Toughsheet

Na­tional Twin­shock Cham­pi­onship Sea­son Re­view A quar­ter of a cen­tury on…

Classic Dirtbike - - Sporting Action - Words: Ge­off Shut­tle­worth Pics: Louise Croome – LMX Photos

The Toughsheet Na­tional Twin­shock MX Cham­pi­onships cel­e­brated its 25th an­niver­sary in style... which isn’t bad for a few phone calls back in 1992 be­tween Alan Hardy, Ken Shut­tle­worth and Bill Brown.

The 2016 sea­son had six rounds, start­ing over Easter at the all-weather Polesworth cir­cuit in Stafford­shire. The sec­ond round, which in­cor­po­rated the Matt Mur­phy Me­mo­rial Meet­ing, was at the tough but pop­u­lar Hawk­stone Park venue, near Shrews­bury. From there the ac­tion moved to Gale Com­mon, Garstang, and Warm­ing­ham Lane with the Pon­tri­las, Here­ford­shire meet dropped to one day thanks to the weather…

Moire than 250 riders signed up for the se­ries, with some new faces mix­ing it with all the reg­u­lars.

In the Bill Brown-spon­sored Wulf­s­port Ex­perts, Lee Hol­land on his all new YVMX Honda built by Andy Cleaver, put down his marker, which was to last all sea­son, by tak­ing all three wins at Polesworth and Hawk­stone. Al­though he was beaten at Gale Com­mon by reign­ing cham­pion Michael Smith, Lee went on to take ev­ery other round to be­come the new Na­tional Twin­shock cham­pion.

The Steve James-sup­ported LPE Club­man class had a good mix­ture of new young blood and some older heads who had years of ex­pe­ri­ence. County Durham’s Dean Gray was the man to beat, al­though he did miss round one, which gave the oth­ers a head start. Here­ford’s Matt Ben­nett held the lead un­til round five, but this was over­turned by the time the se­ries reached Pon­tri­las, and Dean Gray took the ti­tle by just eight points from Ben­nett.

The In­ter­me­di­ates class was spon­sored by Stu­art Miller’s CI Sport, and all the win­ter prac­tise paid off for Jamie Bid­dulph, as he took the ti­tle through speed and sheer con­sis­tency.

MD Rac­ing Prod­ucts spon­sored the Over 50s and 60s classes, and in the over 50s class it was a duel all sea­son be­tween reign­ing cham­pion Alan Bott and the ev­er­green Pete Mathia. Mathia made sure of his sev­enth record-break­ing twin­shock ti­tle by tak­ing the over­all win at the fi­nal round.

As time goes by, and so we all get that bit older, it meant there was an even big­ger lineup of over 60s fight­ing for a ti­tle in 2016. And it all came down to the fi­nal round where Alan Ham­bridge se­cured enough points to hold off the chal­lenge of Gra­ham Chal­lis to take the cham­pi­onship by a slen­der seven points. Phil Wilkes rounded off the podium in third, just ahead of Davie Robb, Steve Mit­ton and Bill Brown. Re­spect to them all.

Fal­con Shocks again spon­sored the 250 class and John Ben­nett, who’s rid­den in ev­ery se­ries, won his third 250 ti­tle. A new spon­sor, MRH Con­sul­tants, backed the 125s for 2016 while Woodys Vin­tage Honda spon­sored the Evo­lu­tion class. It all came down to the fi­nal round to sort out the vic­tor as Conor Smith took a sin­gle point ad­van­tage over Michael Smith to Pon­tri­las. And it was Conor who stepped up by tak­ing two wins to Michael’s one, to take his first Evo ti­tle.

So that was an­other great sea­son and our thanks go to the riders, spon­sors, clubs, sec­re­taries, first aid, mar­shals and helpers, and we look for­ward to more in 2017.

Con­nor Smith was the MRH 125 Evo champ. In­ter­me­di­ate Champ Jamie Bid­dulph. Over 50s champ Pete Mathia fly­ing high on the way to a win.

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