Rock Oil XC at Bicton

The 2017 Fast Eddy Rock Oil Championship drew to a close on Sunday with the final round taking place at Bicton Farm near Shrewsbury, the Fast Eddy crew’s favourite venue.

Although used many times throughout the season, Bicton never ceases to come up with something new and provide great racing, which is exactly what happened on Sunday.

The small woodland area was utilised to the maximum with a handful of new routes thrown into the mix along with the stubble field sections and part of the old MX track.

The weather was perfect for racing, as was the ground, with berms in all the right places around the seven-minute lap for the adult racers.

The Youth riders started the day’s events and it was good to see this race so well supported. Alfie Rickwood and Josh Williams were two new names on the entry sheet, their first ever XC race, a break from their usual MX outings.

Keelan Hope was also back in the ranks putting his MX skills to the test.

In the 85-150cc class Rickwood nailed the holeshot and was untouchable from that point onwards, he was gaining 20 seconds a lap in the first part of the race but Hope got his head down and dug deep to get within two minutes of the leader and take second place with Fast Eddy regular Cory Cookland just eight seconds adrift in third.
It was a tough course for the 65/auto riders but the battle between Jack Sandland and Alfie Davies was impressive as they clocked up 11 laps apiece. Sandland took the class win by 17 seconds over Davies with Will Barnett in third spot.

For the adults race the course was in prime condition, the Youth race riders having taken the slippery top layer off. With everyone from Expert to Novice in the same race it was helpful that the course was one of the longest ever at Bicton.

In the Expert ranks it was time for the re-match between Ben Murphy and Sam Greenslade. The previous meeting at Bicton saw them wheel to wheel for much of the race with New Zealander Greenslade taking the win at his first race in the UK. It was clear from the start that Murphy was out for revenge.

Henry Yardley showed he was back in form and fully recovered by taking the holeshot ahead of a pack of quality experts as Max Ditchfield stuck to his rear wheel while Murphy and Greenslade trailed in his wake. Harry Edmondson bought up the rear of the pack on a Sherco 300, trying the machine for the first time in race conditions.

Murphy, Ditchfield and Greenslade slowly eased a gap on the rest and by the mid-point Ditchy had caught some traffic allowing Greenslade to overtake and pull a 20 second gap with Murphy around 15 seconds ahead. Harry Edmondson eased his way through the pack to join the leader but it was all eyes on the front two as the gap yo-yoed between them.
Greenslade put in the fastest lap of the race to close within 7 seconds of Murphy then ditched it near the finish line, losing 20 seconds in the process. As the final laps approached neither rider had refulled until with 10 seconds remaining on the clock Murphy took a quick splash and left for his final lap. Greenslade had disappeared, out of fuel in the stubble field section he walked disconsolately back to the pits, his gamble had failed.

Max Ditchfield had stuck at it and was rewarded with second overall while a great ride from Harry Edmondson, fending of Henry Yardley for most of the race, saw him take third.

A testament to the quality of the Youth A riders was evident in the results as they took four of the top nine places amongst the Expert riders.

Cole Cookland clocked eight laps to win the Youth A class ahead of many Experts and all Clubman riders, another cracking ride from this youngster whose days in the Youth ranks must be numbered. Sam Davies and George Yardley both rode extremely well to take second and third in class and post 18 laps into the bargain. Will Farrow headed the Youth B ranks ahead of Carwyn Rosser and Adam James.

Jacob James was the only Clubman rider to clock 18 laps. He battled Lee hattersley for the holeshot and continued to work his way through the field, eventually taking ninth overall along with his class win. Hattersley eventually nailed the runner-up spot just less than 10 seconds ahead of Ben Key in third place.

Kev Sandland emulated his sons win in the Youth race by taking the Vets A top spot ahead of Chris Wagstaff and David Williams. In Vets B it was Mark Plain and Joe Webster vying for supremacy with Plain eventually taking the win ahead of Webster as Tony Gunn took third.

Ben Martindale once again ruled the roost in the Sportsman class but was followed closely to the flag by Nick Whitehead with Nick Dawson a little way behind in third. The Novice class went to Josh Lucy who had been bar-to-bar on several occasions around the course, determined to take his class win in what turned out to be a great ride. Dave Withington secured second spot with Kristian Ankritt in third.

The race was a terrific finale to the series with a cracking course and red-hot competition between riders across all classes. Bicton has played its part well this season in several guises but last Sunday saw it at its best.

 

Husqvarna 1&2 at the ACU British Extreme Enduro Final

The ACU has a new champion! Billy Bolt’s second place at the H2O Xtreme Classic over the weekend was enough to secure the title for this talented and entertaining young rider.

The title was hard-earned, not just at H2O, which proved to be possibly the toughest course of the season, but at the four previous events which began in January at Tong in Yorkshire, then moved to Cowm Quarry near Rochdale. Third in the series was Ed’s of the Valley which ran in horrendous conditions near Abbey-Cwm-Hir in Wales while Extreme Ravines in Helmsley, North Yorkshire, occupied slot number four.

The H2O event had a lot to live up to but succeeded on all counts with a cracking entry list and a course that truly was extreme with a new woodland ‘off-camber’ section that simply isn’t justified by the term off-camber. It was horrendous to negotiate across possibly the steepest hill at H2O, there are bigger but not as loose or full of trees and roots and it soon became a focal point which saw the marshals working extremely hard from the first lap onwards.

A new stream section, more climbs and descents and a general fine tuning of the course from last year’s event saw a much harder challenge for the 120 riders who chose to test themselves at such an exceptional venue.

The single race, lasting two and a half hours, began at 11.30am with the Pro Championship class riders blasting off the line and heading across the fields, through a ravine and into the woods. Eurotek KTM’s Paul Bolton took the lead but was never more than a few feet ahead of Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Extreme Team Factory power duo of Graham Jarvis and Billy Bolt. The three pulled away on the first lap leaving D3 Racing’s Sam Winterburn, Husqvarna’s Danny McCanney and St Blazey MX Husky mounted Keelan Hancock in the chasing group.

With a new course layout it took a while for the riders to reach the rock garden, approached from the opposite direction to the previous year, but Paul Bolton still maintained his lead on the first lap with Bolt close on his heels and Grand Master Jarvis slightly adrift in third spot.

Even by the second lap backmarkers became part of the game for the leaders to negotiate, the off-camber claimed scores of victims and was strewn with bodies and bikes.

Both Jarvis and Bolt opted for the near impossible direct route to the top of the off-camber hill and both pulled it off with ease. Bolt eventually took the lead, followed by Jarvis as Bolton slipped to third spot but it was far from over, even by the halfway point.

Jarvis’ arm-pump wore off and his pace increased significantly, Bolt rode a couple of laps without gloves which slowed him down considerably while Bolton survived a couple of hard crashes unscathed as the running order finally sorted itself over the last 30-minutes of the race.

Jarvis had stretched a significant lead of over three minutes by the time the chequered flag was waived. Bolt had slowed without gloves but a quick stop to replace them saw him up his pace by which time it was too late to catch the leader and he settled for second spot which was enough to give him the Champions title. Paul Bolton was a further two minutes adrift in third place, all three riders were breathing hard by the end of a race that had really tested them.

Danny McCanney took fourth spot, a lap down on the leading threesome, with Sam Winterburn finishing fifth and Keelan Hancock in sixth to wrap up the Pro Championship class.

 

William Hoare nailed the Expert class win and matched the Pro’s on laps with nine to his credit as Chris Madigan and Charlie Frost took second and third a lap behind him but the overall title went to Matthew Jones who finished in fourth place. He had breather pipe problems and lost a lot of time but still did enough to take the Expert Champions title.

Juan Knight put in a terrific performance on a Gas Gas UK machine and was a long way clear of Andrew Reeves in second place and Grant Churchward in third. John Shirt took a creditable fourth having recently revived his riding passion and loved every minute of the race. Mick Boam took sixth in class but had done enough to take the Vets Champion title.

Fred Adams dominated the Clubman class, his good form seems to know no end. He really has impressed all who have seen him this season. Not so impressed was Ash Bell who took second behind Adams but in a class field of Clubman riders it was a decent result. Brad Lilburn was once again in the mix and took a solid third place just ahead of Lewis Ellis, both riders having had tough but determined rides.

Chloe Richardson showed how it should be done in the Sportsman class by taking the win ahead of Richard Hawes and Luke Evans. Although all three completed only half the number of laps that the Pro riders did, they possibly had the hardest race of all but they upped their game and battled onwards. It was a very tough course for Sportsman riders.

Dawson Marriott lead the Youth riders home with yet another impressive victory to his credit. The ever-improving Tom Knight charged to second place with Paul Bolton’s protégé Suff Sella from Israel in third. This was Sell’s second attempt at the H2O Classic and the improvement in his riding capabilities over 12 months was impressive.

As Billy Bolt crossed the finish line the celebrations began. Jarvis had won the race but Bolt had his first Champion title to his name and it has been a long time coming but obvious to everyone that he has the ability to gain many more titles in the years to come. With Lee Edmondson on the spanners the pair make an unbeatable if somewhat crazy combination but they certainly add plenty of fun to the sport, which can be overly serious at times.

Congratulations to Graham on his win and massive congrats to Billy on his first Championship but, looking back over the season, the whole series has been of the highest standard and thoroughly deserving of the ACU British Extreme Enduro Championship title.

This is in no small part due to the influence of Paul Edmondson who has persevered in his quest to raise the bar and make the series inclusive for all standards of rider. He succeeded with flying colours.

 
 

Fast Eddy Racing Rock Oil XC Championship. Round 4 at Deuxhill, Shropshire. Report: Tim Tighe  Pics: Jacob Tighe

Fast Eddy Racing’s first visit to the Deuxhill venue in sleepy Shropshire, just south of Bridgnorth, was interesting to say the least.

The venue obviously has potential although due to farming commitments some of the land originally planned as part of the course was not available for use, which severely shortened the lap. What was available was mainly dusty field sections but the heart of the venue proved to be a wooded area with a stream section that provided great entertainment throughout all three races.

Max Ditchfield posted a significant win in the afternoon race at the head of the Expert class that broke Ben Murphy’s stranglehold on the Championship. Ditchy started well and fought off challenges from Jordan Ridgway, Derek Bawn and Harry Edmondson early on as Murphy encountered problems in the stream section. Twice he crashed on consecutive laps and ended up facing the wrong way in the stream, losing his goggles in the process.

On a dusty track losing goggles was not a good thing, not just for following other riders but also around some of the longer sweeping curves riders were riding into their own dust as it slowly blew across the course.

The layout of the course was changed for the final race and it was a work of genius as riders went through the stream section three times and had a steep climb or tricky gully to negotiate.

It was so tricky that Fast Eddy himself jumped in and rode bikes out of the gulley when all seemed hopeless, and it was entertaining to see his little legs scrabbling for grip as he pushed riders and bikes up the steep exit slope.

With Ditchy in a solid spot at the head of the field it was all eyes on Harry Edmondson to see if he could close the gap and stay ahead of Murphy at the same time in the closing few laps of the race. Harry did it in style and took a very well-deserved second spot as Murphy pipped Bawn to the post for third place with a pass on the final lap.

James Palmer rode exceptionally well to take fifth overall but much more importantly, he won the Youth A class with ease as Cole Cookland and Charlie Chater finished second and third in class following a tremendous battle from the moment the flag dropped. All three Youth A riders were up in the rankings, beating the Clubman riders into submission.

Jacob James was on top form to win the Clubman class against stiff competition from Lee Hattersley and Ben Key, all three riders posting 22 laps over the two-hour race with just over 40-seconds between them at the finish.

Kev Sandland’s move to a KTM seems to have paid off. His long-awaited win in the Vets finally came true as he beat Chris Wagstaff into second spot by just 10 seconds. Mike Windsor took third.

Earlier in the day the Vets B, Youth B, Sportsman and Novice riders had their shot at glory. Even by mid-morning it was really hot and although the woodland offered some shade it also had the stream to contend with.

Shaun James and Andrew Whieldon had a cracking race in the Vets B class but it was Youth B rider Dan Leadbetter who took the overall win with a terrific ride that saw him post 20 laps, matched only by fellow Youth B rider Will Farrow in second spot. Carwyn Rosser completed the Youth B line-up.

James and Whieldon were never more than a couple of bike lengths apart and that’s how they finished at the head of the Vets B class with Mark Glover grabbing the final podium spot just seconds ahead of Mark Plain.

