Yup, this Max is most certainly Mad
Sometimes people do things that make you ask one simple question: why? Team Mad Max, winners of the 2017 Max Wilson Mopedathon at Washbrook Farm, were probably asking themselves that question after completing an unusual mission in the 4.5-hour moped race.
Lead rider Carl Newbigging, a Mopedathon winner in 2015 as part of Luggage Brothers Racing, set out with the intention of completing as many of his team’s laps as possible.
With an 11-litre fuel tank from a Honda XR125 bolted to his Honda C90 he started the race from the back of the grid and moved through the field to become the first to reach 100 laps.
Newbigging completed 139 laps without stopping to refuel or change riders before being forced to let team-mate Lee Hughes take a stint.
After Hughes had covered just three laps, Newbigging returned to the fray and covered another 140 laps without stopping for fuel, his extended capacity allowing the bike to complete the whole race on one tank.
Newbigging, who raced with a hydration pack on his back, would have completed the race entirely on his own if the rules hadn’t stated that teams must comprise a minimum of two riders.
Ten of his team’s 295 laps were bonuses – six for their Mad Max fancy dress efforts and four for being the most lucrative charity fundraisers by attracting £555 in sponsorship for the East Anglian Air Ambulance. With Hughes covering three laps in his one session, that means nutty Newbigging rode 282 laps all on his own.
His team finished four laps clear of stalwarts Noodle and the Knobheads in the first Mopedathon to be held away from its traditional home at RAF Wittering. The new venue at Washbrook Farm saw the event run entirely on a dirt track and the duration was shortened from six hours to four and a half.
Early pacesetters in the four-stroke class were Rutting Goat Racing, but they surrendered their lead to Mad Max on the ninth lap and then spent almost 40 minutes on the sidelines, which ended their chances of getting back into the mix.
Noodle and his ever-loyal band of Knobheads briefly led the class while Mad Max swapped wheels following a puncture but eventually they settled back into a safe second place, finishing 32 laps clear of third-placed Viper Team Racing 2.
The Vipers were the third four-stroke team to 100 laps, then slipped back behind Fair Weather Bikers before recovering third place late in the race, claiming the podium place by just one lap.
The popular two-stroke class was closely fought until the 100-lap mark, when early contenders Hugh G Rection and Goon Riders both hit trouble.
The P-Bone team of Conor Bridgland, Rory Childs and Michael Longfoot clambered up through the field to move into the two-stroke lead at roughly one-third distance and built a commanding lead that saw them claim victory.
Cunning Stunts and The Ped Fathers were evenly matched as they moved through the field to assume second and third positions. The two teams traded places on a number of occasions before Cunning Stunts stretched away to build a nine-lap advantage by the time the chequered flag fell. The Ped Fathers came home in third in the class, eight laps clear of fourth-placed TCB Racing.
Just as importantly as the winners on circuit, awards went to Norfolk En Chance for the best prepared machine, to Lord Porter’s Pussy’s Poncey Posse for a typically appealing effort on their fancy dress and to first-time entrants Whissendine Warriors for battling through to the end on an ailing Gilera DNA 50 wearing inappropriate tyres.
The final award, for Best Crash, went to Michaela Penney from 1 in a Minion, who launched herself painfully into the dirt and suffered a separated shoulder. Penney refused to visit hospital until her team had finished the race and she was still at the circuit to receive her trophy. Get well soon, Michaela.
The new venue was warmly received by both riders and spectators, who all enjoyed the sight of mopeds leaping the tabletop jump and hacking their way around a junior motocross circuit. Washbrook Farm were happy with the event taking place on their circuit and even gave the new Wittering Mopedathon Association a £100 refund from the venue rental to boost our charitable donations from the event.
They’ve said they would be happy to have the event back in 2018 so if the feedback from teams is positive then we will be having a second go at our new home next year. But Carl Newbigging says he definitely won’t be returning to hunt a third Mopedathon victory. It’s time to give someone else a chance (eh, Lee Hughes?).
2017 Max Wilson Mopedathon Final Results
1st Mad Max 295 laps
2nd Noodle and the Knobheads 291
3rd Viper Team Racing 259 laps
4th Fair Weather Bikers 258 laps
5th Viper Team Racing 246 laps
6th Team Victor 230 laps
7th Rutting Goat Racing 160 laps
8th I C90 Teams Ahead of Us 190 laps
1st P-Bone 286 laps
2nd Cunning Stunts 269 laps
3rd The Ped Fathers 260 laps
4th TCB Racing 252 laps
5th Light Weight Riders 247 laps
6th Destruction Derbi 245 laps
7th T-Bone 232 laps
8th Lord Porter’s Pussy’s Poncey Posse 227 laps
9th Goon Riders 226 laps
10th 1 in a Minion 219 laps
11th The Vengaboys 199 laps
12th Norfolk En Chance 179 laps
13th The Moped Lads 164 laps
14th PRO-LAPS 159 laps
15th Whissendine Warriors 156 laps
16th Hugh G Rection 137 laps
17th Snail Speed Racing 99 laps