Event Reports


Cusses Gorse, 3 April
Words: Rob McDonnell
Pictures: Paul Ervine

Paul Holmes began the defence of his ATVs Only British Quad Championship with overall victory at Cusses Gorse on Sunday despite not winning any of the three heats in a highly competitive field.

The field at turn one, including Murray Graham (96) and Mark McLernon (919) and Dean Colhoun (43)

Race wins instead went to French star Jeremie Warnia, Northern Ireland’s Mark McLernon and England’s George Callaway, but it was Holmes sheer consistency that won the day.

The 28-year-old Yorkshireman took third in the opener, improved to second in race two, which he repeated in race three.

“I rode far too tense in the first race,” admitted Holmes, “but I enjoyed it and rode much better in races two and three. I also went much better here than last year, which was a big positive for me, so I’m looking forward to the rest of the year now.”

Mark McLernon (left) and Paul Holmes neck and neck in race two

From qualifying it was clear things would be tight with less than a second splitting a top six of McLernon, Holmes, Warnia, Justin Reid, Callaway and Leon

However, when the big field fired off in race, they all had to play second fiddle to the lone Scot in the field, 17-year-old Murray Graham, who set a stinging early pace on his Walsh Honda, which also secured him the fastest lap of the race.

However an electrical problem eventually forced him out, and a jarred wrist in race two, after coming up short on one of Cusses’ big table tops, ended his day. But he showed he will be one to watch.

Former Champion Justin Reid on route to second in race one

In the early laps Graham had been holding off a fierce scrap, which included Holmes, Callaway, Reid, McLernon and Warnia.

By mid-race Warnia had worked his way to the front and from there eased out a six second winning margin, however the race for second remained keen with Reid initially making it his own before a late charge from Holmes reduced the gap to two and half seconds at the flag.

The second race was halted after a large pile-up at turn one in which Warnia came out worse. A heavy bang to the head and suspected wrist fracture meant he was ruled out of the restart (and the meeting).

Reigning champion Paul Holmes on his way to victory

At the restart it was McLernon who just edged the holeshot, with Graham and Homes doing the chasing. With Graham’s demise Holmes took up the challenge to the leader, which at two-thirds distance had them, neck and neck. However, McLernon, who had earlier set the quickest lap, dug deep and eventually held in for a two second win.

Ten seconds back Callaway held on for third while Rogers had a great ride to fourth. However, he went one better in the third race to take a third – this despite being late to the line after bike gremlins saw him have to start from row two!

Race three winner George Callaway

Victory in race three though went to Callaway, which helped him secure second overall. McLernon had again taken the holeshot, however by lap three Holmes had taken over at the front before Callaway eased his way through the pack to take up the lead on lap ten and set the fastest lap. From there he eased away to win by over eight seconds.

Holmes, held on to second ahead of the impressive Rogers, with Reid fourth and McLernon fading to fifth, which was enough, secure him third overall.

In the Willcock Holeformers Under 21 class Rogers’ superb form meant he secured maximum points ahead of reigning champion Dean Colhoun who never really challenged the sharp end of the field as he works to get the suspension his new WSP Husky set up to his liking.

Luke Cooper, another pre-race favourite, could only manage eight in the Under 21s and 22nd overall after a massive crash in race two left in battered and bruised.

In the Komfort Services Rookie Championship 19-year-old Lithuanian Domantas Vaznys just edged southern Ireland’s Kyle Murphy by a single point, with 16-year old Welshman Dafydd Davies in third just four points further back.

In the Komfort Services Vets Cup Bunce, who just slips into the over 30s category, ran out winner by three points over Reid, with one of the British Championship’s main sponsors, Andrew Willcock, securing third overall thanks to three consistent finishes while others in the class dropped points due to DNFs.

A quality 17-strong line-up in the ZIP Challenge support championship saw George Day set a strong pace that would have seen him sniffing around the top 10 in the full British Championship. He qualified almost three seconds quicker than the field, and then won all three races by a good margin, with the lowest being in race three when his lead was held to eight seconds.

The winners podium (from left) Callaway, Holmes, McLernon

Brad Frost took second overall, thanks to runner up places in races one and three after he slipped to sixth in the second outing. Luke Davies lost out on nicking second overall by two points after he in turn slipped to sixth in the final outing after earlier recording a third and second.

RESULTS: 1 Paul Holmes (Yamaha), 2 George Callaway (Yamaha), 3 Mark McLernon (Walsh Honda), 4 Leon Rogers (Kawasaki), 5 Carl Bunce (Handy Suzuki), 6 Justin Reid (Can-Am KMX).
Race one: 1 Jeremie Warnia (Yamaha), 2 Reid, 3 Holmes, 4 Callaway, 5 Bunce, and 6 Rogers.
Race two: 1 McLernon, 2 Holmes, 3 Callaway, 4 Rogers, 5 Dean Colhoun (WSP Husky), 6 Bunce.
Race three: 1 Callaway, 2 Holmes, 3 Rogers, 4 Reid, 5 McLernon, 6 Bunce.

Under 21: 1 Leon Rogers, 2 Dean Colhoun, 3 Domantas Vaznys (Yamaha), 4 Dafydd Davies (KTM), 5 Kyle Murphy (Yamaha), 6 Harry Walker (Yamaha)
Rookie: 1 Vasnys, 2 Murphy, 3 Davies
Vets: 1 Bunce, 2 Reid, 3 Andrew Willcock (KTM)
ZIP Challenge Support: 1 George Day (Suzuki), 2 Bradley Frost (Honda), 3 Luke Davies (Yamaha), 4 Jack Naylor (Handy Suzuki), 5 Josh Waring (Yamaha), 6 Callum Bates (Honda).