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ROGERS WINS BRITISH CHAMPIONSHIP OPENER

April 25th, 2018.


Ireland’s Leon Rogers leads the ACU Cromwell Trucks British Quad Championship for the first time in his career after taking his maiden overall victory in the series at Desertmartin in Northern Ireland, on Saturday.


A switch to an all-new Husqvarna-powered WSP, from the ageing Kawasaki that he has campaigned for several seasons, allowed Rogers to show his true potential,l as he raced to wins in the opening two heats than a third in the final race.

“I couldn’t be happier and to have done it on home soil just topped it all off,” said the 22-year-old from Navan, County Meath.

Rogers had laid down a marker in qualifying around the former Grand Prix track when he finished the timed session in second place, behind the reigning British Champion, Paul Holmes, who was to crash heavily during the session. Third was Wildcard, Sheldon Seal, who revelled in the sandy going after his winter racing the French Sand Championship. Walker rounded out the top 4

However, in the opening 25-minute race it was 2016 British Champion, Mark McLernon, who grabbed the holeshot and set a blistering early pace, including the fastest lap on lap two. Eventually, though McLernon overhauled by Rogers on lap seven of 12, then Holmes with two laps to go.

At the flag, Rogers held a four-second margin over Holmes, with McLernon a further 1.3s behind. The trio was over 20 seconds clear of the field.

Fourth spot eventually went to another Wildcard, Michael McAneney, who did it the hard way after coming back from outside the top on lap one. Seal had held fourth for much of the race but retired in the closing laps when his Yamaha/Husqvarna broke a coil. Fifth and sixth went to Harry Walker and Oli Sansom respectively.

Race two proved to be an even closer affair with less than four seconds covering the podium places at the flag. Once again McLernon took the holeshot, but Rogers came through in lap two, set the fastest race lap of the meeting on lap three and then led to the finish of the 13 lapper.

At the flag he was two and half seconds clear of McLernon who was kept honest all the way to the flag by Walker who was just over a second further back. Holmes who battled with Walker for a few laps mid-race had to settle for fourth at the flag some 19 seconds further back, with McAneney and Seal rounding out the top six.

McAneney looked to be on for a possible win in the final race after he took the holeshot and led for three laps before mechanical gremlins ruled out his Laeger’s Honda.

That promoted McLernon to the lead for a couple of laps, but as he started to fade first Holmes came past to lead, which he held to the flag, then Walker, then finally Rogers.

Holmes and Walker were less than two seconds apart at the flag, but their tussle had pulled them 17 seconds clear of Rogers, who by this time knew that a safe third was good enough to give him overall victory.

George Callaway, not a lover of sand tracks, saved his best for last to secure fifth, while former British Champion Justin Reid rounded out the top six.

Reid’s sixth, his best result of the day, was just enough to secure him fifth place overall ahead of Sansom who completed the top six overall after finishing all three races in the top ten.

In the Willcock Holeformers Under 21 Championship Walker, who has had a busy early season including two rounds of the European Championship, proved a comfortable winner being the first under 21 rider home by some distance in all three heats.

The rest of the podium was an all-Scottish affair, with Murray Graham taking second overall Lorne Sinclair.

The championship now moves to the hard pack of Pontrilas on the 3rd of June.


RESULTS:

Overall: 1 Leon Rogers (WSP) 70 points, 2 Paul Holmes (Yamaha) 65, 3 Mark McLernon (Yamaha) 60, 4 Harry Walker (Yamaha) 58, 5 Justin Reid (Can-Am) 40, 6 Oli Sansom (Yamaha) 38.

First race: 1 Rogers, 2 Holmes, 3 McLernon, 4 Michael McAneney (Honda), 5 Walker, 6 Sansom.

Second: 1 Rogers, 2 McLernon, 3 Walker, 4 Holmes, 5 McAneney, 6 Sheldon Seal (Yamaha)

Third: 1 Holmes, 2 Walker, 3 Rogers, 4 McLernon, 5 George Callaway (Yamaha), 6 Reid.

Under 21 overall: 1 Walker, 2 Murray Graham (Honda), 3 Lorne Sinclair (Can-Am), 4 Dean Dillon (Honda), 5 James Bevan (Yamaha), 6 Callum Bates (Yamaha)


Pictured top: Local starts Mark McLernon (919) and Leon Rogers (151) head the pack

Podium pic: The podium (from left) Paul Holmes, Leon Rogers and Mark McLernon

Pictures by Nikki Walker