Jamie Dobb made a World champion’s return to racing by winning the Pro Open class of the MCN-backed UKSX supercross at the NEC Arena on Saturday night.
Dobb might have been sidelined from racing with a neck injury since clinching the World 125cc title back in August but the only blemish on his command performance was an inability to make the starts in his two qualifying races.
But that only added to the highly–charged atmosphere with the 6,000-strong air-horn wielding fans urging him on as he carved through the pack each time.
In the 18-lap final he gated better in fourth place and had picked off race leader and British Supercross champion Warren Edwards by the fifth lap to stamp his authority on the event.
Dobb, from Derby, said: " It’s my first race since winning the World championship and anything else other than a win tonight would not have been good. It felt great to be racing again and I can’t think of any better place to have come back than at my local track in the UKSX series. "
Dobb’s choice of machine for the Pro Open, a prototype 200cc KTM rather than a full 250, proved a shrewd one in the tight arena. The bike, with a 200 motor slotted into a 125 rolling chassis, was raced by American rider Brock Sellards in the recent Las Vegas US Open and forms the basis of a 2003 production model.
Dobb said: " This 200 is awesome. It’s almost got the poke of a full 250 but it also has the nimble handling of a 125 and the combination was absolutely perfect out there tonight on a tight track like this. "
Kawasaki’s Mark Hucklebridge finished second to establish a 17-point lead over the absent Gordon Crockard after this third race in a six-round championship.
Defending British Pro Open champion Warren Edwards crashed out in the closing stages of the final, moments after Hucklebridge had passed him.
Dane Brian Jorgensen won the 125cc final in his first ride on a two-stroke machine in over a month. He missed the opening two races in Belfast on October 26/27 through illness but took the lead early in the crash-strewn NEC final and never looked back.
The Yamaha rider said: " I felt terrible on the bike in practice this morning. I’ve not been on a 125 for so long it took me ages to get my rhythm. In the final I rode my own race, concentrating on making every jump perfect and, to be honest, it felt quite easy out there. "
Jorgensen’s job was made simpler after defending champion Stephen Sword was brought down in a first corner crash which also ruined teenager Billy Mackenzie’s hopes of a top placing.
Sword wound up fifth but retains the championship lead on his Husqvarna. Mackenzie finished the race in sixth.
British champion Gordon Crockard was leading the point stadings aftrer the first two UKSX races in Belfast but is not scheduled to take any further part in the series.
UKSX Pro Open: 1J Dobb (KTM 200), 2 M Hucklebridge (Kawasaki 250), 3 J Higgs (Kawasaki 250), 4 Neil Prince (Honda 250), 5 W Edwards (Yamaha 250), 6 F Kneafsey (Honda 250). Championship points (after three rounds): 1 Hucklebridge 54, Higgs 42, 3 Edwards 39. UKSX Pro 125: 1 B Jorgensen (Yamaha), 2 Leigh LeReservee (Yamaha), 3 T Church (Kawasaki), 4 Glenn Phillips (KTM), 5 Stephen Sword (Husqvarna), 6 Billy Mackenzie (Yamaha). Championship points (after three rounds): 1 Sword 51, 2 LeReservee 43, 3 Phillips 41. Next round: December 1, Cardiff International Arena. (Booking: www.tickets-direct.co.uk or box office 029-2022-4488 or 029-2066-5433. Information: www.uksuperx.com)