Banwell's second string bike good enough for victory
DARREN Banwell, a 31-year-old truck driver from Shepton Mallet, is the new South West 0ff-road motocross series expert champion.
He clinched the title with a third and two fourth-place finishes in the final round at the Little Silver Moto Park, near Exminster, in Devon on Saturday despite having to use his second string bike for the final race after the radiator of his KTM sprung a leak in the previous encounter.
However, he and retiring champion James Kensington were overshadowed by in-form Michael Rowe, who dominated all three seven lap races. He won the first race by 17 seconds after overtaking early leader Nick Life. Kensington led the second race for two laps before Rowe hit the front. Banwell then moved into second place, but with his radiator hissing out clouds of steam he had to back off. Kensington made another slick start in the final race, but by half distance Rowe had broken through to complete a well earned hat-trick.
Joe Claydon looked likely to complete a clean sweep in the senior group races after winning the first race by 18 seconds and the second by an even greater margin, but after a third-lap tumble in the final race he finished seventh.
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Luke Chanter, from Dulverton in West Somerset, dominated all three races in the open championship, but his advantage in the second was a mere second after a close encounter with Keith Rowden. Michael Rich, Simeone Loxley and Gary Jones were the race winners in the 125/250cc junior championship.
Thirteen-year-old Brendon Cooper, from Okehampton was the master in the inter junior nine to 14 age group. He won the first race by 24 seconds, the second by almost a minute and the last by more than a minute, and in doing so he lapped all bar the next four finishers. Luke Parrish won the first and last races in the 14-17 years group, but he lost out to Jordan Hembrow in the second after making a bad start.
Jeremy Cross won his third round of the Wessex Centre Timed and Observation Trial Championship in the Wells and District club's event at Rookham on Sunday. He was somewhat slower in completing the nine lap event than Simon Prideaux, but he lost far less marks in the half dozen observed sections, of which the second and third were the more severe.
Cross lost just 12 marks in the former. which featured a climb over slippery tree roots and next best was Paul Manning on 21. Cross and Prideaux were the only ones in an entry of 35 to achieve unpenalised climbs over cambered banks and tree roots in the latter.
Results: Final round of South West Off Road Motocross Series at Exminster, Devon – Experts, 1st race: 1, M Rowe; 2, J Kensington; 3, D Banwell; 4, B Butler. Second race: 1, Rowe; 2, Kensington; 3, Butler; 4, Banwell. Third race: 1, Rowe; 2, Kensington; 3, Butler; 4, Banwell. Seniors, 1st race: 1, J Claydon; 2, J Buckingham; 3, D Griffin; 4, M Hunt. Second race: 1, Claydon; 2, Buckingham; 3, A Watkins; 4, M Wells. Third race: 1, Buckingham; 2, Wells; 3, E Lewis; 4, Watkins. Junior Championship (open), 1st race: 1, L Chanter; 2, J Hellier; 3, A Wain; 4, A Stephens. Second race: 1, Chanter; 2, K Rowden; 3, A Dunn; 4, Stephens. Third race: 1, Chanter; 2, Rowden; 3, Hellier; 4, B Morrison. Junior 125/250cc Championship, 1st race: 1, M Rich; 2, G Hookway; 3, S Loxley; 4, G Jones. Second race: 1, Loxley; 2, Rich; 3, Burrows; 4, M Bate. Third race: 1, Jones; 2, Burrows; 3, Loxley; 4, Rich. Inter Juniors 9-13 years, 1st race: 1, B Cooper; 2, K York; 3, R West; 4, A Hewitt. Second race: 1, Cooper; 2, York; 3, West; 4, Hewitt. Third race: 1, Cooper; 2, York; 3, West; 4, Hewitt.
Final championship positions. Experts: Banwell 1349 pts, Kensington 1336, Rowe 1259. Seniors: Veale 1342, Watkins 1247, J Cunningham 1084. Junior 125cc: Chanter 1356, Dunn 1255, Bovy 1211. Open championship: Loxley 1356, Jones 1336, M Yelland 1167. Inter juniors 9-13 years: Veale 1390, West 1376, Boyce 1335. 14-17 years: B Gibbons 1430, L Parrish 1430, H Jones 1218.
Wells and District MCC Wessex Centre Championship Timed and Observation Trial at Rookham, Somerset. Winner: J Cross (Gas Gas) completed 9 laps, lost 10 marks on time and 48 on observation = 58 marks lost. Runner-up: A Frost (Gas Gas) 9l, 12+65=77. First class awards: J Hamblin (Sherco) 9l, 12+66=78; S Prideaux (Sherco) 9l, 0+79=79; P Manning (Beta) 9l, 90+14=104; J Wilkins (Sherco) 9l, 1+112=113. Non-expert award: M Lewis (Sherco) 7l, 12+118=130. Novice: A Williams (Montesa) 5l, 8+93=101. Enduro class awards: M Copeland (KTM) 8l, 18+179=197; T Smith (KTM) 7l, 7+130=137.
Kingswood MCC Trial at Cromhall, South Gloucestershire. Expert class awards: L Hassall (Gas Gas) 33 marks lost; K Brain (Gas Gas) 42; F Adams (Montesa) 54. Youth experts: O Humphris (Beta) 55; J Golding (Gas Gas) 100; T Culliford (Sherco) 142. Clubman expert: M Holmes (Gas Gas) 72; L Scott (Gas Gas) 112. Clubman: M Walker (Gas Gas) 77; R Knott (Beta) 80; M Hanney (Beta) 85. Novice: A Humphris (Sherco) 58; I Graham (Beta) 6; J Brooker (Gas Gas) 64.