Ben Martindale was head and shoulders clear in the Sportsman class wile Rob Latham took second and Andy Rich third but there was not much between them by the finish flag.

Josh Lucy had an outstanding ride to win the Novice class by a clear lap over Ash Williams in second spot and Dan Laight in third.

The Youth race started the day and it was won by Sion Evans (85-150cc) once again as this talented youngster posted 12 solid laps. He was matched on laps by Cole Cookland who was just over 30 seconds adrift at the end of the race while Callum Millward took third in class. Jack Sandland put on a great show to take third overall and win the 65cc bracket ahead of Wilf Barnett. Young Alfie Dawson displayed true grit in the Auto class, managing seven laps to his credit.

Deuxhill had been in the pipeline for a while but timing was crucial. Some of the fields were out of bounds but it was an interesting little venue with some great features and plenty of potential for the future if more land can be incorporated into the track.

It was hot, dusty and fun throughout the weekend and hopefully the first of many visits to this cracking little venue.

 

Fast Eddy Racing Rock Oil XC Championship. Round 3. At H2O near Oswestry. Report: Tim Tighe  Pics: Jacob Tighe

Ben Murphy blitzed the third round of the Fast Eddy Racing Rock Oil XC Championship last Sunday as H2O baked under the sun and riders found relief in the tough woodland sections of the course, for once, welcoming the shade. Murphy ignored the tremendous heat to put in an excellent performance that saw him a lap clear of his closest competitor by the finish.

It was a hot and dusty day at this outstanding Oswestry venue, new sections were added to the course as the MX track lay unused. The valley and woodland were the primary focus of attention and they provided more than enough for riders to go at on the hottest day of the year.

In the relative cool of the morning the youth race ran around a slightly shortened course and it was Sion Evans who grabbed the glory. The course might have been shortened but it still held some impressive hill-climbs that the youngsters were not fazed by at all, many opting for the Expert route to the top and making it lap after lap

Evans took the overall win and topped the 85-150’s ahead of Francis Davies and Lucas Holdcroft as Jack Sandland put in a great performance to take the runner-up spot and win the 65 class from Alfie Davies and Rhys Jones.

In an effort to beat the heat both adult races were combined, starting at 11.15am and running for two hours. The course was reset to maximum length following the kids race and the final race of the day got underway as the temperature rose.

Jake Brittain lead the Expert pack off the line and out towards the open fields with Max and Jack Ditchfield in his tyre tracks while Ben Murphy was comfortable inn third spot, until halfway around the first lap when he took control and never looked back. He was soon lapping slower riders but used his head to pick sweet lines and conserve energy to get to the finish line over a lap clear of his rivals.

Jack and Max Ditchfield had their own battle for supremacy with both riders holding second spot at times but it was Jack who crossed the finish line ahead of Max on this occasion.

Fourth overall was Cole Cookland, riding in the Youth A class, and what a ride! With the top three Experts long gone it took some determination to press on as hard as Cookland did to take fourth overall and top spot in his class ahead of vastly more experienced riders. His was a cracking performance.

Second in Youth A was Charlie Chater. He was down in fourth spot until the final lap where he whipped past James Palmer and Sam Davies to move up to second in class, a great move in the dying stages of the race which left Palmer in third spot.

Ben Key, Jacob James and Lee Hattersley were together for most of the race in the Clubman class and finished in that position within 20 seconds of each other in what proved to be a hard slog as the temperature rose towards the end of the race. Hattersley posted the fastest lap time of the three but couldn’t take advantage of it as the two youngsters stuck with him.

Chris Wagstaff topped the Vets A class with Kev Sandland in second spot and Shane Brown in third while Shaun James was top Vets B rider ahead of Rob Murfin and Tony Gunn.

Sportsman rider Ben Martindale was in double figures for laps on his way to a class win ahead of Andy Rich and Harrison Holdcroft as in the Youth B ranks it was Dan Leadbetter who topped the class with Mitch Parkes second and Adam James third.

Liam Storar topped the Novice class with Kristian Ankritt in second spot, the only two Novice riders to finish the race.

It was a very hot and dusty day at times. The woodland section provided some relief from the sun but that was brief and the woodland going was still tough. The Rock Oil XC Championship possibly had its toughest event of the season at H2O last Sunday but the racing was spot on and the course was great.

Well done Fast Eddy and the crew.

 

GBXC second round. Ratlinghope.

When you watch a race for two and a half hours, see at least six different riders out in front and with 15-minutes to go still have no idea who will win, that is the mark of a great course and a bunch of talented racers.

That is just what happened at the Fast Eddy Racing Great British Cross Country series which clicked into top gear on Sunday at a venue that proved to be more than worthy of the series presence there. Ratlinghope is big and bold with real old school challenges; large hills, bogs, stream crossings and fast open terrain.

The three stream crossings became harder as each rider passed through them, dragging water out onto the dry ground and helping to start ruts to form while the boggy areas became softer and more treacherous with every lap. The mud battles at the bottom of the valley were matched by the steep climbs where dust was thrown up and many riders got filled in.

It was hard to believe it was the same course on the same day. Mid-point in the afternoon race the heavens opened for a short time and everything became so much harder.

Such was the mix that there were three or four different leaders just on the first lap of the 2.5hr afternoon race containing the Experts, Clubman, Veterans A and Youth A riders. In the Expert ranks Derek Bawn was first to the first stream crossing, closely followed by Ash Fox who was returning to racing after a very long lay-off, but it was Daryl Bolter and Tom Ellwood who really upped the pace as the first half dozen riders were virtually inseparable over the opening handful of laps.

Husky Sport’s Bolter opened a gap but then disappeared leaving MRS Sherco’s Ellwood to take up the running. Halfway through the race everything changed in just a few minutes as the rain arrived and swung things in favour of the technical riders. Elwood retired leaving ET James’ Ben Murphy and Derek Bawn to take up the head of the field with Edmondson Racing’s Beta mounted Rich Ely and an ever-improving Colwyn Bay KTM rider Mark Roberts slowly making inroads in their lead.

Roberts had a very disappointing start but worked his way through the field and excelled on the slippy stuff when the rain arrived and his times fell with every lap. Murphy was leading but within a single lap Roberts caught and overtook him, posting a 40 second lead which he added to lap after lap as he charged on to take a well-deserved win.

Murphy clung on to second spot as Derek Bawn held third, with two minutes between them. Harry Edmondson had a hard outing amongst much more experienced riders but rode well to take fourth, finishing just seconds ahead of Fox in fifth.

Gary McCoy headed the Vets A class as Chris Wagstaff, virtually on home turf, did his best to close on the man from down south but could quite manage it while Jack Twentyman charged around the lap in his own inimitable style to take third place.

George Yardley had what can only be described as an outstanding ride. He rode the wheels off his 85cc machine to win the mega-competitive Youth A class despite having to cope with huge ruts after the midpoint of the race. Charlie Chater was also on an 85cc and was on his rear wheel initially but young Yardley never stopped pushing to take the Youth A win as Chater took second and Cole Cookland third.

Ryan Phillips eventually took the Clubman class win but endured a long battle with second placed Jacob James that saw both riders raise their game considerably.

They both finished in the mid-teens overall but raced as though they were leading the whole field. Luke Tarr took a solid third in class but had little hope of catching the leading pair.

Earlier in the day the Vets B, Youth B, Novice and sportsman riders enjoyed a two-hour race in excellent conditions although they also had to negotiate the streams and bogs which took their toll on more than a few riders.

Nick Whitehead took the overall win and the Sportsman top spot with a calculated and clinical ride as he passed a multitude of riders who had started in classes before him. Steve Cranshaw and Shaun James in the Vets B class were leading the field but Whitehead’s determination saw him catch, pass and put a minute on both of them to take the win. Tom Walker was also making ground and took a solid second spot with Ben Martindale completing the Sportsman top three.

Cranshaw’s second overall saw him top the Vets B class with James in second spot and Pete Nixey in third as Richard Moorhouse won the Youth B class as the final rider to post 14 laps. Second in Youth B was Dan Leadbetter with Adam James some way back in third spot on his 85cc machine.

Top of the Novices was Kristian Ankritt who just managed to post an extra lap over Properly Protected’s Tony Chawner in second. Chawner had a comfortable gap over third placed James Redfern who was on 11 laps.

Racing actually began on Saturday morning as the Youth riders took to a slightly shortened course at 9.00am. Cory Cookland posted yet another win overall and topped the 85cc class ahead of Francis Davies andJohn Stanley while Jack Sandland took the 65cc win from Reece Jones and William Barratt.

It had been three years since Fast Eddy racing was at Ratlinghope but it was worth the wait as the course was fantastic and the racing superb, at a standard expected of a GBXC event. Well done Fast Eddy and his crew. A great event.

The 2017 ACU British Sprint Championship. Rogers Hill Raceway. Dorset.

Buildbase Honda Racing pilot Alex Snow announced his arrival at the 2017 ACU British Sprint Championship by taking the win on both days as the series kicked off in Dorset last weekend. Calm and consistent, he emerged victorious as his two closest rivals both retired with injuries by the end of Saturday.

Rogers Hill Raceway provided a cracking course with a single eight-minute Special Test that was very dry and dusty in some places and certainly benefitted from the showers throughout Saturday. The test was mainly on the MX course but dipped into a woodland area before hitting field sections scattered with tricky obstacles and log sections.

Sunshine and showers made for mixed conditions on Saturday but Sunday was bright throughout the day, causuing a few dust spots on the MX track.

A full entry was encouraging for organiser Paul Edmondson with a terrific spread of talent across all classes. Many riders were trying the Sprint format for the first time and feedback suggested that it was very well received.

At the sharp end of the entry the Championship class had a terrific mix of talent with Husqvarna rider Jack Edmondson briefly back from the USA, Husqvarna Extreme rider Billy Bolt far from an extreme event and enduro convert Alex Snow looking forward to the MX part of the test with his Honda.

As expected, Jack Edmondson took control initially with two very rapid tests but disaster struck on test three when he injured his wrist and departed for the X-ray department. Billy Bolt had been close to Jacko but a couple of big hits later in the day saw the extreme rider finish the day then retire from further proceedings.

Consistency was the key and looking at the test times it was obvious when the rain had arrived and the whole field of riders were 30 seconds off the dry time pace. Snow remained unbeaten throughout the day and headed the Championship E2 class although Yamaha mounted Lee Sealey did his best to catch the flying Honda. Bolt’s injury slowed him slightly and Sealey took advantage to finish the day in second spot and top of the Championship E1 class as Bolt took third overall and top E3 position with James Dent second.

The E2 class certainly hotted up with the appearance of Jack Rowland, back on a bike and fast as ever. He secured the E2 runner up spot with 25 seconds to spare over Fraser Flockhart in third.

Dan Mundell had yet another great outing finishing second in E1 just 18 seconds adrift of Sealey but well ahead of Keelan Hancock in third.

Snow continued his charge on Sunday, beaten just once by Rowland, who took second overall as Flockhart took third in E2 while Sealey maintained his performance to finish third overall and top the E1 class by 14 seconds ahead of Mundell.

Keelan Hancock took E1 third but was off the pace for most of the day. Only James Dent survived to run in the E3 class, an easy win for him.

The Expert ranks provided equally entertaining racing as E1’s Alex Walton was flying throughout Saturday morning but had his hands full as Aaron Gordon hit back in the afternoon to win the final three tests.

It wasn’t enough to dislodge Walton atop the E1 class. Ben Murphy put in another solid performance to grab third in class with both hands. Walton continued his good run on Sunday as Murphy improved to take second place ahead of Gordon in third with just 10-seconds covering the top three places, it was really close racing.

Dylan Bayton lead the E2 Expert pack from Kalem Hicks and Kev Murray on Saturday but Murray fought back to take the win on Sunday as Bayton slipped to second while Brad King moved up to third spot. Edmondson Racing’s Beta mounted Rich Ely had two excellent days, topping the class on both by quite a margin. On Satuday it was Joel Gowan and Patrick Twentyman following in his wake while Sunday saw the same top two with Brad Williams moving to third in class.

Clubman E2’s Brad Rowland took the overall win on Saturday but was followed by three very quick E1 riders in the shape of Lewis Ranger, Cameron Young and Ryan Mundell. Simon Comer raised the E3 profile by taking fifth as Aston Day and Arron Bloomfield completed the E2 line up.

