9 personnel represented RAF Marham Motocross club (MMXC) at the opening round of the 2017 RAF Off-Road Championship in January, held at Old Park Training Area in Canterbury, Kent. 

The 4 day event consisted of track set up, covering around 3 miles, training opportunities and the race itself. CT Naruszewicz led the training of members new and old, increasing skills and confidence in log crossing and climbing steep rocky inclines. These activities were made especially challenging due to poor weather but his coaching was first class and even the least experienced riders were overcoming obstacles they would never have dreamed of attempting before.

The race itself consisted of a staggered start for the expert, clubman and sportsman classes, going into a three ‘hour hare and hound’ race following a route through the Canterbury training area set out by the team. The Hare and Hound format sees riders trying to complete as many laps as possible in a 3 hr time limit, stopping only to grab a quick drink or refuel if the need arose. The MMXC loaned out 2 club bikes which were ridden by new members; in addition to them other members were also new to the race scene but with lots of encouragement and guidance all had a great time and all put in an exceptional performance for their relatively short amount of experience riding off road. So the race season was off to a good start with some great results and RAF Marham race entries made up 45% of the overall number of RAF riders, which is a credit to the dedication of the MMXC committee, whose main intention is to introduce personnel to Motocross and promote the RAFMSA.

Round two saw a change of pace from hare and hounds racing, the shorter more intense format of motocross was the order of the day. Derby AMCA club hosted the RAF race at their scenic Alport Heights track, with good weather and a well-groomed track it made for great racing all day long, and again RAF Marham made up a large percentage of the entries. Race one saw SAC Readman out to an early lead, closely followed by SAC Birkinshaw. SAC Summerbell would move up through the pack throughout the race to finish second. Race two saw a better start for SAC Summerbell who timed the start gate perfectly to get out to an early lead, followed by SAC Nash and SAC Birkinshaw, who would go on to have his best result of the day with a great race, finishing 4th. Race three saw battles throughout the pack, SAC Summerbell once again got out to an early lead with impressive starts all day and SAC Nash having his best result of the day with a 3rd. Battles further down the pack had the spectators attention with extremely close racing between SAC Huggett and SAC Thompstone, the pair battled, trading positions for the majority of the race, even coming off in the same corner. Eventually SAC Huggett would get the better of SAC Thompstone and finish 12th, both putting in impressive rides in their first motocross races.

OVERALL POSITIONS (of 3 races) Table above.

Round three saw a return to the hare and hounds format, this time located at Bagshot training area near Pirbright. The week started with several days of training by the more experienced riders in the team, honing the skills required to race through the challenging terrain including trees, logs, extreme inclines and water. Following this, the team laid out a course that was both ridable for the less experienced riders and challenging for the experts. The end result was a several mile course that could challenge the top riders but was still enjoyable to all.

Race day started with the Expert riders being released, followed one minute later by Clubman and then the Sportsman. The day was a mixed bag for many riders with few having uneventful days. The first casualty was a lost exhaust which was impressively reattached with a fan belt found near the track, and even more impressively this quick fix saw out several more hours of riding. The next casualty was the bike of SAC MacDonald which after a crash while pushing hard, ended his day with a damaged radiator, impressively, due to the efforts he had put in before his crash, he had assured himself at least some points. One of the few uneventful days was had by Chief Tech Stone who put in a great ride all day, making little to no mistakes to finish well up the leader board, even beating riders in the class above his own. SAC Readman had a good day also finishing as the top RAF rider and only beaten by Navy rider Marine Thompson.

The next round will see the team return to motocross racing at the Thoresway Moto Parc at Caistor.

If you are interested in off road riding, whether to compete or just have a go, get in touch with a member of the RAF Marham Motocross Club. The club has facilities and equipment for serving members and their dependants to experience off road riding and develop existing skills, with full PPE, bikes, equipment and a full track available to members.

To get involved or for booking introduction/training sessions contact;

Colin.Macdonald170@mod.gov.uk    Ext 3443

Richard.Summerbell973@mod.gov.uk  Ext 4531

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