A hot and sunny day, in fact the second hottest of the year, greeted the Monster Energy Bike
It Yamaha team (the team name in British champs). They arrived for round one of the Maxxis
British Championship at FatCat, Doncaster with a track of deep sand, a factor many riders
would consider a very demanding track.
In the first mx2 qualifying race, the three MX2 Monster Energy Bike It Yamaha riders put in
the top three qualifying times and in the superpole Zach and Arnaud went 1, 2 with Mel in 4th.
The first race saw Arnaud Tonus gain the holeshot, leading for two laps before being passed
by his teammate, Zach Osborne, with Zach leading for the next six laps before Tonus overtook
him again to take the win. Mel Pocock made his way from 7th to 3rd before crashing on the
last lap, recovering quickly and leaving him in 5th. Zach and Arnaud finished over 23 seconds
ahead of 3rd place, a trend that continued for the rest of the day.
Race two saw Zach gaining the holeshot with Mel snapping at his heels, Arnaud Tonus got
a bad start, moving up from 6th to 3rd on the first lap before crashing, resulting in a heavy
fall, despite trying to ride another lap Tonus felt it was best not to risk carrying on whilst a
little dazed. Zach was on great form as he led for the entire race, followed by an amazing
performance by his teammate Mel Pocock who looked more than comfortable holding 2nd for
the whole race, finishing 15 seconds ahead of third place Elliot Banks Browne.
The third and final race saw Tonus back on top form, powering his Cosworth tuned Yamaha
250f to the front of the pack to gain another holeshot. Tonus lead for four laps before Zach
closed the gap down and made a good pass to take the lead, pulling away from Tonus it looked
like Zach was on for his 2nd win of the day. Not to be outdone the reigning British Champion, Tonus
started to battle back and the pair thrilled the crowd with their amazing skills and speed as the
now demanding track really allowed them to show why they are World champion contenders.
Tonus just took the win by 2 seconds ahead of Zach with both finishing one and a half minutes
ahead of Mel Pocock who was 20 second ahead of Elliot Banks Browne, giving the team a 1, 2,
3 in the last race.
Zach took the overall podium first with teammate Mel taking second place. Despite Arnaud’s
mishap in the second race he still finished in fourth overall, only 1 point behind the 3rd place,
narrowly missing an all Monster Energy Bike It Yamaha podium.
The MX1 class saw Shaun Simpson put in a sterling first race on his factory Yamaha powered
engine, finishing 2nd only behind the day’s superstar, Kevin Strijbos. Starting in sixth in the
second race and dropping down a place by the third lap, Shaun fought his way back into fourth
showing good stamina and speed in the latter part of the race.
A pile up on the first corner hampered Shaun in race three gave him a big task to do as he
fought his way through the unrelenting pack, working his way up from 25th place to 5th in a
heroic effort. Unfortunately for Shaun his hard work was not enough to take him to the podium
in the first round of the Maxxis British Championship, however he finished only 2 points behind
third place overall. Shaun’s looking forward to Canada Heights where he’s always ridden well.
It was a fantastic day, yes we are expected to win in the UK but it’s motorsport and so nothing
is fact until the flag is waved! It was a demanding track on the riders and bikes and apart from
Arnaud’s fall we would have had a 1,2,3 podium in MX2 which would have been awesome
as many were surprised at Mel’s speed since last year. The team has worked hard over the
winter and lead mechanic Ben Popperwell has excelled all expectations with his engine and
suspension work for the team, from a school leaver to now he had risen to ever task well and
12 years later he is a great asset for me to have.