Joe Dyke and Stuart Mack completed the E3 podium positions. Rowland continued his run on Sunday taking yet another E2 win with Aston Day second and Jack Nixey third.

E1 remained the same as Saturday while E3 saw Stuart Mack take the win from Joe Dyke and Jamie Carroll.

Rosie Rowett continued her great form from the BEC by taking both wins over the weekend in the Ladies class. She was head and shoulders clear of second placed Gemma Holtham and Emily Hall in third on Saturday while Sunday saw her finish well clear of Steph Jewell as Emily Hall again took third in class.

The Under 16’s line-up was full of talent and fast young riders. Charlie Chater and George Yardley were joined at the head of the class by Alfie Webb as all three battled throughout the opening day with Chater taking a well-deserved win, Yardley second and Webb third. Chater topped the group again on Sunday with Yardley close behind once again but a charge from Bret Rowland to third place saw Webb drop from the podium places.

Jonathan Tarr nailed the Veterans class by nearly a minute over Gary McCoy, the two were always neck and neck throughout the first day, while Shane Trotter took third after the seventh and final test. The top two continued their battle on Sunday and the result remained the same with a win for Tarr but they were joined by Neil Bowker who fought his way to third in class.

The Sportsman class saw Brad Croton do the double with a class win on both days. In second place Aaron Webb saw off the challenge from Ashley Williams in third. The performance was repeated on Sunday with positions remaining the same.

Rogers Hill Raceway provided an excellent launch pad to this season’s ACU British Sprint Championship. The course held some of the same sections as previous years but a new technical woodland section slowed things down at times, a necessary break between the MX track and the open fields.

Just having one Special Test does slow things down slightly but it gives riders time to regroup and make any necessary adjustments before their next run, essential at the opening rounds of a Championship suck as the Sprint.

A cracking weekend with a little variation in the weather which made things interesting. Best wishes for a speedy recovery to Jack Edmondson and Billy Bolt.

Great job from Paul Edmondson and the Fast Eddy Racing crew.

The 2017 Fast Eddy Rock Oil XC Championship. Report & pics: Tilde Tighe. Second round. Brakehill Farm, Northants.

Following a slight delay from the opening round at Bicton, the 2017 Rock Oil XC Championship got back into top gear for a dry and dusty affair at Brakehill Farm, Northants. This venue has recently seen major reconfiguration that lead to much of the MX track and start area left without any natural cover which contributed to the dusty conditions. Luckily a stiff breeze cleared the dust as fast as it appeared but the start of both adults races suffered slightly until the packs of riders had strung out around the lap.

The course was really good, sweeping turns and tighter technical stuff,with big open field areas to relax in, made for interesting battles across all three races.

First up were the youth riders with Sion Evans and Cory Cookland contesting the top spot in the 85/150cc class. Evans took the lead early on and held it to the finish as Cookland matched him on laps, a minute down, to take second spot with Lucas Holdcroft secure in third. Alfie Davies was the top 65cc competitor ahead of Jack Sandland and William Barnett.

With a noticeable rise in temperature from the early start of the youth race the dust and wind swirled around the Sportsman, Novice, Youth B and Vets B competitors in the first adults race of the day.

An eight-minute lap faced them and all the undulations the venue had to offer were included in the course, mainly in the woodland section, making for a very well-balanced route out to the field section at the far side of the venue.

Dan Leadbetter and Will Farrow were the top two competitors, leading the pack for most of the race after working their way through the Vets B class that started ahead of them. Vets B’s Nick Hargrave kept in touch for most of the race but it was the youngsters who took the day with Leadbetter taking the overall win followed by Farrow with Carwyn Rosser third in the Youth B class and fourth overall.

Hargrave took the vets B win ahead of Shaun James and Ed Hopkins while Ben Martindale grabbed first spot in the Sportsman ranks. He was followed by Louis Allen in second and Steve Farthing, third.

Josh Lucy took the top Novice position ahead of Ashley Williams with Ian Foster third.

Things heated up in every way possible for the final race of the day. In the Expert class the Ditchfield brothers were back on track following the theft of their bikes a few weeks back, both raring to go while Ben Murphy, Brad Williams and Harry Edmondson were determined to make old timers James Jackman and Derek Bawn work hard to get into the top three.

Jack Ditchfield nailed the holeshot only to be overtaken by brother Max further around the lap as Ben Murphy worked his way to the front of a gaggle of riders. Within a couple of laps he was in control and left Max Ditchy and Harry Edmondson battling for the runner-up spot. The pair swapped places throughout the race as fuel stops played their part and even into the final three laps it was anyone’s guess who would take second spot. Max eventually charged harder than Harry to take second overall but it had been a very close race. Murphy was in great form and won by well over a minute, easing off slightly in the final couple of laps.

Sam Davies in the Youth A class certainly made his mark. He beat every Clubman and Vet rider to finish eighth overall with seven Experts ahead of him. Quite a ride! Callum Sedgwick took second in the Youth A class with Charlie Chater third.

Topping the Clubman ranks Ryan Hughes who had battled with Lee Hattersley throughout the race, the pair were rarely more than metres apart. Third in Clubman was Jacob James, fully recovered from last season’s injury and on top form.

Chris Wagstaff once again head the Vets A class with a terrific display of fast and controlled riding adapted to the dusty conditions. The surprise of the Vets A class was Honda poster boy Kev Sandland – riding a KTM! Sandland had a great outing to take second spot as Anthony Dean took third.

All in all it was a tough day but one where youth triumphed over experience for once. It was great to see so many good young riders bashing on the door of the established ranks and giving their all in tough conditions at times.

The 2017 Fast Eddy Rock Oil XC Championship. Report & pics: Tilde Tighe

The opening round of the 2017 Fast Eddy Racing Rock Oil XC series could not have got off to a better start with great conditions, an upgraded course and a guest appearance from Yamaha’s Jamie McCanney to launch the yet another championship year into the spotlight.

Bicton Farm near Shrewsbury has received serious attention over the past few months and it was obvious just how much work had been done to the venue, especially the woods section, to turn it into one of the Fast Eddy Racing favourite locations for the coming year.

The weather in the run up to the event had been unpredictable but stayed dry, which allowed a practice day to run on Saturday and also meant that the farmer, Matt Egerton, could re-grade the course on Saturday evening ready for racing on Sunday and what a day that turned out to be.

The first round of each Rock Oil XC Championship always starts at Bicton Farm and host ‘A Lap For Joe’ in memory of Joe Edge, a young rider who lost his life doing the sport he loved.

This year saw another increase in the number of riders participating in the memorial lap, which grows with each passing year, as every rider with a bike circulated slowly behind Paul Edmondson and Joe’s Dad as they led the pack around the course.

Sunday started with the first Youth race of the year and saw a dozen young riders take to the Bicton course, some for the first time ever as their XC racing careers got underway.

The course was made only slightly easier for the youngsters, missing some of the trickier woodland sections, but it proved to be fast and flowing and promoted great racing. In the BW85 class it was Sion Evans who took the first win of the series, overall and winning his class ahead of Bradley Price and Sam George while Cory Cookland won the SW85cc class ahead of Connor Davies and Lucas Holdcroft.

Jack Sandland continued where he left off last season with a win in the 65cc class ahead of Alfie Davies and Jake Willis while Alfie Dawson tackled the tough course on his Auto for the first time and managed six laps which was quite an achievement.

The first adult race had been full for days in the run up to the event. The start area was packed with the ranks of Veterans B, Youth B, Sportsman and Novice riders, all set for two hours of great racing around the rejuvenated course.

Although Bicton Farm isn’t the largest venue used by Fast Eddy the course was flowing and fast over fields and through woodlands alongside the River Severn and the ground was simply in perfect condition.

A huge class of Vets B riders started the race and the track improvements soon became obvious, as the racing was close but fast, especially through the woodland section where the track had been cleared and widened to make it faster and slightly less technical.

Lee Allis-Smith had his bike running sweetly and had no trouble taking the overall win and the Vets B class win just ahead of Mark Plain, clocking 18 laps as Fast Eddy regular Shaun James nailed third in class.

Chris Tompkins was the top Sportsman on the day and had a terrific ride to take his class win and second overall against a huge field of eager Sportsman riders. Liam Belfield and Louis Allen backed him up on the podium.

Nick Whitehead was going really well until he had problems and was last seen running across the fields in search of an 8mm spanner.

All of the top three Youth B riders were tightly packed on 18 laps but it was Dan Leadbetter who managed to gain 30 seconds over Harrison Holdcroft to take the win with Will Farrow coming in third.

Josh Lucy and Dan Jones were just seconds apart in the Novice class top two slots with third placed Steve Farthing less than a minute adrift to the leading pair.

Tony Chawner went well until his front brake pads fell out although he did manage to refit then with the aid of a twig until he could get back to the pits. All in all, a pretty eventful race.

The line up for the afternoon race was impressive. Jamie McCanney, Mark Roberts Sam Winterburn Alex Walton and Shaun Buchan were just a few riders to grace the Expert class, many using the race as an opportunity to get some competition time in before the Enduro GP and BEC seasons get underway.

Max Ditchfield got the jump at the start of the second adults race around the first tight left-hander and lead the class off into the distance as McCanney was stuck mid-pack initially.

By the end of the first lap the plan for the race had been set with McCanney out in front as the others scrabbled for positions. Jamie McCanney rode a flawless race and finished over three minutes clear of Mark Roberts in second spot on his new Colwyn Bay KTM Stuff machine. Sam Winterburn had a real battle to keep ahead of a hard-charging Alex Walton but he took third place for his efforts.

Lee Hattersley just nicked the Clubman class win from friend and rival Ryan Armitage, literally with yards to go to the finish flag. They had battled throughout the whole two hours and Hattersley’s determination paid off as Armitage’s small error cast him dearly. Nathan Rogers took a solid third spot.

Cole Cookland, in the Youth A class, had a terrific ride. He was 11th overall with 10 Experts ahead of him but class rival Sam Davies hot on his heels in second spot. George Yardley, who usually flies around Bicton, was down in third place, which was really unusual.
Yamaha mounted Chris Wagstaff once again took the Veterans A class win to back up his Champions title from last season. Kev Sandland was three minutes behind him but had Gary Benniman breathing down his neck as the race concluded. Sandland took second and Benniman third in class.

 

This was a terrific start to the 2017 Rock Oil XC series. Bicton had never been in better shape, despite rain coming in for the final lap of the day. If this is a sign or what’s to come then the Fast Eddy Rock Oil XC Championship is going to be a cracker this year. Galleries on www.foto-x.co.uk

The 2017 ACU Fast Eddy British Extreme Enduro Championship. Round 3 at Abbeycwmhir

Billy Bolt finally got what he deserves, his first major extreme enduro win, at Abbeycwmhir on Sunday.

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory rider Bolt took first place at the third round of the ACU British Extreme Enduro Championship, Ed’s of the Valley, organised by Paul Edmondson and his Fast Eddy Racing crew.

The 12-mile course turned into what Bolt described as a ‘slog-fest’ as heavy rain and high winds battered the venue throughout the day.

Strategy, with a huge amount of luck added, was the key in the afternoon race as more than a few riders fell foul of the ‘outside assistance’ rules (ESR 33), going for third lap and consequently running out of fuel out on the course.

Both Graham Jarvis and David Knight were disqualified for outside assistance. They took a chance and pushed their luck going for a third lap and lost out. Kieran Hancock also dq’d for the same reason.

This third round came as a real shock to many riders who hadn’t ridden a big lap Welsh forest enduro in wintertime for a while. Mud, ruts, big hill-climbs, fast fire-roads and brash, all with fallen trees and a few rocky sections, made for a fuel-draining lap.

The event wasn’t considered extreme, more a Hard Enduro, but looking at some of the hill-climbs they would not have disgraced any extreme enduro. The floor of the forest remained generally in good shape but there were a few sections that became extremely rutted and hard to negotiate.

The morning race saw riders start four at a time with the Veterans class leading the way. Mick Boam and Juan Knight, both on Beta machines, were in the mix alongside Kiaran Hankin , Karl Greenhall, Andrew Reeves and Alex Owen as the pack disappeared into the trees with over half an hour until they reached lap scoring once again.

The guys out front had a run at the hill-climbs and fared much better than many of the Sportsman and Youth riders following in their wake.

