UK Moto Gymkhana Championship 2017
Round 4 - Donington Park (Heritage Loop)
Well could it get any closer at the top of UK MotoGymkhana? After the fourth round at Donington Park we are set up for a winner takes all situation in both the expert and novice classes. Yet again by some miracle we had another sunny dry day for the penultimate round of the championship, is it for too much to hope we can complete the season without a wet round. This month's course was quite open with a couple of deceptively simple obstacles just waiting to catch competitors out. First out were the novice class who generally found the course simple enough to complete but more difficult to do quickly. A great round by Noddy Brown put him 5 seconds in the lead in the battle of the sports 600s, CBR600 besting R6 courtesy of Steve Laughton. Current novice championship leader Ian Handley got a rare wrong course, perhaps the pressure of only needing one more ranking point for promotion to the next class was getting to him.
There was a bit of a shock in the experts with current championship leader Mark Wraith getting a wrong course, something rare.
Rob Fox was upping the pressure with a fast aggressive run putting him well ahead of Ian Ashford and Justin Leary, both on CBR600RRs.
Despite the course being relatively simple there were 7 wrong courses, mainly for minor errors rather than getting lost. And so on to the second attack, with the pressure on who would crack and who would step up their game.
After a fast first run but with a minor course error Rob Alexander put in a storming run to place second, his aggressive style is great to watch too. Steve Laughton was on the podium again in third, he's becoming a regular on the podium this year. Ian Handley was on an absolute blinder until he pushed the front just a fraction too hard. In slow motion the tyre refused to grip and down he went. Jumping up like a jack in the box Ian was back on the bike in double quick time, finishing only 3 seconds off the class win including falling off and picking it back up.
And so to the final run for the experts. In third place was Andrew Rayfield with his MT09, putting right the small mistake he made in round 1. Mark Wraith had a much better run forcing himself up to second place on the DRZ400.
One championship class was settled, Joanna Noble Finch is now unbeatable in the women's class, some minor mods to her bike have made a big difference.
In the Novice class there are still 3 riders with a mathematical chance of winning, Ian Handley leads Steve Laughton by just 2 points. With one score to drop Steve has a poorer score to drop so it would pretty much be winner takes all if it wasn't for Paul Brown who is 7 points off the lead. However he missed one round so doesn't have a poor score to drop. If he beats the other two he could well win it.
The Expert class is just as close, Rob Fox has moved into the lead by one single point. Again it's more or less winner takes all for the final round at Donington in a month's time. This is the closest year we've had, with so much to play for in the last round the pressure is on. Who will win the experts, who will win the novices, will Ian Handley get that last ranking point? The pressure is on, we can't wait.
The final round is back at Donington on Saturday 7th October, why not come along to watch as they fight it out for the British title.
Championship points going into last round.
Lowest scoring round will be dropped for each rider at round 5