jolliffe, causing a red flag, and an early end to the race. It was Brown that took the win after the red flag, ahead of Mason Foster, and Mackay rounding out the podium.
A rain-soaked race 2 saw Mason Foster run away at the front, however a very early red flag meant he had to do it all again in the race restart. The charging pack managed to stick with Foster in the restart with Brown eager to get in front of the number 88. Clayton Edmunds went down once again, crashing out on the first lap at the final corner. It was then a battle for the win between Brown, Foster, Mackay, and Davidson. The front two broke away once again, Foster gave it his all with the two riders swapping positions race long, but it was Brown who was determined to snap back at the number 88 at every opportunity and took the win. Alfie Davidson won the battle for 3rd place, with Mackay and Jacob Stephenson 4th and 5th.
The track had dried for the final race of the weekend, but new Championship leader Lucas Brown had to start from pit lane along with Alfie Davidson after missing the cut off for the formation lap. Foster dropped down the order off the line with Harrison Mackay taking the holeshot ahead of Clayton Edmunds and Holly Harris. Edmunds took the lead with Foster recovering into 3rd from his poor start. Brown and Davidson were charging through the field after their pit lane starts, and quickly found themselves in the battle for the lead. Having carved his way through the leading group, Brown found himself right on the back of race leader Edmunds, taking a lap to study the number 146 before making a move for the lead at turn 6 to then run away at the front. Alfie Davidson went down in the closing stages of the race whilst trying to make a move on Mackay for 4th place. Foster managed to break away from Edmunds to catch race leader Brown with two laps to go. Brown defended his position to take the race win, picking up 3 wins in the weekend and walking away from Whilton Mill with the Championship lead. Foster finished in 2nd, with Mackay picking up 3rd, Edmunds 4th, and Holly Harris rounding out the top 5.
A wet race 1 on Saturday for the MK-GP50s saw Warwick Brady climb quickly through the field to take the lead, then crash out at turn 10 on the first lap. This gifted the lead to Championship leader Ronnie Harris, ahead of Clayton Edmunds, and Samuel Munson. Edmunds and Harris battled for the victory until the race was red flagged with Harris leading. However an overtake on a yellow flag leading to a penalty meant the race win went to Edmunds. Harris was 2nd ahead of Harrison Mackay and second place rider in the Championship Ethan Sparks Samuel Munson had earlier crashed out of a podium position.
The mixed conditions for race 2 on Sunday saw Olly Horner starting on pole position but dropping through the field off the start. Drama on the first lap as Championship leader Ronnie Harris went down at turn 6 saw Championship rival Ethan Sparks in the lead of the race, ahead of Warwick Brady and Clayton Edmunds. As the race began to settle, pole sitter Horner recovered from his poor start moving into 3rd place behind Edmunds and Sparks, with Brady dropping down to 5th behind Alfie Davidson. Harris suffered from a 2nd crash at the final corner whilst trying to make up for lost time, re-joining the race again but now outside the top 20. Disaster also for Edmunds who was forced to retire from 2nd place with technical issues, promoting a charging Davidson to 2nd and Horner to 3rd. Sparks went on to take the victory ahead of Davidson, and Horner picking up 3rd place ahead of Harrison, Mackay and Brady.
A final dry race for the MKGP50s saw Ethan Sparks take the holeshot once again ahead of Olly Horner, and Ronnie Harris. The top 3 proceeded to break away at the front with Warwick Brady going down after a making contact with Samuel Munson at turn 10 leaving Munson to battle it out for 4th with Harrison Mackay and Alfie Davidson. It was Sparks that took the victory after leading from start to finish ahead of championship rival Ronnie Harris, and Horner picking up 3rd. This result meant there was a change in Championship lead with Sparks moving up into the lead of the Championship demoting Harris to 2nd.
Minimoto LC40 ELITES
The LC40 Elites are the premiere class in Fab-Racing’s minimoto scene, and an exciting championship battle began to play out at Whilton Mill between Charlie Huntingford and returning Ryan Hitchcock.
It was Hitchock who took the first victory in the wet after closing down a 3 second gap to Huntingford to snatch the lead on the final lap, demoting Huntingford to 2nd. Luke Fitchett rounded out the podium ahead of Archie O’Brien and Samuel Munson.
A damp race two saw an early crash at turn 2 for Warwick Brady with Huntingford and Hitchcock getting away at the front once again. Whilst battling for the lead Hithcock ran into technical issues allowing Huntingford to take a commanding victory with Hitchcock nursing his bike round to finish 2nd. Casey Sparey came from 12th on the grid to pick up a brilliant podium ahead of brilliantly recovered Brady, and Sam Munson.
Hithcock and Huntingford were in a class of their own again at the front for the final race. The two were battling it out race long until the penultimate lap where Hitchcock went down at turn 6, re-joined still to take 2nd place with Huntingford taking the final win with Munson taking the final podium.
Minimoto AC40 PROS
A dramatic first lap in a rain soaked race 1 for the AC40PROs saw race leader Archie Gibbs go down at turn 3, with his bike sliding into the middle of the circuit and taking down Championship leader Ethan Sparks. Sparks re-joined and made his way back to the front of the race only to crash out again and re-join in 5th place but then crash out a 3rd time and unable to re-join. Many riders fell victim to the treacherous conditions but it was a clever ride from Luke Fitchett that saw him take the victory ahead of Archie O’Brien and Marco Holt.
An exciting 5 rider battle for the win in race 2 saw the likes of Sparks, O’Brien, Holt, Gibbs, and Wilson Dilks swapping positions race long, with Championship contender Joshua Williams in a distant 6th. It was Archie O’Brien who was victorious taking his first win in the class ahead of Championship leader Ethan Sparks, with Holt 3rd, with Gibbs and Wilson Dilks rounding out the top 5.
Race 3 was a front two break away in the form of Archie Gibbs and Ethan Sparks battling it out for the win. Sparks took the victory ahead of Gibbs, Joshua Williams, Marco Holt and Archie O’Brien. A good weekend for Sparks meant he was able to extend his Championship lead over Williams.
Minimoto AC40 ROOKIES
Riders in the first season of racing were faced with treacherous conditions for their first race of the weekend at Whilton Mill. Many riders were caught out by the conditions including regular front runner Finley Polhill who went down on the first lap. With riders crashing and re-joining every lap, it was Byron Johnson who stayed on the bike to take a commanding 23 second lead over his brother Austin Johnson. Callum Maxwell picked up his first podium ahead Travis Shaw and Lewis Hull.
It was Byron Johnson who was strong at the front again for a damp race 2, but this time it was Finley Polhill who managed to put a challenge to Byron. Johnson did manage to get the better of Polhill in the end, taking the victory with Polhill in 2nd ahead of Austin Johnson, Freddie Bridewell, and Valentino Kimmi Kirk.
The final race for the rookies saw dry conditions with the two Johnsons battling it out with Finley Polhill. Whilst battling with Polhill, Byron Johnson pushed a little too hard into turn and 7, crashing out and re-joining in 7th. It was Austin Johnson who took the win after fending off Finley Polhill, who took another 2nd place ahead of Bridewell, and Byron Johnson recovering to take 4th place.
The FAB-Racing Minibike British Championships will be back in action for Round 5 at Ellough Park from the 28th-30th of August. All the action can be followed live or on demand on the Fab-Racing YouTube channel, on the Fab-Racing and Motorsport Radio Facebook pages, or on Motorsport Radio itself.