Blessed with perfect weather the 2016 Moto Gymkhana Championship got underway at its spiritual home of Donington Park with a couple of particularly devious obstacles thrown in by course designer Andrew Freeman. One particular combination looked tricky to remember and so it turned out with no less than 10 competitors going wrong on their first attempt, including a couple of potential podium finishers although most of them got it right on the second attack.
Once all had completed their first run it was Rob Fox on his ultra light Honda 250 2 stroke in the lead with Andrew Rayfield a couple of seconds in arrears on his MT09 and Mark Wraith third on his first event with the DRZ400.
The predicted afternoon thunderstorm kindly stayed away, conditions were just as good for the second attack so it was game on between the top runners. Andrew Rayfield went out just in front of Rob Fox and really attacked the course with some very aggressive riding. Unfortunately for him he made just one minor error when the rear spun up exiting a turn and that was enough to cost Andrew the win, losing out by only 0.16 seconds to the reigning champion and first round winner Rob Fox who actually had a poorer second run, his first run time giving him the win. Third place was taken by Mark Wraith, a great achievement considering it was his first event with the bike.
In the Novice class (novice does not necessarily mean a beginner in Moto Gymkhana) it was just as competitive with a trio of East Midlands club riders fighting it out. After a wrong course on his first attempt it was Ian Ashford, another competing for the first time on a new bike who came out on top, getting in amongst the green bib riders in the process. Next up was Justin Leary, losing out by the minute margin of 0.04 seconds! Steve Laughton brought his R6 in third, all three gaining a precious ranking point for their efforts.
It was great to see some new faces out there and also nice to see three lady riders giving it a go. It’s going to be a very competitive year in both classes with ever improving skill levels as we gain more experience in this exciting and challenging Japanese bike sport.
Next event is again at Donington on Saturday 4th June.