Knight and Boam led the field with Knight stretching a slight lead into the second lap where another contender had joined the fray. Harry Edmondson worked hard to get to third spot, a teenager lacking the core strength and physicality of the older riders.

He just relied on ability and it paid off as he eventually overtook Boam to finish in second place behind Knight. With the veterans win in the bag and the fastest lap of the race at 35minutes 27 seconds under his belt Knight was followed by Boam as Andrew Reeves took third place.

For young Edmondson, the winner of the Youth class, this was an excellent outing. He posted three laps, one of only 16 riders to do so out of a field of 90.
Dawson Marriott already had two series wins in the bag so second place didn’t damage his title challenge too much but fellow Youth contender Tom Knight was unlucky to finish fourth as he crashed just before the finish line allowing Will Stansbie past to take third place.

Two Sportsman riders stood head and shoulders above the rest. Luke Owen and Darren Heyes both completed three laps and they certainly earned their first and second spots. James Walker took third, just missing out on the chance of a third lap.

Many riders found themselves out of their depth at times and the ones who were finding it really hard were spared further suffering by being pulled from the race at lap-scoring when it was clear that they would simply not have enough time to get anywhere near completing another lap. Considering the conditions, it was a smart move.

The afternoon race results are still provisional at this point although it is clear that Billy Bolt took the win.

The Pro class line up was once again top-notch. Husqvarna’s Jarvis and Bolt lined up alongside Eurotek KTM’s Knight and Bolton, although to be accurate Knight did start at the back of the pack with eight riders off the line before him. D3’s Sam Winterburn, Keelan Hancock, Luke Flack, Owain Humphreys and Gary Daniels all had to be passed by Knight for him to get to the head of the field.

Soon it was Bolt, Knight and Jarvis fighting for the lead. All three had there time at the front but Bolt openly admitted that he sat behind Knight for a while, watching the big Manxman attacking the course and learning as much as possible.

Bolt pitted at the end of the second lap to refuel. The others continued for a third lap and their fate was sealed.

Knight and Jarvis were joined by Keelan Hancock in the ‘ran out of fuel’ group and all three were excluded for outside assistance. (ESR 33)

Billy Bolt had a clear lead as even second placed Paul Bolton had dropped 10 minutes, his bike repeatedly stopping apparently. Jarvis was second across the line but DQ’d, so Bolton took second spot with a terrific ride from D3 Racing’s Sam Winterburn to take third in the Pro class.

Luke Flack took forth place and Owain Humphries fifth.

Matthew Jones climbed to fourth overall and top place in the Expert class by over five minutes, his recent good form continuing to pay dividends. Brad Williams’ first outing for a while saw him take second as Lee Sampson pulled a couple of minutes clear to take third place over Olly Megson who eventually finished in fourth.

Fred Adams was the only Clubman rider to post four laps, and consequently take the class win. Lewis Ellis and Liam Phillips completed the Clubman top three.

This was an extreme event in every sense of the word, especially with the elements against it but as part of the ACU British Extreme Enduro Championship the Ed’s of the Valley event bought something very different to the series and now the dust has settled and the mud is drying it will soon become a talking point in history.

As the mid-point of the series it was make or break for many riders with only a handful on the ‘make’ side of things.

Well done to Jess & Harry Hockly for their efforts and to the Fast Eddy crew and all the marshals who managed to keep the races running against the odds as the weather tried its best to kill the event.

Galleries: www.foto-x.co.uk

 

The 2017 ACU Fast Eddy British Extreme Enduro Championship. Round 2 at Cowm leisure

The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Racing duo of Graham Jarvis and Billy Bolt tightened their grips on the 2017 ACU British Extreme Enduro Championship at Cowm Quarry on Sunday by taking the top two spots in the Pro class around the toughest course ever laid out at the venue.

Usually the steep hillclimb at the heart of the venue is the centre of attention but for the afternoon race it was quite the opposite as crowds gathered at an perilously deep hole that the Pro, Expert and Clubman riders had to negotiate and it didn’t fail to deliver the thrills and spills everyone anticipated.

It wasn’t the only new section. Site operator John Whittle had been busy over the last few months making considerable adjustments to the course and adding new rock gardens everywhere.

The start area had a very different layout with riders leaving the line, hitting a sharp right-hander, negotiating a log section at speed before entering a narrow tunnel before exiting onto the course proper. Watching over 100 Sportsman riders squeeze through in the opening race was literally getting a quart into a pint pot!

At 9.30am the racing got underway and the veterans were first off the line with D3 racing’s Karl Greenhall showing he still has some speed, in short bursts, taking the holeshot ahead of Mick Boam on his Rock Oil Beta and Neil Crayston who was again mounted on his electric KTM.

Within yards Boam had the lead and he stretched a comfortable gap in a couple of laps, easing over the rocks as if they were tarmac. He was smooth and composed, for most of the race, and went on to take his second win of the series.

He was matched on laps only by fellow Vet Kiaran Hankin, both riders posting nine laps but Boam had a healthy lead of just under five minutes.

Third overall went to Youth rider Dawson Marriott who is getting closer each race to taking the overall win but as consolation he won his class by a mile. Third in the Vets went to Vince Harker who finished just seconds behind Marriott.

With a clear winner in the Youth ranks it was a free-for-all for the remaining podium places. Harry Edmondson was in the running initially but on his fourth lap he was taken out hard by another rider on one of the hills then snapped his gear selector which put him out of the running completely. Will Stansbie took the runner up spot, a lap down on Marriott, as Tom Knight put in a terrific performance to claw his way to third in class.

With over 100 Sportsman riders it was anyone’s guess who would win but Luke Owen eventually took the win despite a very poor start and several ‘incidents’ as he described them.

Calming himself and getting good lines, riding very smoothly around most of the course he finished ahead of a pack of Sportsman fighting for a podium place.

Darren Heyes just pipped Ryan Crayston to second place by 50 seconds, demoting Cranston to third but with a great ride all the same.
The start area was packed with riders and spectators for the afternoon race and it was well worth the wait to witness a spectacular start from the Pro riders.

Lee Sealey on his Yamaha Offroad Experience machine used every ounce of experience gained from his Super Enduro outing to get to the log section first and bounced across most of the section, the only rider to even attempt such a move. His claim to fame was brief as he DNF’d after two laps but it got the race off to a great start.

Even though Sealey’s efforts were impressive, Eurotek KTM’s Paul Bolton was alongside him as they hit the narrow tunnel with no sign of Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Team riders Billy Bolt or Graham Jarvis, in fact, Grimbo was last off the line.

Paul Bolton took the lead as Billy Bolt quickly moved through the pack ahead and by the time they entered the new rock garden just before the huge hole it was Bolt who headed the race. Paul Bolton remained in second spot as Jarvis had worked his magic and was a bike’s length behind in third with D3’s Sam Winterburn catching the leading three.

Bolt, Jarvis and Bolton traded places for the first hour, Jarvis suffering from arm-pump, until he suddenly came good and moved up a gear to put nearly five minutes between himself and the chasing pair.

All three made mistakes, Jarvis and Bolton having to make second runs at the huge hillclimb and it was one of these mistakes that allowed Billy Bolt to take second spot and pull nearly 40 seconds over Bolton in third. Jarvis was long gone at this point, nearly five minutes ahead of them, riding as strongly and smoothly as ever to take his fourth win of the season and second Eddy’s X-treme win of the year.

Billy Bolt is a quick learner and he had none of his trademark spectacular crashes as he picked his lines and pushed hard for a well-deserved second place. Paul Bolton is a pure competitor and pushed as hard as he could right to the finish line and third place.

Keelan Hancock is always near the front of the pack and fourth overall was a good result. Gary Daniels, one of the most underestimated riders in hard enduro, really showed his mettle by taking fifth in a tremendously talented field, a cracking ride for a very talented rider.

Sam Ludgate took sixth place on his Appleyard Beta but it didn’t matter because he was the first Expert rider home at the front of a tough set of Expert competitors around an ultra-tough course. Zac Sherwin matched Ludgate on laps but was a minute adrift in second place while Ben Wibberley took third in class.

Fred Adams finished an amazing 20th overall as the first Clubman rider to pass the chequered flag. With a huge Clubman class behind him that was quite an achievement and his second Eddy’s Xtreme class win this year. Lewis Ellis and Ashley Bell joined Adams on the podium in second and third places respectively.

Each event in this Championship outshines the previous. Tong was terrific but Cowm was really something special. Paul Edmondson and his team, alongside John Whittle, made the course something that any promoter in the world would be proud of. With not a tree in sight virtually the whole venue is viewable from a single point but the course was packed with spectators at all the tricky sections and as a spectacle it will be hard to beat.

Round three of the Championship takes place in Mid-Wales in just over two weeks time near to Saints Well, LD1 6PT and will be a forest based ‘hard enduro’ rather than an extreme, in the words of Fast Eddy, although I’m sure many riders will question that after a lap or two.
 

The 2017 ACU Fast Eddy British Extreme Enduro Championship. Round 1 at Tong

The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team had a cracking start to the ACU Fast Eddy British Extreme Enduro Championship by taking the top two steps of the podium in the Pro race.

Graham Jarvis put in a master-class of skilful riding to take the win nearly nine minutes ahead of teammate Billy Bolt, the only riders to clock up eight laps around the extended Parkwood Offroad course.

Eurotek’s Paul Bolton secured third place, which was an excellent result considering he had just returned to racing following an injury and was unable to put his full weight on his recovered ankle. His holeshot and easy passage over the first rock section showed he was back in the groove right from the start at the head of the field.

Eurotek KTM teammate David Knight crashed hard on the opening lap, on a steep downhill section with a sticky throttle while battling to get to the front of the pack following an uncharacteristic start, which saw him back in sixth spot over the first rocky section.

The Extreme Enduro Championship opening round at Tong certainly lived up to it’s billing by providing the toughest and longest course ever built at the venue. The Fast Eddy crew went all-out to include new sections and their attention to detail was obvious.

The new sections were gnarly and tricky with no respite anywhere, added to the infamous waterfall, rock slabs, gulleys and ditch jump and everything in between, the course was a true extreme test. Heavy overnight rain certainly didn’t make things easier but as it abated conditions stabilised and racing began.
A tight left-hander off the start lead to an even tighter right-hander ahead of a rock section that finished with large rock steps before getting onto the course proper. This was only used for the start much to the relief of many riders. Picking a line whilst walking the course is one thing but getting that line with 80 other riders also trying for their chosen lines is another, as was the case in the Sportsman class.
The Vets were away first and, with hindsight, they were relatively trouble free with Mick Boam and Mark Houson, two long-time Tong rivals at the head of the pack shortly into the opening lap. They have enjoyed many battles at this venue and Mick Boam enjoyed this one even more as he took the overall win and the Vets class ahead of Houson who was trailing by over seven minutes. They matched each other lap for lap but Houson couldn’t close the gap. Kieran Hankin pulled six minutes on Karl Greenhall to take third spot.

The Youth class rider know no fear and they hammered at the course right from the off. Dawson Marriott got a flyer as Harry Edmondson struggled to start his Husqvarna then crashed hard, allowing the pack to get away from him. Tom Knight was amongst the leaders and showed just how much he had improved over recent months to work his way into the top three by the end of the race.

Edmondson pulled back some time on the opening lap only to lose it and more on the second lap as he opted for the hard route on the rock slabs. A superhuman effort saw him lift his bike upright just yards from the end of the ‘No Help’ zone. Incredibly he managed to get to second in class by the end of the race.

Dawson Marriott didn’t have quite so much trouble and put in an exceptional performance to win the Youth class and finish fifth overall against some really tough competitors. He was focussed and fast, dealing with the numerous jams at tricky sections and he thoroughly deserved his win.

The Sportsman class was a much tighter affair. Les Mudie took the win at the head of a class of 80+ riders and was joined on the podium by Chloe Richardson who matched Mudie on laps but just couldn’t close the three and a half minute gap he had on her. It was the tightest finish of the race in terms of class positions. Jamie Rogers was a further five minutes adrift in third spot but all three were on the same lap.

The entry for the afternoon race virtually matched the morning contingent. The course was altered to incorporate the waterfall, ditch jump and the rock slabs on the opening lap, which were not in the first lap of the morning race, and several other sections were included to give a lap of around 16-18 minutes for the Pro class.

Eurotek’s Paul Bolton tore off the startline and grabbed the lead but Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team rider Danny McCanney was in hot pursuit as Graham Jarvis languished in fifth with David Knight sixth and Billy Bolt way down in eighth spot.

