Written by Nick Carbury
Setup at Culham MX Park.
Culham – 7th – 8th July 2018
It was a warm Saturday morning when I rolled into the paddock at Culham for the fourth round of the Acerbis Amateur Nationals. I would be met by AB Josh Dale, of HMS Queen Elizabeth. The WE making his first appearance with Acerbis and at Inter-Service level.
We set out to walk the track, which seemed much the same as previous years. A testament to the crew who looked after it, as the track was in prime condition. No easy task after the ground baking weather of the previous weeks.
The first race began with the normal whine and roar of bike engines. I would get a decent jump coming around the first corner just outside the top-20. Josh would suffer from a bad jump and sit at the back of the pack. The first lap consisted of the usual jostling for position and real estate. Just as things seemed to settle down, I made my way past the timing booth for the start of lap 2, into a 180° right-hand bend. In trying to make a pass on the rider in front, I moved to the outside line as he stuck to the middle. This would have worked- had the other rider not drifted to the outside line at the exit of the corner! His rear wheel collided with my front, resulting in me being thrown to the ground. The rider behind, who had been following my line, had no time to react and rode over me. By the time I’d picked myself up and recovered, the entire field had gone by.
So began a charge from last place to see where I could finish. Josh would struggle to make up ground after starting at the back, and would finish in 37th. Whereas my comeback would bring me up to 26th.
A helmet camera screenshot of Nick Carbury about to be ran over.
Josh and I would both get better starts in the second race. Josh would sit just outside the top-30, whereas I had shocked myself with a top-10 start. Unaccustomed to getting a start as good as that, I would be shuffled back to nearer 20th place in the first couple of laps. After a crash in the first race, I was pleased that would be the only excitement in this race. Josh would lose some places early on, but make them back in the latter stages of the race, finishing in 33rd. I would also make up ground in the closing laps of the race, coming back to finish in 16th.
Josh Dale battling. Photo: Jack's Snaps.
With the track as rough as we would race it, we headed into the third and final race of Saturday. Josh would once again get a start just outside the top-30, whereas I would start in the mid-teens. Josh would push his way into the top-30 in the early stages of the race, but the roughness of the track and lack of bike fitness would see him drop back to finish in 33rd once again. I would push up to 14th by the midway of the race, and closing on 13th. In pushing to catch the rider in front, I washed the front end of the bike on an off-camber part of a turn, sliding out completely. I would drop back to 16th place and finish there.
Nick Carbury looking to make a pass around the outside. Photo: Jack's Snaps.
Sunday morning would begin with a sighting lap, then straight into our first race. As this was the order for every group, and we were the fifth race out, the track was already rough and rutted. Much smoother than the last race of the previous day however!
Josh would once again get a poor start, seeing him near the back of the pack, whereas I would sit just outside the top-20. Josh would make a charge to 30th place, but once again struggle with bike fitness and drop back to finish in 33rd. I would keep the same pace throughout the whole race, making my way to 18th but going quicker than the riders ahead of me.
Josh Dale. Photo: Jack's Snaps.
The fifth and final race of the weekend would see Josh get his best start- firmly inside the top-30. Confirming that getting good starts being vital as this would lead to Josh’s highest finish of the weekend in 31st. I would start just outside the top-20, making my way up to 17th on the first couple of laps, and finally finishing in 16th.
Josh would score in 42nd overall for the weekend.
I would score in 16th overall for the weekend, with the crashes in race 1 and race 2 potentially costing me a top-15 overall. After coming into a track I’ve struggled at for years, to come away with a good points haul as planned, and with my highest overall finish with Acerbis, was all I could hope for.
Nick Carbury giving a thumbs up on the last corner. Photo: Jack's Snaps.
I’ll now look to go to Landrake on back-to-back weekends at the end of July and repeat an overall win from last year with SWOR, and get a top-15 overall with Acerbis.
22nd July – Landrake Motoparc – SWOR
28th-29th July – Landrake Motoparc – Acerbis Amateur Nationals
Inter-Service Motocross Championship (Individual)
- Matt Readman (RAF) – 527
- Nick Carbury (RN) – 367
- Jason Brice (RAF) – 195
- Piers Stanley (RN) – 176
- Adam Figgins (RN) – 164
- Josh Dale (RN) – 80
Inter-Service Motocross Championship (Service)
- Royal Navy – 729
- Royal Air Force – 667
- Army – 0
Royal Navy (Royal Marines) Motocross Championship
- Nick Carbury (RM) – 533
- Piers Stanley (RN) – 184
- Adam Figgins (RN) – 184
- Josh Dale (RN) – 140
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.
Along with the support we receive from team sponsors-
Acerbis Amateur Nationals