British Motocross: Billy Mackenzie and Tommy Searle shine at Donington Park

Published: 11 March 2008

Billy Mackenzie and Tommy Searle, the two brightest stars in British motocross ruled the roost at Donington on Sunday

For Tommy Searle, it’s just another step on the road to America, whilst Billy Mackenzie started the campaign to regain his title exactly how he means to go on.

The first MX2 moto soon became a three-horse race as Shaun Simpson and Searle queued in second and third behind Pacal Leuret’s Suzuki.

Within a handful of laps, Simpson and Searle were through into first and second – it was Simpson who led before Tommy Searle battled past Shaun.

Simpson made a decent fist of bringing the fight back to the number two KTM of Searle, but then he hit troubles of his own, first slowing to let Leuret by, then withdrawing altogether.

Further back, Gareth Swanepoel came from behind to pass Molson Kawasaki team-mate Stephen Sword as they both charged through the front of the field. But the experienced Scot Sword, showed great form after a terrible couple of seasons recovering from injury, to regroup and re-pass the young South African on the last lap to snatch third.

Reigning champion Mike Brown stalled his CAS Honda and struggled to restart it – circulating a lap down, he eventually brought it home 21st.

In MX2 moto two, Stephen Sword managed to get away with Searle, Simpson and Leuret, and the battle quickly shaped up between the three Britons, with Leuret holding a watching brief.

Sword led, but Shaun Simpson soon came by. When Searle also made a pass, it looked as though Molson’s Grand Prix veteran would fall back.

But the Scot regrouped and went to work, staying with the battle and re-passed Simpson after Tommy Searle made his move for the lead.

For a short while, it looked like the number seven of Sword might challenge Searle, but the KTM star slowly eked out a lead for his second win of the day.

With Searle effectively withdrawing from the series (with this currently the only round he’s scheduled to compete in), on Sunday’s form it looks like the battle will most likely between Sword and Simpson for the race to take Mike Brown’s crown.

In contrast, the smart money has to be on Billy Mackenzie’s number one plate staying firmly where it is.

Reigning MX1 champion Billy Mackenzie barely put a wheel wrong to win both motos.

Holeshotting moto one, the Scot motored out to a comfy lead and just brought it home. Behind him, Tom Church made a fine debut in the MX1 class, running a comfy second until Kenneth Gundersen, making a great recovery from surgery, came slowly creeping up.

Kenneth Gundersen made a pass with just over a lap to go – Tom Church had nothing left to respond with, but making the third step on his MX1 debut is admirable.

As the weather threatened to turn nasty, Billy Mackenzie motored calmly away again in MX1 moto two with Church second once more.

This time, however, the Molson Kawasaki star had Gundersen, James Noble and Brad Anderson for company right from the start.

Tom Church was soon dropped into a fifth place he would hold until the end, but the places between Kenneth Gundersen, James Noble and Anderson seemed to change lap on lap.

As the silky smooth Norwegian also began to slip back, Noble and Anderson went to war, with the KTM-mounted Noble getting uncharacteristically aggressive at times.

Ultimately, Noble’s attempts to fight back would cost him as he made a mistake that dropped him out of the battle and behind Gundersen once more, where he would finish.

Anderson sealed an excellent third overall, after a typically spirited fightback from a bad start in moto one.

ACU Maxxis British Motocross Championship
Round one, Donington - MX1
1 Billy MacKenzie 50
2 Kenneth Gundersen 42
3 Brad Anderson 38
4 James Noble 36
5 Tom Church 36
6 Mark Jones 30
7 Wayne Smith 27 
8 Micheal Phillips 24
9 Mark Hucklebridge 23
10 Bryan MacKenzie 20
11 Jamie Lewis 19
12 Mark Eastwood 17
13 David Willet 17
14 Alex Rach 14 
15 Glen Phillips12
16 Jim Murro 7
17 Jordan Rose 5
18 6 Danny Smyth 5
19 Richard Lawson 4 
20 Richard McKeown 4

ACU Maxxis British Motocross Championship
Round one, Donington - MX2
1 Tommy Searle 50
2 Stephen Sword 44
3 Pascal Leuret 38
4 Martin Barr 32
5 Carlos Campano 30
6 Gareth Swanepoel 30
7 Neville Bradshaw 28
8 Elliot Banks-Browne 23
9 Shaun Simpson 20
10 Kristen Whatley 19
11 Alex Snow 19
12 Mike Brown 14
13 Carl Nunn 13
14 Mel Pocock 12
15 Marcus Norlan 12
16 Scott Probert 11
17 Alex Butler 9
18 Daniel Arnold 9
19 Kjetil Gunderson 8
20 Jonathan Pettitt 7