Within minutes news came through of Knight’s crash, much to the disappointment of the crowds at the ditch jump and the waterfall. Billy Bolt and Graham Jarvis didn’t need any encouragement to take full advantage and Jarvis quickly took the lead with McCanney, Bolton and Bolt vying for second spot. Jarvis pulled away as Bolt surged to within catching distance at one point but the Sorcerer gave his apprentice a lesson in how to turn up the heat and surged to the finish line nearly eight and a half minutes clear of Bolt in second, both riders on eight laps.

Bolt has improved and matured considerably since his first outing just 12 months ago at Tong and he rode a cracking race behind his teammate. Jarvis posted the fastest lap of the race on his final lap of the day as the track cleared of traffic and gave him a good run. He hadn’t escaped completely unscathed and put his hands up to a couple of ‘interesting’ offs during the race.

Paul Bolton had a terrific ride to take third place and spoil a potential Husqvarna 1-2-3 as Kieran Hancock was pushing hard in fourth on his St Blazey MX Husqvarna as Daniel McCanney gave Husky its fourth top spot out of five.

It was tight at the top in the Experts class as Matt Jones, Sam Ludgate and Charlie Frost fought for supremacy. Jones got the best of it and took the win three minutes up on Beta mounted Ludgate while Frost enjoyed his first real outing in anger on his Active Bikesport MRS Sherco.

The Clubman class was huge and volatile, with a dozen riders capable of nailing the win. Fred Adams proved to be the best of the lot as he put in five laps to take the class victory as behind him Brad Lilburn and Ryan Armitage fought for second and third. Lilburn got the break and finished just a minute ahead of Armitage who had close friend and rival Lee Hattersley just 15 seconds behind him.

Three riders from Romania entered the event and it came as quite a shock to find that the course was somewhat smaller than they were accustomed to. Usually a lap is around 50km but at Tong they found there were just as many challenges as in a huge 50km lap. Nicusor Botoaca, Dumitreascu Alexandru and Stefan Muntean represented the Stlina Viking Pruszynski team and all three finished, much to their delight.

This was a cracking event, full of action and incident, a proper extreme course. We know that because for the first time ever, Graham Jarvis didn’t tell Paul Edmondson that he had made it too easy. Praise indeed.

The Championship could not have asked for a better start and if Tong is an indicator of what’s to come then the whole series is going to be epic. The second round is on February 5th at Cowm Quarry where there is not a tree to be seen. Talk about going from one extreme to another!

Keith & Eddy's Xmas XC

The annual pilgrimage to Ashby Moto Park just after the Christmas festivities dust has barely settled was a chance for a laid back outing for two XC races and an early finish then off to the pub!

Keith Staines and Paul Edmondson run this small event for the dedicated few who are missing getting muddy on a regular basis although the track was in pretty good shape and even the woods were not too difficult compared to other years.

The day started with a one-hour Youth race that was won by Jack Sandland, who battled his way through to the lead position and tackled the two new huge mounds in the centre of the MX track with ease, much to the surprise of dad Kev.

Tradition dictates that there is always a slight delay before the start of the adult’s race. This is to accommodate site owner Keith Staines who is never prepared and also likes to make an entrance, although he spent quite some time taping his trousers around his waist, unable to find any traditional bailing twine long enough to do the job, he did eventually make the start, unrecognisable in a new shirt and helmet.

The Experts were first away and surprisingly Harry Edmondson got a poor start for once (stalled it!) but within half a lap he had fought his way to the front. He proceeded to put on a brilliant riding display of smart moves and impressive jumps to take the win and lap virtually the whole field. Alec Everitt was in second spot, a lap down on the leader as Adam Castledine took a solid third place.

There was quite a battle in the Clubman class as James Palmer took the win whilst fending off several challenges from Chaz Chater on a BW85, the finished level on laps but Palmer had gained a significant lead over the final few laps. Darren Cox took third in class, a lap down on the front pair.

Keith Staines suffered throughout the race as his tape job on his trousers failed miserably but he forged onwards to take the Veterans class win, apparently it is difficult to change gear when you have one hand on your trousers for most of the race. Kev Sandland, unable to pass Stainer because he was laughing too much, eventually took second in class just ahead of Nigel Travis in third.

Nick Whitehead took an impressive win in the Sportsman class. He warmed up on the pipes and tyres before the race and looked as if he had been practicing constantly over the last few weeks (in preparation for Eddy’s Xtreme at Tong) so it was no real surprise that he took the class win by a clear lap and was well up amongst the overall places by the end of the race. Matt Davis and Louis Allen fought over the remaining top spots with Davis just pipping Allen to the post.

The Novice class was another close-run affair with Darren Thorpe just beating Dan Laight to the finish flag to take the win while Brad Jefferies nailed third place.

It was a cracking day out with plenty to challenge riders as the course went from woodchip to slippy mud in places with the odd ice-covered ditch thrown in for good measure, but most of all it was fun and very enjoyable for both riders and spectators.

Well done Keith and Eddy.

Fast Eddy Racing Winter Series Final Round.

A last-minute venue change paid dividends for the fourth and final round of Fast Eddy’s Winter Championship on Sunday.

Moving from a saturated Hilton Park to Bicton Farm the event enjoyed almost perfect conditions as the track improved lap after lap for the six moto-duro races throughout the day. A slightly shorter course than usual made for some really close racing as both the open fields and woodland section dried out quickly to provide plenty of grip.

The plan was for two 45 minute youth races, two 50-minute outings for the Novice, Sportsman and Vets B with the same for the Experts, Clubman and Vets A. It worked really well and ran bang on time except for a slight delay waiting for the oversleeping Cookland crew at the start of the day.

The youth riders started proceedings and Adam James was on fire right from the moment the start flag dropped. He never put a wheel wrong at the front of the SW85cc class and thoroughly deserved his victory in both the first and second youth races taking to impressive wins.

Cory Cookland was also on form and took two second places, battling hard throughout each race, while Lewis Hurdsman nailed two third places.

Jack Sandland collected two first places in the 65cc class ahead of Jonas Brown and as entertaining as the two races were, they were equalled by the varying antics of parents; from the frenetic running around and pointing of Lance Hurdsman to the reserved clap and thumbs up of Kev Sandland, the encouraging ‘Hurry up you bugger’ of Rich Cookland all going on as Sean James sat by his camper enjoying a brew.

A rich and varied selection of enthusiastic parenting!

The first adults group was headed by the Vets B riders with David Williams doing the double in fine style, followed in both races by Shaun James with Dave Bixter taking two third places.

Frankie White-Edwards took the first win in the Sportsman class with Archie Collier following him home and Sean Taylor struggling with mechanical difficulties in third spot but the second race saw Collier take the win with Taylor second as White Edwards rode to the finish way down the pack nursing two cracked fingers while Dave Simpkin took third spot.

Dan Leadbetter dominated the Novice ranks in both races as Shaun Cornwall eventually took second spot despite having missed the start of race one and played catch-up to get to third by the end but it was bad luck for Will Farrow as he took second in the opening race only to crash out early on in the second but it was enough for third overall.

The second adult block saw the Experts, Clubman and Vets A enjoy the best of conditions by the end of the day.

Dave Cooper nailed the Vets A overall with a second place and a win in the final race with Steve Davis in second. Simon Wright was very unlucky, he won the opening race but was then out of the second and still managed third in class.

The Fast Eddy youngster are coming through the ranks at a rate of knots, suddenly the Clubman and Expert ranks are littered with very fast young riders who have cut their teeth on Fast Eddy events over the years.

In the Clubman class there was a three-way battle in both races as Ryan Phillips, Cole Cookland, James Palmer and Dawson Marriott all pushed each other hard. Palmer took the first win with Cookland second and Marriott third as Phillips had a brief break to repair his bike before returning to the race he had once lead.

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In the second race it was Cookland who triumphed with Phillips climbing to second spot as Palmer took third. Just two points separated winner Cookland from Palmer in second spot as Dawson Marriott took third

The Expert class line-up was terrific, again, peppered with fast Fast Eddy ex Youth riders.

First race winner Lee Sealey had a great opening race against Jack Edmondson, who unfortunately crashed out in the woodland section but Jack returned the favour in the second race following a frantic first 20 minutes where Sealey pulled a lead until the MX section of the track at which point Jacko was alongside him lap after lap but unable to make the pass.

Constant pressure from Jack Eddy saw Sealey eventually make a slight mistake exiting the woods, allowing the 2016 Youth World Champion to take the lead and charge for the finish flag.

Alex Walton was always in the mix and he posted second and third place finishes to take the class’ second place overall. Harry Edmondson was more than pleased with his ride. In the final race of the day he was ahead of brother Jack during the opening lap and another fourth place finish gave him third overall in class.

Max Ditchfield was on form as usual and rode hard to take third spot in the opening race although the second race didn’t go quite to plan and he eventually finished fourth overall. Henry Yardley felt the force as he borrowed Fast Eddys 250 2T Husky due to problems with his own machine and soon got to grips with some real power. He did very well considering the last-minute bike change and showed flashes of brilliance throughout the race.

All in all it was a great day of close racing and a cracking finish to a great Winter series. Well done to Fast Eddy and his crew.

 

Wild Westwood. 2017 ACU British Extreme Enduro Championship Final Round. Report: Tim Tighe. Pics: Tilde Tighe, Jack Fleming

As the year draws to a close the long-awaited finale of the 2016 BEEC arrived at Westwood near Sheffield to provide a surprising conclusion to this outstanding series, one where the Experts outshone the Pros for once to provide a nail-biting finish over the final few laps.

Always eager to provide great value for money, Paul Edmondson added a night race just for fun once the extreme championship had been settled and it proved to be hugely popular with both the riders and onlookers who witnessed the hundreds of small lights bobbing about in the Westwood woodland.

At midday the start flag dropped and the final two race-filled hours of the championship began around a course that looked fairly straightforward but proved to be anything but as the race progressed.

Tight, technical woodland filled with bomb-holes and streams, fallen logs and rock outcrops bought the race into sharp focus for riders right from the start as the inevitable log jams dotted the early part of the course, allowing the fast boys to gain ground while lesser riders toiled with their machines over slippery logs.

The packed entry line up was terrific. No David Knight, no Billy Bolt, no Graham Jarvis and no Jonny Walker left the race as open as can be and ready for a new name in the BEEC winners records. Just four riders stepped up to the Pro plate, all credit to them.

Gary Daniels is always a contender and has been ever present in the pro class all year long. He was joined by MPS Sherco’s Luke Flack and two of the D3 racing stable of riders, Rich Ely and a revitalised Sam Winterburn, but the eventual winner was none of the above!

The battle of the day was in the Expert ranks as Keelan Hancock and Charlie Frost yo-yoed at the front of the field, taking the lead then losing it as they passed backmarkers littered all around the course until Hancock made a slight error in the final few laps by following another rider who became stuck, allowing Frost to build a significant gap to finish the race in the number one slot. Luck may have been involved to a degree but fantastic riding, commitment and determination also played their parts in delivering victory to a worthy Charlie Frost. Hancock could be seen as unlucky after he had lead the race on and off until over the halfway point but finishing just 24 seconds adrift is no mean feat. It was close and just one more lap could have seen a very different result. Ben Wibberley took third in the Experts. Upholding the honour of the Pro ranks Luke Flack grabbed third overall, winning his class into the bargain ahead of Rich Ely and Gary Daniels.

The Clubman class witnessed a real ‘old school’ battle between Fred Adams and Dan Knaggs initially, trading blow for blow over each obstacle but it was Adams who hit his rhythm by the midpoint of the race and then disappeared into the distance to win the class by over five minutes as Knaggs took second, a lap up on third placed Ryan Armitage who was virtually on home turf.

Looking at the results it seems that Brad Lilburn dominated the Youth class and, fair play, he rode really well but there were a string of riders who gritted their collective teeth and charged around a course that became increasingly tough as the race progressed. Dawson Marriott took second spot and Thomas Widd third but young Tom Knight of the IOM dynasty had a great outing, as did Rosie Rowett who kept the princess in the box and continued to ride despite her ankle swelling in her boot! Henry Yardley was unlucky as he suffered head gasket trouble but made the finish all the same.

Mick Boam, ‘suffering from old age, too many beers and not enough exercise’ ripped the Veterans class in his usual feet up style but was happy to see the finish flag for once. Anthony Ayrton followed him home ahead of Alex Owen.

