Rain Stops Play at a Muddy ORMS Team Event

Report by Chris Czora, Pictures by Roy Edwards Photography.

The winning Culham Team.
            In just a few years, the Off-Road Motorsport UK (ORMS) Team Event has become a hotly contested prize at the end of the motocross season. 2019 was no exception as over 180 riders descended on the Milton Malsor circuit for the showdown. Riders represented six teams from across the UK, with the MCCNI team travelling across the sea from Northern Ireland to the Northamptonshire circuit.
            Riders were to compete in five races per class over the weekend, with three motos on Saturday. Each team could enter up to six riders per class, with the most points overall taking the victory.
            Teams were required to drop their sixth-place score. This meant that should a team be running strongly in a particular class, even the rider whose score was to be dropped had a critical part to play, as they still had the opportunity to take points away from rival teams. 
            ORMS pride themselves on running a good event, and with the circuit prepared well, the scene was set. However the weather threatened to put a spanner in the works with heavy rain on Friday afternoon leaving the track very muddy for Saturday’s racing. Practice took place on a very muddy, but rapidly drying track. However, there were still delays with struggling riders getting stuck out on the track. After the first couple of races, there were calls to cancel the meeting. However, the ORMS crew were made of stern stuff, and opted to persevere with the event. This proved to be the right decision, as, despite the track remaining quite muddy, it dried out to allow some good racing to take place, albeit with a few gnarly ruts to catch out the unaware!
           Pre-race paddock gossip saw the two local teams, Coventry Juniors and Culham MX Park as pre-event favourites, with Coventry’s strong youth set up going against an outstanding line up of Adult riders for Culham.
           However, the big attraction of a team event is that it isn’t always the race winning riders who win the class, quite often the midfield and backmarkers can make a huge difference to swing the event in their team’s favour. So it was that the teams got behind their riders, with more than a few riders further down the field later commenting on how great the support was!

 

Neal Prince
             The event kicked off with the MX2 class, as Cotswold’s Rob Yates went to battle with YMSA’s Corey Nemeth. The two had a close battle. However, Yates, who has enjoyed a good season in the Maxxis British Championship, gave Cotswolds a boost with three moto wins. Nemeth ran him close in moto three, and with a teammate, Graham Clarke, helped YMSA grab some points, the team up against it after several retirements in other race classes. Taking a narrow class victory however was Coventry, with Chuck Davies, Mitchell Warhurst, Scott Hambridge and Elliot Pugh recording good finishes, along with Ricky Leatherby, who was hit with a DNF in moto 3.
            MX1 saw Culham enter a solid line up, with fan-favourite Neville Bradshaw dragging out one of his two-stroke arsenal to do battle. Bradshaw kept the leaders honest, but it was Culham teammate Ashley Thomas who took the opening two moto wins, with Jamie Skuse taking the third win. Bradshaw suffered a DNF in moto three, but Culham were able to increase their advantage, with Tyron Cleaver, Cody Ling and John Barnes all finishing well.
           The Veterans class saw another notable name amongst the line-up, as former British Champion Neil Prince took to the line for Culham. Prince was looking after his son Chad in the Auto class, and nowadays is better known as a face in the pits, as a long-time team manager and currently mentor to young hotshot Joel Rizzi. However, once out on the track, Prince showed he still has the skills as a rider, coping well in the tough conditions on his 125 KTM to take three strong wins. Team-mate Laurence Wiltshire kept him honest at times, while Ricky Watt weighed in with some good scores for Northern Ireland.

Jacob Andrews and James McCann
            It was a battle between Coventry and Culham in the Clubman class, as Coventry’s Karl Jenkinson took the first moto, with Leo Shaw, Tom Hambridge and Dan Grimshaw running well, and Jack Ratcliffe grabbing some midfield points. However, Culham’s Jordan Cole took the final two wins, and the supporting cast of Liam Gunning, Ryan Woods, Gian Rizkalla and Russell Diggin helped pack out the top dozen places, while John Flynn took points away from other teams, Culham eventually winning a close Clubman battle by 25 points. 
            One of the new teams in 2019 was the ‘Lilley’s Cider Scrumpy Scramblers’. Formed by James Millard, who usually runs the very popular Lilley’s Cider Holeshot Bar at the Bridgestone Masters championship, the team posted some excellent results across the race classes but were perhaps hampered by a bit of bad luck with some falls and mechanical failures. However, MXY2 was to be their moment of glory. Aaron Patstone took the first MXY2 moto for Coventry, while Preston Williams fought back for Culham with the final two moto wins. But consistency paid off for the Scrumpy Scramblers, with Liam Gale, Ross Millard and Billy Duke grabbing consistently strong finishes, while Sonny Wildman and Callum Baldwin also posted good finishes across the day.
            Big Wheel 85s saw three different moto winners, as Ben Mustoe took a race win for Cotswolds, and Charlie Irwin took the last race win for MCCNI. However, Charlie Reynolds took the first win for Culham, with two third places, with the team of Alby Smith, Ollie Rigby, James Buchan, Louie Evans and Charlie Owen helping Culham to a solid class win over their nearest rivals, MCCNI.
            It was the Northern Ireland squad who grabbed the glory in Small Wheel 85s however, with Alex Henderson their star rider, as he took three solid wins for MCCNI. That meant little with an excellent supporting cast, yet, and Gabriels Golturenko, Ryan Lowe, Liam Johnston, Ross Martin and Will Chambers all had their part to play as MCCNI romped to an awe-inspiring 525 points. Cotswolds ran well with Gus Mustoe, narrowly holding off Coventry for second.

