The 2019 Apico 2-Stroke Festival kicked into life over the Whitsun bank holiday weekend, welcoming a good turnout of enthusiastic riders and their families. A tiny drop of rain on Saturday afternoon mixed with beautiful Kent sunshine to produce perfect race conditions at Sellindge MX, and an opening round to remember.
Five blocks of racing were completed over the two-day event, catering for riders from as young as six-years in the auto class, right the way through to those more mature riders (in years anyway…) in the Evo.
Maximum scores featured across several classes with 125 Rookie Jack Grayshon, 125 British James Cottrell, 250 British Brad Wheeler, BW85 Sam Atkinson, 65cc Archy Atkinson, and Super Evo British Billy Mackenzie each taking five wins apiece.
It was also hugely-successful on the Family front, with parents and siblings switching between racing and supporting their relatives out on track. One such family was the Baum crew who had Leigh in the 250 Fast group (third), Nicholas in the Evo (fifth), Harason in the 65s (fourth) and young Franki in the Auto (seventh). Then Steve Bixby managed to finish runner up in the 250 British Championship, whilst cheering on his lad Sonny to fourth in the Autos.
And so to the racing…
In the 125 Rookie class, Apico Racing-backed rider Grayshon was in outstanding form to win all five races ahead of hard-charging Ben White in second and Billy Collins in third. The 125 Fast class produced tight and exciting battles in five action-packed races. The overall winner for round one is Ben Reeves, who took the honours from Sean Dath and Guy Raines.
With the newly-introduced 125 ACU British championship up for grabs in 2019, the action was tight through all blocks of racing. Cottrell made a return to the track after a few years of retirement, and looked in amazing form to rip to a five-race maximum overall win. He needed to be in top form to stay ahead of Jordan Keogh who travelled across from Ireland, jumped on an unfamiliar machine and was straightaway on the pipe and up in second.
Behind them was 125 2-stroke specialist Ashley Crossley who put in a supreme performance to take the third step of the podium, while Chuck Davies was unlucky to miss the podium, but did sterling work to secure fourth. The final two rounds are going to be super close for the chase for this championship.
The 250 Fast class was just as competitive. Ady Peedle took four out of the five races to walk away as the round winner. Craig Cording and Leigh Baum followed closely in second and third respectively.
A special mention to Jacob Grossman who crossed the finish line in first place in the final race of the day.
As with the 125s, the 250s made a debut appearance with the new 250 ACU British championship. Wheeler was in exhilarating form from the word go, taking all five race wins to kickstart his challenge for the title in the best possible way. Veteran 2-stroke ace Bixby stuck to the task in hand, even after a nasty crash in the final race, to finish in an impressive second place. Ryan Butler and Luke Gidney tied on points for third with Butler taking the final podium spot on countback.
The SW85 class produced fun and entertaining races watched by a considerable crowd on both Saturday and Sunday. Round 1 podium finishers were Kyron Carron in the top spot, Ryan Waggot in second and Charlie Hucklebridge third. Sam Atkinson was the rider to catch in the BW85 class, Sam took five wins from hard-chasing Ben Pratt in second and Ezra Blackwell in third. At the end of the season Apico Racing will select one lucky rider for a £5000 2020 sponsorship package, so there’s everything for these young guys to play for, and plenty of time to impress in the final two rounds.
Archy Atkinson was another one to impress in the 65cc class. Austin Beasty chased hard over the two days for second though, and Marley Ray Tupper did the same to finish third.
The introduction of a new Autos class for 2019, kept the racing fresh and paved the way for future stars of the sport to showcase their skills. Tyler Rogers and Charlie Crampton shared race wins with Rogers finishing just five points ahead of Crampton after five tough races. Henry Lewis stuck to the task in hand and finished a respectable third, with the aforementioned Sonny Bixby running a solid race and fourth overall.
The third British title up for grabs in 2019 is the EVO class. These guys gave it everything and the racing was as intense as it was brilliant to watch. George Gough just did enough to take the overall from veterans Brian Wheeler in second and Jon Barfoot in third; the scene is set for the final two rounds to go to the wire.
All eyes were on the Super EVO British championship opening round, the main reason being that former British MX Champ and MXGP winner Billy Mackenzie was back racing a 500cc Honda. Mackenzie took a clean scorecard and looked in cruise control throughout the two days. James Lassu did his best to stay with the flying Scotsman and finished second just ahead of Daryl Hall in third.
The Apico 2-Stroke Festival now heads to Ironworks in Middlesborough on August 3-4.
Keep your eyes on the website for entry details for round two;