Darren Cox headed the pack of the large class of Sportsman riders as Reece Pickersgill and Ben Linklater filled the other podium spots but it was a big old class with some very competitive riders in it, a few were large on guts but fell a little short on talent and consequently the race was a series of deadlifts over obstacles but they attacked the course with true extreme enduro enthusiasm, which made for great spectating.

As the main race finished there was just over two hours until the evening race began at dusk. The venue looked like an electricians convention as LED helmet and bar lights blinked into life, amazing to see how technology has moved on in recent years with 90 minutes of light from a single charge on some of the helmet lights and they were pretty powerful.

The view of the start line was spectacular, proper ‘Close Encounters’ stuff. Once the race was underway it was awesome to see strings of lights weaving around the woodland as photographers did their best to obliterate riders night vision with their flashguns.

Luke Flack swapped the 4T Sherco for a 2T and simply rode as if it was midday, never missing a beat as his portable floodlight arrangement illuminated most of the venue. He took the win and restored some respectablity to the Pro ranks. Ben Wibberley was the Expert winner as Ryan Armitage nailed the Clubman class.

Anthony Tempest took the Vets win as Darren Cox was first Sportsman past the finish flag. Dawson Marriott headed up the Youth ranks.

It  was a perfect finish to a truly excellent day and fantastic Extreme series and there were many requests for further night races in the future. Fast Eddy will almost certainly accommodate such requests so sorting Christmas presents has never been so easy: A set of LED’s please Santa!

Well done Fast Eddy and all of his trusty crew who put on a great event once again and another top notch series to boot!

 

Fast Eddy Winter Championship at Bicton Farm

Brad Freeman showed his European Championship winning style and speed on Sunday with a dazzling display and two race wins around a chilly Bicton Farm on the outskirts of Shrewsbury.

 Winter finally caught up with Fast Eddy’s Winter championship as a cold wind blew across Bicton Farm on Sunday, interspersed with just a few occasional glimpses of sunshine.

The weather was cold but the racing was hot for this third round of the series, which was a moto-duro format, with three groups of riders each having two races.

Bicton was in perfect condition and a light shower at the start of the day cleared quickly with no lasting effects as the Youth riders left the line for the first of their 45-minute races.

Sion Hughes and Lewis Hurdsman were wheel to wheel off the line but Hughes just edged ahead by the second corner to accelerate into the distance and take a well-deserved victory in the BW85-150 class. 

SW85cc’er Jamie Williams posed an ever-present threat and was circulating less than two seconds a lap slower than Hughes.

Scott Draper was third as an unlucky Cory Cookland spent most of the race crashing and returned to the paddock to compose himself. It was a good move because as the second race ran its course he had secured third spot behind Hughes and Williams.

Hughes won the BW85’s class from Scott Draper while Williams took the SW85 win ahead of Adam James and Lewis Hurdsman.

Jack Sandland topped the 65cc’ers in both races ahead of Jonas Brown and Tom Dyson, good going from Dyson in his first ever enduro race.

The first adults race held the Veterans B, Sportsman and Novice riders with the Vets first off the line. David Williams took the hole-shot and then proceeded to lead the race from start to finish.

Williams rode so smoothly it looked as if he were simply trail riding, not hitting the deep berms but squaring the corners and keeping it all tight and smooth.

It paid off as he went on to win the second race in the same manner.

Shaun James tailed Williams throughout the opening race and took a well-deserved second spot with Frankie White-Edwards in third but it was ever-improving Sportsman Nick Whitehead who followed Williams home in the second race as Sean Taylor completed the top three line-up.

Will Farrow was absolutely flying in the Novice class, taking two class wins and the overall win in class.

Dan Leadbetter pipped Josh Lucy to second place by just two points in a very competitive and close run class.

With Brad Freeman and Lee Sealey sitting on the start it came as a slight surprise to see Harry Edmondson smoke em off the line at the start of the second adult groups race. The Experts, Clubman and Vets A all upped the pace of the first two races and Edmondson’s surprise attack came as a shock to a few in the front line of riders.

Lee Sealey soon took the lead but then it was really on between Freeman and Sealey for the whole hour of racing.

Freeman eventually pulled a three-minute lead with his fast and flowing style with Sealey in second.

All the action wasn’t just between these two.

Harry Edmondson and Henry Yardley were hammer and tongs at it with Edmondson slightly ahead. He lost the front end in a tightish corner and hit the deck with Yardley just feet behind him with nowhere to go except over the prone body of his close friend and rival.

Edmondson remounted none the worse for wear but his challenge was done at that point as Yardley went on to take third spot.

Max Ditchfield, Sam Nunn and Jordan Ridgway were all in the mix in the following group.

Ben Murphy’s return didn’t start well as he crashed on the start and Freeman ran over him but he managed to get back onto the start for the second race and what a race it turned out to be.

Freeman made his intentions clear as he rode fast and hard all around the berm on the first corner to exit yards ahead of his closest rivals Sealey and Murphy.

There was no catching the new European Champion so attention shifted to the race for second and third spot, which was extremely close.

Sealey and Murphy were alongside each other many times throughout the race until Murphy hit a tree and lost 40 seconds but he soon caught up with Sealey and tried a ‘do or die’ move on one of the last corners which didn’t go as planned so he ended up third behind second placed Sealey.

Henry Yardley took fourth ahead of Max Ditchfield and Harry Edmondson in the Expert ranks.

Cole Cookland’s win in the Clubman class first race showed he is getting to grips with his new 125, edging out Ryan Phillips by just 10 seconds as James Palmer put on a great show to take third in class.

All the Fast Eddy ex-Youth riders are really showing what they are made of in the adult ranks. Phillips got his revenge in the second race with a convincing win as Will Bayman took second and Cookland third. Phillips won the class overall with Cookland second and Charlie Chater third following two very consistent rides.

Jack Twentyman’s long drive was rewarded with a win in the first race after battling Chris Wagstaff all race long. Gary Skelding held a solid third in class but in the second race it was Waggy who reversed the running order to take the win and overall class win on tiebreak rules as Twentyman matched him on points. Skelding once again nailed third ahead of a hard-charging Kev Freeman and Colin Griffiths.

Although the day was bitter cold the racing was superb across all classes. On cold days it is always difficult to restart a second race after an hour or so rest but everyone rose to the challenge around a Bicton course that was outstanding.

Well done Fast Eddy and the crew. Galleries

 

Fast Eddy Winter Championship at Hilton Moto Parc

A new venue awaited riders for the second round of the Fast Eddy Winter Championship last Sunday. Hilton Moto Parc near Wolverhampton provided something very different to the usual countryside setting of most Fast Eddy events. A sand based MX track was extensively incorporated along with plenty of the surrounding woodlands to provide a six-minute lap for most riders although just a couple broke the sub five-minute barrier.

Hilton Moto Parc MX track is reasonably large but when the woodland was added it provided a course with nowhere to rest and plenty of tricky sections even though only a handful of MX sections were used. Long sweeping corners connected by whooped out straights saw plenty of action, the sand proving to be a challenge to those riders who hadn’t experienced such conditions before.

Off the start line the sandy course headed for a tight and twisty woodland littered with drops and tricky rooted sections before reappearing onto the MX section through a rutted water splash, which most riders coped with very well. Although there was plenty of the MX course used, the whole set up could easily be described as technical, certainly not flat-out fast.

The Youth race started the day and immediately Ryan Mundell blasted into the lead and dominated for the whole 90-minutes, posting an extra lap over the whole field of fellow competitors. Mitch Parkes kept pace with Mundell initially but settled for second overall and second in the 85-150cc class behind Mundell.

Cory Cookland took third overall and won the SW85cc class, quite an achievement as it was hard work for all the small wheel riders battling the deep sand sections. Lewis Hurdsman wasn’t far behind him and took second spot as Alfie Davies nailed the 65cc win ahead of Jack Sandland.

The second race of the day got underway and was stopped almost immediately following a hard crash by Jacob James, who broke his femur. It was good to see the response from riders who patiently waited for the medics to deal with the situation. Lets hope he has a speedy recovery. Following a lengthy delay and a slight change to the start the race eventually got underway once again, cut from two hours to an hour and threequarters duration.

Jack Ditchfield, Kalem Hicks and Dan Boam were side by side as the Expert pack disappeared into the first woodland section but Ben Murphy, Henry Yardley and Sam Nunn were close behind.

Even in the first half of the first lap the lead changed hands several times as riders passed then crashed until Jack Ditchfield eventually took control. Ben Murphy was challenging hard but slight lack of race fitness, a loose seat and missing sub-frame bolts saw him retire.

Henry Yardley and Sam Nunn battled it out until Yardley took second spot and seemed to be closing on the leader until he had to pit with brake problems allowing Nunn to jump up a place to follow the leader.

Max Ditchfield took his chance and moved into a solid third place, unable to make inroads into the leading pair. Dan Boam nailed fourth spot ahead of Kalem Hicks in fifth as Yardley eventually took sixth.

Ryan Phillips had another cracking ride to win the Clubman class, the Experts surely beckon him next season.  He had some serious competition in the form of Cole Cookland who had his first outing on a 125cc and certainly made the most of it. The move to a bigger machine had long been overdue for this talented youngster and he proved he was up to it with a terrific second place in the Clubman ranks. Another youngster was hot on his heels. Charlie Chater was flying on his new Husky and finished in third just over a minute behind Cookland.

There were plenty of veterans in attendance and they were split into Vets A and B. Chris Wagstaff managed to fend off a strong challenge by Gary Benniman to win the Vets A group with Dennis Harrison, out for the first time in many months, taking third. Kev Freeman had been up amongst the leaders for quite a while but DNF’d after 10 laps.

In the Vets B class Stuart Gordon managed to take the win even though he had David Williams pushing him hard while Mark Plain took third ahead of Ian Smart.

Sean Taylor finished just seconds ahead of a fast-closing Rob Myatt to win the Sportsman class as Nick Whitehead secured third spot, all three on sixteen laps.

Dan Leadbetter managed an extra lap to take the Novice class win with Shaun Cornwall second and Matt Adams third.

Getting a new venue is always a bonus these days and Hilton Moto Parc certainly provided a competitive course although it was very different from the norm in many ways. Some riders had their first taste of riding sand and they either loved it or earned invaluable experience.

It was a great day, marred slightly by the injury to Fast Eddy regular Jacob James, but overall it was somewhere new and it was a terrific course and an excellent venue.

 

Fast Eddy Winter Championship at Bicton Farm

With the regular season done and dusted the Fast Eddy crew launched straight into the winter series of events last Sunday.

Heavy rain throughout Saturday didn’t bode well for the opening round of Fast Eddy’s Winter Championship at Bicton Farm near Shrewsbury but by Sunday morning the course was in pristine condition and the event turned out to be one of the best ever at this favourite Fast Eddy Racing venue.

Sunshine throughout the day saw the well-tendered track produce excellent racing and it was hard to believe that this was the start of a winter championship series. In a change to the normal schedule, the adult race started the day with the youth race starting around lunchtime.

There was a slight delay to proceedings as the Yardley camp experimented with red diesel in Henry and George’s bikes. There was a significant saving on cost but performance suffered to say the least. Once the mistake was rectified and the smoke cleared racing began.

Another significant change was the absence of a Youth class. This saw several youth riders entered in the Clubman ranks and Henry Yardley in the Experts. Their results are testament to just how fast the Youth class riders are and the quality of the up-and-coming riders in the Fast Eddy stable.

Three huge fields with a brief dip into the woodland saw a fast and flowing course with dust berms building on a handful of corners right from the start, the course was around seven minutes in length, at least for Jack Edmondson who used the event for last-minute practice before venturing to Spain for the ISDE.

Riding in the Expert class Jack took the lead and never looked back but if he had he would have seen a terrific battle going on behind him. An injured Jack Ditchfield battled with Dan Boam initially but withdrew after five laps allowing Henry Yardley to put in a terrific charge whilst Boam was also flying around the course. Yardley’s bike seemed to have no ill effects as he took second place overall, Boam eventually finishing in third spot.

Ryan Phillips was on top form in the Clubman ranks although he was pushed hard by Jacob James and Charlie Chater, who was enjoying his first outing on a new 85cc Husqvarna. Both James and Chater went well considering they were new to the Clubman ranks.

