Simpson and Tonus take big gold in Little Silver

By Paul Harris -

Off road

 07 March 2011 00:02

The Maxxis British Championships took the gate for the first time in 2011 at Little Silver near the bottom end of the M5.

Shaun Simpson made a great impression making his UK debut in the 450 class for Honda, scoring a Toni Cairoli (2-2-2) to take the overall on one of his rare domestic forays.

Jason Dougan passed Brad Anderson early on to lead ahead of Simpson and Stephen Sword in race one, but Swordy was cruelly robbed when a tyre rolled off the rim with just two laps to go to put him out of the race, Dougan taking the chequers ahead of Simpson, Anderson and Tom Church, the top four barely eight seconds apart at the flag.

Moto two saw Church lead from start to finish, Simpson passing Ando for third and then inheriting second when - unbelievably - Swordy again had a tyre roll off the rim to out him out of the race, with Anderson ceding third place to Kristian Whatley on the final lap.

Sword, possibly as motivated as a rider can be, led from the off in moto three, edging victory by less than a second from Simpson with Church, Martin Barr and Dougan third, fourth and fifth.

Simpson thus heads the title race with Church second, TC effectively leading the championship by six points from Dougan with Simpson currently likely to only be a part-time competitor in the series.

In the 250F class, reigning champion Zach Osborne put on a spiteful display of superority.

The diminutive American had to overcome Ray Rowson to lead moto one, youngster Rowson bursting out of the gate in stupendous form after two miserable injury-wracked seasons, but once in front Osborne just ran off and hid from the rest of the pack.

Jake Nichols ousted Rowson for second before Arnaud Tonus came a-knocking, relegating Nichols to the third step of the podium.

Moto two was a battle between team mates Osborne and Tonus, pure and simple, Osborne less than two seconds to the good after almost half an hour’s racing, with Nichols some way back in third, whilst Tonus led race three early doors from a typically inspired Osborne.

With Osborne poised to strike, however, a mechanical put him out of the race to gift-wrap the win and the overall for Tonus, with Mattis Karro taking second and Elliot Banks-Browne third after snitching the place from Bryan Mackenzie on the very last lap.

The Vets class showcased typically entertaining racing. Brian Wheeler and Terry House were right there and ready to battle from the off, House leading the opening two laps before Wheeler took over and started to build a gap.

Ominously for both of them, however, Greg Hanson was making serious ground through the field, dispatching House for second halfway through and closing inexorably on Wheeler.

Wheeler hung grimly on, however, taking the win barely half a second ahead of Hanson with House third, the three of them a long way in front of Jason Morris and Ricky Hanson in fourth and fifth.

Morris led the charge in moto two but Hanson (Greg) was right with him, taking the lead on lap two and easing out for the win ahead of House, Morris, Wheeler and Hanson (Ricky).