Karl Jenkinson leads the clubmans race
           The day was a little more difficult for the smaller bikes. Both classes were held later in the race programme with 65s having a very tough morning practice session. It was decided for Auto racing to be postponed, with the track simply too muddy for most of the smaller riders. The Auto action did resume a little later, however, on a shortened circuit. With both races taking place, later on, it did mean they were racing against the sunset, and with daylight failing, the final races for the mini warriors were cancelled, meaning 65s and Autos competed in two races only.
          This lousy luck did work against Coventry, whose 65 line up seemed particularly strong. Drew Stock was the rider to beat, coping well in the tough conditions to take two wins, followed by teammate Blake Ward-Clarke to make it a Coventry 1-2. Harley Prickett and Rylee Francis put in some god performances for Culham, however the remaining Coventry team of Alfie Best, Jack Leese, Connor Gledhill and Zachary Howells all played their part as Coventry took a strong class win. Special credit must be made for the temerity of the 65 riders in such tough conditions. Despite it being very hard for the riders, there were very few retirements, far less than some of their adult counterparts!
          The patient Autos certainly paid their part in the morning cheering on their older teammates. However, they finally got their turn on the track, the shortened circuit including some grass-land sections allowing them to turn the throttle and put in some good racing. Casey Lister took two wins for Coventry, with teammate Olivia Reynolds making it a 1-2 in the second race. However, teamwork made the dream work for Northern Ireland, as the MCCNI riders of Hayden Gibson, Ryan Jackson and Nathan Austin packed out the top six in moto 2, swinging the class towards MCCNI. James McCann played his part with a fifth in moto one, while Kyle Graham put in a brace of top-ten finishes to grab some essential points, MCCNI, eventually grabbing the win from Coventry despite winning neither race.

Rob Yates
             Saturday’s race action finished with the track looking the best it had all day, but with the threat of heavy rain overnight. It’s a credit to the organisers that they didn’t live their life through a weather app, and decided to wait until Sunday and see how the track looked. 
            Sadly, the rain was even heavier than expected, and teams woke up to a paddock submerged in water, with the track looking very wet, big pools of standing water along with very sloppy mud in places. Had the rain abated, there may have been a chance of clearing up the circuit, but with conditions worsening, it was unreasonable to expect marshals and medics to patrol the circuit, and an early decision was made to abandon Sunday’s racing.
           Culham’s excellent performances in the Adult class, combined with the Big Wheel 85 win and some very strong Youth scores gave them the championship with 3945 points. Coventry ran them close, but perhaps the missing 65 and Auto race stopped them from getting closer, they took second with 3779. MCCNI’s two-class victories meant they made the long journey home with third place, while Cotswolds were not too far behind. Scrumpy Scramblers rode well to take fifth, while YMSA took the final spot, but credit should be given to their riders who kept going.
           Special mention should be made to those to make the awards ceremony a good one, with a cavalcade of whistles, air horns and even a chainsaw motor giving proceedings a Flemish feel.
           And huge credit should be given to the volunteers from the YMSA and Coventry teams who assisted the start gate crew in packing the gate away after the cancellation. It was a messy job, but someone had to do it!

Results

2019 ORMS Team Event:
1: Culham MX Park: 3945
2: Coventry Junior MX: 3779 
3: MCCNI: 3370
4: Cotswold Youth & AMX Club: 2988
5: Lilley’s Cider Scrumpy Scramblers: 2148
6: YMSA Midlands: 912

Class Results

MX1:
1: Culham: 583
2: MCCNI: 443
3: Coventry: 416
4: Costwold: 345
5: Scrumpy Scramblers: 114
6: YMSA: 64

MX2:
1: Coventry: 485
2: Culham: 457
3: Cotswold: 396
4: MCCNI: 324
5: YMSA: 182
6: Scrumpy Scramblers: 59

Vets:
1: Culham: 514
2: Coventry: 457
3: Cotswold: 349
4: Scrumpy Scramblers: 345
5: MCCNI: 330
6: YMSA: 94

Clubman:
1: Culham: 527
2: Coventry: 502
3: MCCNI: 360
4: Cotswold: 309
5: Scrumpy Scramblers: 264
6: YMSA: 35

MXY2:
1: Scrumpy Scramblers: 472
2: Coventry: 430
3: Culham: 410
4: Cotswold: 363
5: MCCNI: 318
6: YMSA: 244

Big Wheel 85:
1: Culham: 520
2: MCCNI: 467
3: Cotswold: 457
4: Coventry: 397
5: Scrumpy Scramblers: 209
6: YMSA: 130

Small Wheel 85:
1: MCCNI: 525
2: Cotswold: 405
3: Coventry: 400
4: Culham: 391
5: Scrumpy Scramblers: 334
6: YMSA: 76

65 Juniors:
1: Coventry: 376
2: Culham: 308
3: MCCNI: 259
4: Cotswold & Scrumpy Scramblers: 169 

Autos: 
1: MCCNI: 344
2: Coventry: 316
3: Culham: 235
4: Cotswold: 197
5: Scrumpy Scramblers: 182
6: YMSA: 87