Written by Nick Carbury
Nick Carbury around a sweeper at Brampton. Photo: Matthew Rudd Photography.
Brampton – 14th – 15th Apr 2018
The weather would continue to wreak havoc on the schedule of the MXT as we came to the Easter period. Leading to the cancellation of a training day with pro rider Alex Snow, and a round of the RNRM Championships. Our next event would be the second round of the Inter-Service Motocross Championship at Brampton, Cumbria hosted by Acerbis Nationals.
On a wet and windy Friday night in Cumbria, the MXT arrived at the much talked about venue. Nobody knew what to expect from this near brand new layout and surface, with the track having been shut for several years. This weekend I would be joined by teammates Lt Adam Figgins and team debutant ETME(SM) Piers Stanley.
At daybreak we quickly realised that it was to be a tough weekend. The rain had softened the fresh sand that had been used to re-vamp the track. This being confirmed as we headed out on our practice session on Saturday morning to find every corner containing rows of 18 inch deep ruts. Did anybody say motocross was easy?!
The first race began with an uphill drag race into a sweeping left-hand 180° bend. Figgins would come out on top with a firm top-10 start. I would sit in around 20th place and Stanley suffering after a crash shortly after the start would sit near the back of the pack. The track proved to be even more treacherous since our practice. The first couple of laps consisting of bar bashing and jostling. This would see me get pushed back to near the back of the pack. A lack of bike fitness proved pivotal for Figgins as he steadily lost positions, eventually finishing in 15th. Stanley spent the race pushing from the back managing 28th, beating me to the line as I finished 29th.
Piers Stanley crossing the finish line at Brampton. Photo: Matthew Rudd Photography.
A mechanical issues would cut Stanley’s debut short, meaning he would miss the second race and have to retire from the weekend- then there were two. Figgins and I would both get starts placing us in the 20’s. Both being able to push hard in the first couple of laps and gain several spots each. Fitness would again wreak havoc on Figgins’ efforts with him getting pushed back slightly and eventually finishing in 23rd. Whereas I had trouble stalling the bike on tight corners and having to re-pass the same riders. This aggravation would see me come home in 26th. Saturday done- time to collaborate on racecraft and hope for a dry night.
Sunday would allow for much faster action as the racing the previous day had stirred the sand up allowing it to dry somewhat. The track crew worked through Saturday evening to restore the track to the same condition as when we first arrived. This meant conditions weren’t as wet, soft, and deep. The third race of the weekend saw Figgins get a start inside the top 20, I would sit in 30th. Figgins would make up one position early on but then fade towards the tail end of the race, finishing in 20th. I would spend the entire race pushing from the back, making at least one pass on each lap bar one, to finish in 24th.
I thought my luck had turned as the fourth race began. Jumping out of the gate, I was part of the front runners who were drag racing to the first corner. I rounded the first corner in the top 10 after being pushed to the inside. This luck would be short lived as another rider went down in front of me in the second corner, meaning I would be held up and get going again just behind teammate Figgins who was in 20th. Figgins would trade places up and down around that 20th marker. Ultimately finishing in the same position as he started. The first couple of laps would see me get pushed back to 24th and remain there until the chequered flag.
Adam Figgins at Brampton. Photo: Matthew Rudd Photography.
We come to the fifth and final race of a tough but thoroughly enjoyable weekend. Figgins would again get a start just inside the top 20, but a first lap crash would see him drop to 26th. I would start towards the back end of the top 30. Making quick work on the opening lap I managed to work my way to 23rd. By lap three Figgins had moved himself up to 24th and had settled in behind me. Happy to follow my pace as we worked our way to 20th and 21st respectively. Figgins looking to make a pass on the final lap.
This proved unnecessary as I would stall the bike in a tight corner with a third of the final lap to go. This allowed Figgins and another rider past. I quickly got going again, determined to make back at least one of the places I had lost. This hell-for-leather attitude would see me drop the bike a couple of corners later and lose yet another spot. Figgins would make his last ditch pass (just on somebody else) to finish in 19th. I would follow through some 20 seconds behind in 22nd.
On behalf of the MXT, I would like to thank the Royal Navy Royal Marines Motorsport Association for giving us the opportunity to represent the RN and RM at the sport we love, as well as the support we receive from the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity, the RN & RM Sports Lottery, and the Royal Marines Charity.