Ryan Griffiths took a break from MX but maintained the speed he had gained over the summer months to win the Vets A class by just 40-seconds over Chris Wagstaff while Gary Benniman grabbed third. Benniman’s return to racing following a hip operation has been remarkable and he is really getting back into the swing of things.

David Williams’  long drive from Blackpool was well worth it as he took the Vets B class by some five minutes clear of Mark Plain as Stuart Gordon rode to a well-deserved third spot.

Ant Trawford’s move from MX to enduro is paying off as he took the win in the Sportsman class but was hounded throughout the two-hour race by Archie Collier in second place. Frankie White-Edwards, riding on home turf virtually, took a solid third in class.

George Yardley managed a cracking win in the Novice class despite his bike feeling the effects of diesel poisoning. He took the class win by a lap and three minutes over second placed Jamie Harrison while James Bright secured third in class.

With the course bedded in the youth race took to the line and enjoyed the very best of what Bicton Farm had to offer.

Carwyn Rosser was first off the line and dominated the race throughout but Adam James slowly made inroads into Rosser’s lead as the race progressed and eventually took second overall, just 33 seconds adrift. James took the SW 85cc class win ahead of Cory Cookland and Lewis Hurdsman while Jonas Brown topped the 65cc class. Joe Harrison took second in the BW85-150, behind Rosser.

A terrific start to the ‘winter’ series is cracking summer conditions. Lets hope the good weather continues.

 

Rock Oil XC Championship final round at Brake Hill Farm. Report: Tim Tighe. Pics: Tilde Tighe/www.foto-x.co.uk

The regular Fast Eddy Racing season ended with a bang at Brake Hill Farm, Northants, last weekend. Saturday’s Husqvarna Demo-day, combined with a FED practice day, saw the venue packed to near capacity as riders enjoyed the cracking course laid out by the Fast Eddy crew.

Sunday was a slightly more nervous affair as many of the class titles were up for grabs at the final round of the 2016 Rock Oil XC Championship. Virtually all the regulars were out in force and they were joined by plenty of new faces that could see just how good the venue was.

Overnight rain forced a slight delay to the start of racing on Sunday, Fast Eddy’s lap inspection saw him return with tyres caked in mud but with the sun shining and a slight breeze the course was improving as each minute passed so a 30-minute delay proved to be a very smart move. By the third lap the ground was absolutely perfect.

Brake Hill Farm has an excellent MX track, combined with flowing woodland sections and a large undulating field section that gave riders a course that was simply a pleasure to ride.

Instead of the usual start around part of the MX track, the riders lined up in the large field at the far side of the venue and curled onto the course near its midpoint before entering the woods and eventually reaching the MX section.

The adult race started proceedings for once, giving the later youth race a course that would be in pristine condition. It worked a treat.

Derek Bawn was on top form and he grabbed the lead as the start flag fell, only Expert rider Jack Ditchfield was able to keep him in sight for the first few laps but Bawn had the bit between his teeth and gradually pulled clear to eventually win by nearly a minute over his closest rival.

The battle of the day was played out behind him as Jack and Max Ditchfield battled for family bragging rites. Jack held second spot for over half the race with Harry Edmondson working his way into contention in third spot and Clubman Max Ditchfield in fourth. Henry Yardley and Jacob Bowden were also in the mix, Yardley recovering from a dreadful start in the Youth class.

With Bawn untouchable at the head of the field developments took a turn when Max Ditchfield pitted exceptionally well, overtaking Edmondson in the pits to move into third spot. He charged onwards with his big brother firmly in his sights, Jack Ditchy began to look nervously over his shoulder as the end of the race approached. Edmondson crashed and was out of contention as the whole of the venue scrutinised the battle of the brothers.

Eventually the inevitable happened and Clubman Max Ditchfield overtook Expert Jack Ditchfield, much to the appreciation of the crowd. The overtake would have attracted the attention of any FIM F1 regulatory panel but this is Enduro and Jack Ditchy just had to suck it up. Thirteen seconds separated them at the finish and the celebrations began for some of the Ditchfield camp. Jack was magnanimous in defeat although he did point out that his refuelling took over a minute whereas Max’s took 12 seconds and that Max had always been the favourite son but that aside, he wasn’t bitter at all.

In consolation, Jack Ditchy took the Expert class win with Jacob Bowden a solid second and, following a terrific ride, George Birchall took third. Max Ditchy won the Clubman class ahead of Rich Cookland and Andy Myers.

Another family was battling for top spot in their household, Scott Mead topped the Sportsman class while Dad Daryl won the Sportsman Vets, both taking respective Championship wins. Sean Taylor and Stuart Robson were second and third in the Sportsman class while Shaun James and Royce Machin followed suit in the Sportsman Vets.

Flyin Ryan Griffiths took a break from stunt riding to win the Clubman Vets although some of his moves verged on stunt riding as Kev Sandland nursed his dying Honda to second place ahead of Louis Davis.

Henry Yardley once again proved he is a force to be reckoned with as he won the Youth class by a lap over Jacob James, finishing fifth overall into the bargain. Callum Sedgwick took third in class.

The 90-minute Youth race had the best conditions of all. The weather stayed fine throughout the day and the 1pm start was timed to perfection.

Charlie Chater was off the start line fastest in the BW85-150 class but Sam Davies seized his chance and took to the front halfway around the first lap, never to look back. Chater lost his exhaust at one point and his charge was over as he pitted for a replacement but he had enough time in hand to take second spot ahead of Mathew Harries.

William Farrow topped the 85cc SW class ahead of Adam James and Jamie Williams while Sion Evans had a great outing in the 65ccs to win the class ahead of Cory Cookland and Jack Sandland.

The whole weekend was a blast but there is no denying the highpoint was Max Ditchy’s overtake of brother Jack. Three and a half hours to drive home must have seemed like an eternity in the Ditchfield van.

The 2016 Rock Oil XC Championship could not have had a better finale. Hard work by the Fast Eddy crew throughout the season and continued support from long serving sponsor Rock Oil really makes this series one of the best in the country. Galleries on foto-x.co.uk
   
   

ACU GBXC British Sprint Championship at Westwood.

The final ACU GBXC British Sprint Championship weekend of the season saw the Fast Eddy entourage head north to Westwood near Sheffield to a pure woodland course that was tight and technical, which certainly suited Brad Freeman as he took six out of the seven test wins on Saturday and ten out of ten on Sunday

Westwood provided yet another different challenge as the series reached completion, something Paul Edmondson has strived for all season long. The opening rounds at Rogers Hill Raceway really suited the speed merchants, while round two at H2O was big and flowing and had a great mix of MX and woodland terrain.

The third round at Ashby Moto Park was tight but flowed well through a small woodland and MX course. Westwood was made for technical riders with just second and third gears necessary for most around the six-minute test. There were plenty of riders heading for the final Enduro GP round in France this coming weekend who used the Sprint as a sharpener and to shakedown their machines ready for the French Finale.

Twisting through the trees the course encompassed a terrific stream section, quarry bowl and several snaking loops up and down tricky hillsides where the thinking riders took their time walking the test to spot hidden lines to save a few seconds here and there.

Heavy rain curtailed the event after seven runs on Saturday but Sunday proved to be much kinder and ten runs were packed in, although following the rain the course was slick and tricky to begin with on the second day and one of the big hills was cut to keep the course flowing as well as possible.

Returning from injury Colwyn Bay KTM’s Brad Freeman looked was on top form and lost out just once as Factory Sherco rider Tom Sagar had an exceptionally good run on Saturday afternoon to take third overall while KTM’s Jack Edmondson maintained a good pace to retain second overall throughout the day. Eurotek KTM rider Billy Bolt, fourth, was running extremely well once he regained his composure following a dramatic crash in the stream section on his second run. A change of footpegs suited his size elevens better and he was on form for the rest of the day. MPS Sherco’s Luke Flack nailed fifth spot in the Championship class.

Sunday saw the same results positions with Freeman heading the pack once again, finishing a minute and a half clear of Edmondson over the ten runs. Freeman topped the Championship E2 class, Edmondson the E1 and Billy Bolt the E3.

The Expert class saw a two-day two-way battle for supremacy between Dan Mundell (E1) and Tom Ellwood (E2). Mundell won five of Saturday’s tests to Ellwood’s two but Sunday proved to be even closer as Ellwood took the day by six tests to four with just 16 seconds between the tweo at the end of the second day. Jordan Ridgway was very consistent over both days and took two third places. Lewis Belfield took fourth but topped the E3 class, which was some sort of compensation.

As ever, the Youth class was fast and furious. Great friends and rivals Harry Edmondson and Henry Yardley swapped and changed test wins throughout the weekend but it was the youngest Edmondson who was victorious on both days, 11 seconds clear on Saturday and 45 seconds clear on Sunday. Yardley had a big off near the end of the day on Sunday and was bitterly disappointed not to win but his strength of character saw him continue to chase Harry as hard as he could.

It was a terrific effort from both riders. Jacob James is another excellent Youth class rider and took third spot on both days, with Edmondson and Yardley in the same class James always raises his game and he certainly did over the weekend.

Andrew Reeves was another double winner, taking the Veterans class by storm as Mark Rayner and Colin Blunt charged hard to catch him but to no avail. Reeves really seemed to take to the technical nature of the test and it showed in his test times right from the start.

Competition in the Clubman class has been fierce since the series started. A great mix of up and coming talent has been fighting hard for top spot overall and in the three sub-classes, E1, 2 &3. In his first season of Sprints Brendan Griffiths has worked hard to learn new techniques and has applied them extremely well.

He won the class overall on both days with a great margin on Saturday over Chris Weston and Chris Rayner but Chris Pryce pushed him hard on Sunday and Griffiths was just four-seconds clear after 10 runs.

Pryce took second on Sunday with Danny Culkin filling the final podium spot on the final day.

Rosie Rowett continued with her great form following her Rhayader BEC success by taking both wins in the Ladies class. As with virtually every other rider at the event, she took more than a few tumbles throughout the weekend but showed true Northern grit to take Satuday’s win over Fionn Griffiths and Ellie Cooke and maintained her dominance on Sunday as Griffiths and Cooke traded places.

It was a tough course for Sportsman riders and despite winning his class on the first day, that was enough for Dave Simpkin. Aaron Webb followed him home with Dan Charles in a respectable third spot. Webb went on to take Sunday’s class win ahead of Luke Molter and Nick Whitehead.

Westwood proved to be a tough but exciting venue. The weather on Saturday didn’t help at all and even influenced Sunday’s racing initially but by lunchtime on the final day the course was in relatively good shape, if not a little rutted in places.

It was the competitive nature of all involved that made the weekend, and the series, such a success. Each and every class was hotly contested with racers fighting for every single run through the twisty woodland.

Westwood proved to be an excellent venue for the finale of a terrific series. The Fast Eddy crew have worked exceptionally hard to make the championship a success and they achieved their goal hands down with top class venues, quality tests and excellent organisation, which attracted the best riders in the UK. Job done!

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Rock Oil XC at Green Hall Farm. Jack Cad Nails It!

The pen-ultimate round of the Fast Eddy Rock Oil XC Championship saw a new name at the top of the results sheet. Jack Cadwallader nailed the overall win in what proved to be a tough, uncompromising, muddy and testing race on Sunday.

Green Hall Farm, Llanfillin, is on the large side with terrain to match its size. Everything is big, especially the climbs, so following several downpours on Saturday night the venue was on the slippy side as much of the course was across fields and through woodland that didn’t have a flat or level spot anywhere. In an effort to try and get some lines appearing the adult racers went first for once to give the youth racers a slightly easier time later on in the day. It worked a treat!

Just after 11.00am the Experts left the start line into a short U turn before heading into the great outdoors and almost immediately disappearing into the woods. The first section was tough but it did little to prepare riders for the large climb in the second section where only a dozen riders made the summit at the first attempt. With some riders turning around a coming back down the hill as others powered up it the course became sketchy so Paul Edmondson sensibly cut the section, much to the relief of most riders.

As the race progressed the course improved, despite the odd few spots of rain, and a proper old school battle developed between the leading pack.

Expert rider Jack Cadwallader had made his way to the front and was determined not to give up his spot while rival Jack Ditchfield tried his hardest to close the gap on the leader whilst fending off Ash and Jacob Bowden, Aled Price and Ted Bailey, even Youth class rider Harry Edmondson who was up amongst the front runners within a few laps, alongside Clubman Max Ditchfield for a while.

