Dark-horse Russell steals the show in season opener

BILLY RUSSELL got his sand-racing season off to a flier with a terrific treble among the overflowing motocross ranks at Vazon.

Billy Russell on his way to one of his three victories. (Picture by Andrew Le Poidevin, 29424615)
Billy Russell on his way to one of his three victories. (Picture by Andrew Le Poidevin, 29424615)

A burst of late entries bumped up the numbers of the championship season opener and Russell was among them, meaning that he did not appear in the race programme.

And so spectators and officials, including John Bichard on commentary, were left pondering the identity of that speedy No. 126 who blasted to victory on his Honda CRF450R in the very first race of the meeting.

Conditions were damp and dreary but the rain held off for most of the racing, cold temperatures being the main trouble for the field.

Dark-horse Russell made a great impression by winning the three infield races from quality rivals, like promising youngster Owen Waddingham, persistent veteran Mark King and highly-decorated Billy Rive.

And the quantity was there too – with the 18-strong motocross entry dwarfing the other bike and car classes and forcing organisers, under ACU stipulations, to divide competitors into ‘A’ and ‘B’ groups.

Russell’s bike issues in the oval race meant Rive took top spot there instead, but it was hard to be downbeat.

‘Good day’s racing, track was good, and aside from [a few bike issues], everything went well really,’ Russell said as he looked ahead to a full 10-round season.

‘The goal is first – it’s got to be, eh? Apart from that, I’m happy with how the bike’s running.

‘It was mainly Owen and Billy who were right up my tail.’

It was overall a successful day at Vazon in terms of numbers, and the Guernsey Motorcycle and Car Club became a victim of that success.

They ultimately had to remove at least one planned round per class due to time constraints caused by large numbers.

But all in all, GMCCC president Ian Le Page hailed it as a positive return to action after losing last year’s championship due to Covid-related complications.

‘There were good entries, much more than we thought, and for our first meeting back after having one last year, it was really good,’ he said.

‘We didn’t get all the races in because of all the entries.’

Le Page tied the large motocross numbers to the popularity of ‘MX’ at Pleinmont, where racing takes place primarily over the colder months.

‘With motocross, you can ride it up at the motocross track and you can race it here, so you can race it all year,’ he added.

‘It was great to see the kids back and having fun, that’s what the highlight was for today – you can see they’re beaming, and it’s great to see them like that, because it’s the future of motorsport.’

Most Read

Top Stories

More From The Guernsey Press

UK & International News