Four Rounds had so far passed in the 2015 Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championship and when the action reached the Suffolk track of Blaxhall, the lead of the MX2 championship looked poised to swing in the direction of Max Anstie. Ever since the Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki MXGP rider joined the series at Lyng following injury, Anstie had blitzed the competition, securing six wins from six races, before being outshone by the guest entry, multiple World MX2 Champion Jeffrey Herlings at the last round at Hawkstone Park. In taking 216 points from a possible 225, Anstie had closed to within eight points of current championship leader, Steven Lenoir, on the Dyer and Butler KTM. A run of podiums in recent meetings had lifted the Frenchman ahead of Ben Watson’s Hitachi Construction Machinery REVO KTM, but it was only a matter of time before Anstie secured the championship lead. The sandy Blaxhall circuit would pose a challenge for the MX2 class in its debut on the Maxxis calendar, as the flowing circuit with a host of natural undulation, could provide a technical, yet entertaining encounter. Whilst there was going to be a lot of focus on how Lenoir, Anstie and Watson would tackle Blaxhall, the riders in fourth and fifth place had potential to cause an upset. Fourth was Scotland’s Bryan Mackenzie on the Pendrich Heights Services Kawasaki and he entered Blaxhall only two points adrift of Watson, whilst European Championship leader Adam Sterry lied fifth on 158 points for the Wilvo Forkrent KTM team. A strong weekend at Blaxhall would had easily brought MacKenzie and Sterry into contention, but within MX2, there were many others like Liam Knight (Dyer & Butler KTM), Carlton Husband (MBO Power ASA Scaffolding Yamaha), Harri Kullas (Heads & All Threads Suzuki), Steven Clarke (Apico Husqvarna) and Jake Milward (Verde Sports Racing) to name a few who could take points from any of the top five riders.
Lenoir Just loses out in Tough First Moto.
The first Moto of the weekend for the MX2 class got underway after a chaotic MXY2 race, showing just how difficult the Blaxhall track would be over the course of a race. With Anstie first to the gates, the first holeshot actually went to the Apico Husqvarna of Steven Clarke, who got out of the gates well to lead series leader, Steven Lenoir. As Anstie got swallowed up mid pack and found himself just inside the top ten, Lenoir made the most of a faster KTM to dispose of Jordan Booker for second and then Steven Clarke for the lead. The first few official laps showed how comfortable Steven Lenoir was in his quest for his first victory of 2015, however by lap three; he and Clarke were looking over their shoulders with Anstie closing in. It didn’t take long for Steven Clarke to drop to third with Anstie a lot quicker on the Kawasaki; however the challenge to drop Lenoir took a lot longer than expected. By the mid way mark of the Moto, the two went side by side over most of the jumps, before a fall for Anstie gave Lenoir an opportunity for his first 2015 MX2 victory. Anstie recovered from the fall to lie third and started to chase down Steven Clarke again. In pulling clear from Bryan MacKenzie and Adam Sterry, Anstie pushed as hard as he could and quickly decreased the margin at every timing sector around Blaxhall. Into the closing stages, Anstie made his move on Lenoir and ended all hopes of victory for the KTM rider in MX2 moto one, as the Kawasaki disappeared to secure victory by over seven seconds. Lenoir came home in second, comfortably ahead of Clarke, who fought on to keep MacKenzie off a podium finish at the flag.
MX2, Blaxhall – Moto 1 Top Five:
- Max Anstie (No.99 – Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki) = 13 Laps = 23:50.836s
- Steven Lenoir (No.685 – Dyer & Butler KTM) = +7.280s
- Steven Clarke (No.511 – Apico Husqvarna) = +13.547s
- Bryan MacKenzie (No.121 – Pendrich Heights Services Kawasaki) = +16.345s
- Adam Sterry (No.811 – Wilvo Forkrent KTM) = +26.032s
Anstie Rides to Perfection to Double up at Blaxhall
With the conditions taking a turn for the worse during the second MXY2 race and softening the Blaxhall sand, the MX2 riders were faced with a slightly different track to what they faced in Moto one. This was no problem though for Max Anstie, as the Kawasaki rider grabbed the holeshot and broke away from the chasing Steven Lenoir. With Anstie and Lenoir both in control of their position, the focus switched to the chasing pack, which included an improving Ben Watson and a consistent Adam Sterry, who were both slugging it out on the KTMs. With the two of these challenging one another, closing in was the Yamaha of Lewis Trickett, but he unfortunately slipped back as the race went on and would finish down in eighth. With Trickett falling down the order, finishing ahead of team mate Carlton Husband, this allowed Steven Clarke and Bryan MacKenzie to continue their fight from Moto 1 and jump up the order. The scrap between Clarke and MacKenzie though wasn’t so straight forward, as the Hitachi Construction Machinery Revo KTM of James Cottrell joined in, splitting the pair and putting two Hitachi Construction Machinery Revo KTMs within the top ten. This was Cottrell home track and the Ipswich man was riding well after a lengthy spell on the side-lines through injury. Cottrell was at one stage ahead of Clarke, but come the flag would lose out and slip to sixth. Back at the front, Max Anstie had broken out a twenty second advantage over Lenoir, who also had pulled well clear of Watson and Sterry. The fight for third was ended in the final stages when Adam Sterry made an error on a take off to a jump, dropping away from Watson and having to settle for fourth, just a few second ahead of Clarke.
