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 Stokes Dominates at Peel

Limbering up for his first crack at the British motocross championships in a fortnight's time, Chris Stokes wrapped up the King of the Beach title in fine style at Peel on Mad Sunday afternoon.

In front of a large crowd of spectators, the 426 Yamaha rider scored three wins and a second for a clear overall success in the Ramsey MCC promoted event.
The first A Group race was a real humdinger with no fewer than four riders vying for the top spot. Stokes led for the first two laps, however with Juan Knight right on his tail he was forced into a mistake which put him back down to fourth. Knight also slipped off and in the space of little more than one lap John McCanney was elevated from fourth to first, dragging Michael Kelly through into second place behind him.

Nevertheless, a remounted Stokes continued to charge and he was soon back in the driving seat with a brave move at the Castle turn. At the flag, it was Stokes who crossed the line first in front of McCanney and Kelly, with Gareth Quayle picking up the pieces in fourth after cousin Knight suffered another tumble on the final lap.

Knight came out of the blocks like a man possessed in the second race and he fired Dave Reilly's 520 KTM into a never to be relinquished lead. Stokes realised early on that there was to be no living with the Andreas man in such a determined mood, and he wisely settled for second safe in the knowledge that a lowly finish for his rival in the first race would keep him out of the overall scheme of things.

But Stokes did grab the hole shot in the third and final heat, holding off Knight for the duration, with Colin Dentith a good third on the second 520 KTM. Irishman Jim Somers looked set to mop-up in the B Group, but a mistake at half distance in the first race handed similarly 426 Yamaha mounted club secretary Ian Lees the honours.

Somers made no mistake in the second race, leading from start to finish from former leading local schoolboy rider Rob Boyles, while the County Carlow man scored another clear victory in the final qualifier in front of Gary Kelly and race one winner Lees. The C Group saw Kelvin Potter of Douglas grab first place away from Ashley Jones on the final lap of race one, after Crosby's Chris O'Hanlon had done all the early running.

With the less experienced riders really struggling in the soft silky sand, it was more a case of the survival of the fittest and race two was a complete turnaround with Lee Kaniewski (who lives quite literally within a stone's throw of the beach), leading all the way from the consistent Jones. Potter had two wins and a third; Kaniewski a single win, a fourth and a fifth; and Jones a full set of second places. Heat three looked to be going to another Peel man Kevin Quirk, but when he dropped it on lap four, Potter stepped in for his second win, once again from Jones.

There was drama even before the King of the Beach race got underway when Juan Knight's KTM refused to start up. This left rival Chris Stokes in a commanding position at the front of the field, and he rode on to take the Marine Hotel sponsored Jeff Smith trophy in fine style from John McCanney, Michael Kelly, Mark Lund and Gareth Quayle.

Lund received the Peel Car & Commercial Centre cup for the best performance by a local rider under the age of 21. l The organisers wish to thank the Department of Tourism for its financial support; Peel Commissioners and IRIS scheme contractors Brands for their joint efforts in preparing the beach; sub-contractors Sweeneys of Peel for the loan of bollards and the use of a digger and driver on the day.

Further thanks go to the local constabulary; Peel Harbour keeper Michael Cannon; the Marine Hotel and everyone else who helped with the running of the event.

In total, almost £500 was raised for Peel Lifeboat via flag collections on the beach


A Group: 1, Chris Stokes (426 Yamaha) 42 points; 2, Juan Knight (520 KTM) 30; 3, John McCanney (250 Yamaha) 26; 4, Colin Dentith (520 KTM) 23; 5, Michael Kelly (250 Honda) 20; 6, Gordon Rice (426 Yamaha) 16; 7, Gareth Quayle (250 Yamaha) 13; 8, Mark Lund (250 Suzuki) 12; 9, Ben Begbie (250 Yamaha) eight; 10, Tim Dedman (250 Yamaha) five; 11, Rob Watson (250 Yamaha) two; 12, Steve Ascroft (500 Kawasaki) one.

B Group: 1, Jim Somers (426 Yamaha) 42; 2, Ian Lees (426 Yamaha) 35; 3, Malcolm Kirk (250 Yamaha) 24; 4, Gary Kelly (250 Yamaha) 18; 5, Robert Boyles (250 Honda) 15; 6, Maurice Bellando (220 Kawasaki) 14; 7, Nigel Beaumont (250 Suzuki) 13; 8, Richard Hulme (400 Yamaha) 13; 9, Alex Baraona (500 Kawasaki) 12; 10, Barry Galloway (250 Yamaha) seven.

C Group: 1, Kelvin Potter (250 Honda)40; 2, Ashley Jones (350 Suzuki) 36; 3, Lee Kaniewski (250 Suzuki) 29; 4, Jonathan Watts (250 Suzuki) 29; 5, Kevin Quirk (250 Yamaha) 16; 6, Callum O'Shea (250 Yamaha) 14; 7, Chris O'Hanlon (125 Suzuki) 13; 8, Gavin Bennett (400 Suzuki) 12; 9, Charlie Dillon (400 Yamaha) eight; 10, Michael Stevens (400 Yamaha) six; 11=, Nathan Cafearo (250 Honda) and Martin Kelly (250 Honda) one.

King of the Beach: 1, C. Stokes; 2, J. McCanney; 3, M. Kelly; 4, M. Lund; 5, G. Quayle; 6, C. Dentith; 7, G. Rice; 8, B. Begbie; 9, R. Watson; 10, L. Kaniewski.

Words and pictures by John Watterson

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