MX2, Blaxhall – Moto 2 Top Five:
- Max Anstie (No.99 – Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki) = 13 Laps = 24:29.445
- Steven Lenoir (No.685 – Dyer & Butler KTM) = +23.415s
- Ben Watson (No.919 – Hitachi Construction Machinery Revo KTM UK) = +33.478s
- Adam Sterry (No.811 – Wilvo Forkrent KTM) = +42.958s
- Steven Clarke (No.511 – Apico Husqvarna) = +47.802s
Mistake for Lenoir Hands Anstie the Championship Lead
The final Moto of the weekend suffered a lengthy delay at Blaxhall with Medical personal away from the circuit, but once things got underway, Max Anstie was gunning for the lead of the MX2 series, with victory in his sights. A quick getaway set up Anstie perfectly but Steven Clarke got another brilliant start, to challenge the Kawasaki rider over the first section of the track. As Anstie held Clarke in second, the biggest shock came a bit further back, when Steven Lenoir crashed after a coming together with Bryan MacKenzie. Once Lenoir recovered, the Frenchman found himself down in twenty-fifth, but an excellent fight back would see him come home in eighth and limit the damage with Anstie out front. As Anstie pulled away from the chasing pack, the ever improving Ben Watson grabbed second from Steven Clarke, showing that he had gotten stronger as the meeting went on. Clarke rode well for third but came under pressure from the reigning MX2 champion Matiss Karro, who was having his strongest ride on the Route 77 Energy MVRD Honda since returning from injury. Knowing that the defence of his title hadn’t gone to plan in 2015, it was good to see Karro competing within the top five and riding how a champion should. Karro rode well in the final moto to pull a gap to Adam Sterry in fifth and ended the Blaxhall meeting tenth overall.
MX2, Blaxhall – Moto 3 Top Five:
- Max Anstie (No.99 – Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki) = 13 Laps = 24:46.584
- Ben Watson (No.919 – Hitachi Construction Machinery Revo KTM UK) = +32.485s
- Steven Clarke (No.511 – Apico Husqvarna) = +35.928s
- Matiss Karro (No.1 – Route 77 Energy MVRD Honda) = 37.747s
- Adam Sterry (No.811 – Wilvo Forkrent KTM) = +55.505s
Coming away from Blaxhall with three wins and a total of 75 points to his name, Max Anstie now held a ten point margin in the MX2 championship, as the season headed for Swindon’s Foxhill Moto Park on the 19th July 2015. The hard surface at Foxhill would definitely host another thriller in the 2015 Maxxis British Motocross Championship, with this being the sixth round of eight. With Steven Lenoir losing a lot of ground to Anstie in the MX2 standings after his crash in race three at Blaxhall, The Frenchmen would be looking for a massive fight back, in an attempt to secure his first win of the season. Limiting the damage of his cash in Moto three with a eighth place finish, Lenoir secured the honour of second at Blaxhall, slightly ahead of Steven Clarke. The Apico Husqvarna rider took his best result to date in the 2015 MX2 championship with Moto 2 being his worse result of fifth, after taking third in both the first and last Motos. In terms of the championship with five rounds completed, the ten looked as follows:
- Max Anstie (No.99 – Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki) = 291 Pts
- Steven Lenoir (No.685 – Dyer & Butler KTM) = 281 Pts
- Ben Watson (No.919 – Hitachi Construction Machinery Revo KTM UK) = 220 Pts
- Bryan MacKenzie (No.121 – Pendrich Heights Services Kawasaki) = 209 Pts
- Adam Sterry (No.811 – Wilvo Forkrent KTM) = 208 Pts
- Steven Clarke (No.511 – Apico Husqvarna) = 154 Pts
- Carlton Husband (No.6 – MBO Power ASA Scaffolding Yamaha Racing) = 163 Pts
- Lewis Trickett (No.214 – MBO Power ASA Scaffolding Yamaha Racing) = 127 Pts
- Liam Knight (No.134 – Dyer & Butler KTM) = 117 Pts
- Harri Kullas (No.51 – Heads & All Threads Suzuki) = 116 Pts
Written and Produced by Chris Collier and Cheryl Closs