Gaps lengthened and it was Jack Cadwallader who took the win on the two-hour mark with Jack Ditchfield second and Ash Bowden third, all three knew they had been in a tough old race. Jacob Bowden suffered a puncture and dropped down the ranks but Aled Price pushed hard for third spot, just missing out as time ran out.

Eventually finishing fifth overall Harry Edmondson topped the Youth class and posted the fastest lap of the race into the bargain as he circulated with a snapped spoke clicking constantly, much to the concern of his pit crew. His close friend and rival Henry Yardley managed to take second in the class, matching young Edmondson on laps but was some three and a half minutes adrift by the finish. Jacob James took a solid third place while James Palmer had a terrific race and looked extremely comfortable in the tricky conditions but unable to catch James.

Max Ditchfield nailed the Clubman class win and finished just behing harry Eddy in the overall standings. Young Ditchy always talks a good race before the event but recently he has backed up his predictions with solid results and taking the class win four minutes ahead of Andy Myers was quite a feat.

Lee Hattersley and Ryan Armitage swapped third position throughout the race and it was only decided on the last lap where Armitage reckoned Hattersley had the edge on him out of the corners. Hattersley third, Armitage fourth.

Chris Wagstaff felt at home in the slippy conditions and dominated the Clubman Veterans class almost from the start.

He was the first of the 10 lappers (everyone ahead of him posted 11 laps) and he built up an unassailable lead to take the class win by some seven minutes over David Wright who maintained second spot 90 seconds ahead of Kev Sandand in third.

Scott Mead kept his Championship hopes alive with a win in the Sportsman class and one round to go at Brake Hill Farm. Mead was a lap up on his closest rival Dave Simpkin in second place as Ant Trawford nailed third just under five minutes behind Simpkin.

It was tough going for the Novice class riders but one stood head and shoulders above the rest. Ben Martindale posted eight hard earned laps to win the class as his nearest rival, Richard Lewis, completed five. Even five laps was good going in comparison to the rest of the class who all DNF’d after the first lap.

Pro rider James Jackman asked to be omitted from the report but everyone had a bad day occasionally and Green Hall Farm was Jackman’s.

Over the years he has battled with the best and received the glory when earned. Today wasn’t a glory day but he will put it behind him and charge onwards.

By 1.15pm the Youth race was underway and Charlie Chater stamped his authority on it within a couple of laps. The course had been changed considerably and most of the woodland sections were removed but even what was left still presented a real challenge for the younger riders.

Luckily the sun began to break through and the course dried to perfection, much to the envy of the adults from the opening race. While the morning riders were covered in mud, the youth racers were spotless for the whole of the 90 minutes of their race.

Charlie Chater was untouchable and took the overall and BW85-150 class win ahead of Sam Davies and Matthew Harries while George Yardley grabbed third overall and topped the SW855cc class ahead of William Farrow and Adam James.

Respect must go to the 65cc riders who tackled the big hills with ease. Sion Evans took top 65 spot followed by Cory Cookland and Jack Sandland.

This was one of the toughest rounds of the Championship this season. No other venue can match Green Hall Farm on scale alone

The eighth and final round will run on September 25th at Brake Hill Farm, Northamptonshire, a firm favourite amongst Fast Eddy riders who raced there earlier in the season.

The venue always provides terrific racing and close finishes. With many of the Championship classes still up for grabs the entry should be impressive.

 

Eddy's H2O Extreme Classic

Factory KTM Extreme rider Jonny Walker rocketed back onto the Hard Enduro scene with a terrific win at Fast Eddy’s new extreme venue, H2O near Oswestry. Coming back from injury Walker showed no signs that he had ever been away from the sport as he dominated the two and a half hour race ahead of Paul Bolton and Billy Bolt, lapping virtually the entire field of riders in the process.

Since organiser Paul Edmondson has been there, H2O has been used in many guises but never before had riders seen it as an extreme venue and there was plenty of choice for sections.

The huge motocross track was untouched as the course concentrated solely on the large woodland hillside and the steep-sided valley adjacent to it. With support from Michelin and Rock Oil the event really was set to be a classic.

Dipping briefly into the valley off the start the course continued on to an open field section before the tough stuff really began as the woodland section approached.

Once into the woods the twisty track plummeted straight downhill before U-turning back towards the top of the hillside and into the large rocks. Surviving the rocks, it continued on to a series of logs that increased in difficulty and finished with a flourish over a waist-high monster although there was a longer easy route for riders who were just short of enough confidence to take it on.

Back down to the valley floor and up again into the Rock Oil Rocks, a 50 metre boulder strewn section with at least two relatively straightforward lines across them that gave a 30 second advantage over the slower route further down the slope.

Through the heavily rutted and stumped Arm Pump Alley and the riders emerged into the open valley before turning down to the snaking stream section which lead to a massive hillclimb, up and down, then headed towards the finish with another very steep slope to negotiate.

A proper tough and challenging lap.

The optional qualifying run around a short part of the course saw Walker 14 seconds ahead of Eurotek KTM mounted Paul Bolton, Bolts had a superb ‘feet up’ run across the rocks and really made it look easy, while Tom Sagar manhandled his Sherco to third spot ahead of Billy Bolt, also on a Eurotek KTM, in fourth.

The race got underway and almost immediately Walker was in control with Bolton and Bolts in pursuit.

Hitting the steep woodland Walker gained a huge advantage as Bolt crashed hard at high speed on the first big downhill and took a few minutes to recover before continuing. Paul Bolton pushed hard to keep sight of Walker while Tom Sagar held a solid third place.

Walker was in his element around H2O and really made every obstacle look easy but it was far from it for the rest of the field.

Only Paul Bolton kept his momentum and followed Walker to the flag as Billy Bolt overcame a huge gap to eventually catch and pass Tom Sagar to take third place as Gary Daniels took fifth. Daniels had ridden extremely well and deserved his top five Pro spot. Only Walker and Bolton managed more than 10 laps, overtaking plenty of very competent riders on the way but there were plenty of lines around the course so passing wasn’t a problem.

Keelan Hancock nailed the Expert class. He used his considerable Trials skills to get around the course, always taking the hard but fast options to beat Brad Williams into second spot by eight minutes with Ben Wibberley just under a minute behind Williams in third place. Damo Butler, spannerman to Graham Jarvis, put in an appearance and rode well. No doubt his report may well attract Grimbo next time round.

Veterans Andrew Reeves and Mick Boam had a great battle throughout the race. Boam slightly misjudged the really big log in timed qualifying and wrenched his shoulder but he charged onwards to finish second in class in the race with Mark Kirby putting in a great performance to take third spot.

Lee Hattersley headed the Clubman class. He had fought throughout the race with close friend and rival Ryan Armitage but managed to pull it out of the bag in the closing stages. Ryan Bevan took advantage of Armitage’s lack of bike time over the past few months to take second spot with Armitage eventually taking third place.

Tom Widd was triumphant in the Youth class. He was four laps ahead of his closest rival Mathias Sallin in second spot. Suff Sella took a creditable third place. He is visiting the UK from Israel and at 13 he already has a Romaniacs finish under his belt and despite being somewhat handicapped on a BW85cc he rode bravely and put on a great show. A talent for the future that’s for sure.

Andy Harvey managed to get some distance over second placed Dave Handley in the Sportsman ranks, but not much by the end of the race. The pair were neck and neck at many points around the course. Henry Walker managed third in class. The turnout of Sportsman riders was very impressive considering it was a hard enduro.

Getting the balance of the course correct is always a difficult task but one that Neil Stoksie and his team managed well. It suited all standard of riders although it was very tough for the Sportsman and still challenging for the Pros with plenty of features, all natural terrain and obstacles, yet still very competitive.

Paul Bolton commented that it is unusual in the UK to have a hard enduro where there is a choice of lines virtually all way around the course but H2O provided such a great course with plenty of options.

Nearly sixty riders entered and although that may be a little disappointing for the organised Paul Edmondson the field was absolutely top notch. The event was in reality a tester for the venue to enter the ACU British Extreme Enduro Championship next year, a series organised by Fast Eddy Racing. It passed the test with flying colours.

The main question being asked after the race was; ‘When’s the next one?’ Testament to just how good it was.

 

Rock Oil Xc Championship. Rd.6. H2O

Ben Murphy’s recent run of excellent form saw him take the overall victory in the main race of the day as he lead virtually from start to finish of the two and a half hour race.

Despite intermittent showers the course held up well and Murphy really showed his capabilities across all terrain from the flat-out fast MX course to the tight and technical woodlands.

The H2O venue near Oswestry never ceases to provide surprises with each event that runs there. Last weekend saw the Fast Eddy Racing Rock Oil XC Championship tackle several new sections around a huge lap that took most Pro and Expert riders in excess of 12 minutes to complete.

With many of the usual sections of the venue put to one side for the day, several new routes were introduced and found favour with the faster guys, giving them an opportunity to take hard but fast lines to overtake some of the not-so-fast riders. A special test type layout on grass was incorporated into one of the fields and it soon had plenty of good lines in it.

The incredible size of the venue allowed for just two races to be scheduled. The day started with the usual Youth race then was followed by a combined adults race which would usually be split into two but with a handful of regulars on holiday and a large lap to accommodate plenty of bikes the decision was made to put everyone together although the Pro, Expert, Clubman and Clubman Veterans continued on for two and a half hours as the Sportsman, Novice, Youth and Sportsman Vets finished at the two-hour mark.

The start for both races was uphill and on grass with a tight left-hander at the top of the straight. Sam Davies, in the BW85-150 class, used his head as the flag dropped in the Youth race and although he started further from the corner than the other riders, he had a straight run across the slope, a move that put him immediately into the lead.

Charlie Chater, Matthew Harries and Trystan Hopkins were close behind initially but Davies really motored over the first lap to stretch his lead despite the pack doing their best to close him down. Davies won by quite a margin but Chater took second even though he had more than a few problems he got his head down and pushed hard for the runner-up spot with Harries taking third in class.

Third overall went to the top SW85 rider George Yardley who showed that it wasn’t all down to engine size by clawing his way past much bigger machines and getting a comfortable gap in third place. Following Yardley in the SW85 class was William Farrow and Jamie Williams while Adam James had a terrific ride to win the 65cc class ahead of Sion Evans and Bert Boam.

The adult race saw a few regulars missing but many new faces, all eager to try out H2O for the first time. Garry Benniman celebrated his 45th birthday by returning to racing after quite a long spell away although he did admit it was in preparation for the upcoming H2O Extreme classic on August 13th.

There were plenty of others who had the same idea. Although the course will be completely different, it gave riders a feel for the place.

Tim Foreman lead the Pro class off the line with Ben Murphy and James Jackman close behind but it was Murphy who took control through the woodland section and out into the MX loop.

He never looked back. Foreman hung on to second in class while Jackman had ‘not a great day at the office’ to secure third.

Brad Williams had to fight for the front in the Expert ranks alongside Paddy Twentyman into the first corner but Twentyman just lost grip slightly on the turn allowing Williams to take to the front and charge after the Pro riders.

Williams rode flawlessly and climbed to third overall as the race ended. Ash Bowden also had a fight on his hands but eventually took second behind Williams as Luke Rudd pushed him hard for most of the race. Respect to Jack Twentyman who is more than old enough for the Veterans class. He entered the Experts to give his son a run for his money and beat him as Paddy DNF’d after just a lap.

Max Ditchfield was outstanding in the Clubman ranks. It was interesting to see him challenging his Expert brother Jack as the pair were wheel to wheel at one point but pride took over and Jack turned up the gas. Max Ditchy had more than done enough to win his class ahead of Lee Hattersley and Andy Myers.

Mick Boam was in his element at the head of the Clubman Vets over a technical course that saw him on the pegs throughout the race, picking his way through backmarkers with ease. Chris Wagstaff looked as if he had been in the thick of it by the finish and took a well-deserved second in class, a lap up on Darren Skillin in third.

In the two-hour ranks Henry Yardley had control of the Youth class and the overall first position clocking eight laps to take the win as Jacob James took second in class and James Palmer third.

Mark Oakley nailed the Sportsman class win just ahead of Lee Richards on the same lap with Dave Simpkin a lap down in third in a very hotly contested class.

Joe Wheeler managed to post an extra lap to win the Sportsman vets from Royce Machin and David Williams as Ben Martindale once again took the Novice class win ahead of Terry Bonner and Frankie White-Edwards.

It was a terrific event but with such a large amount of land to work with it is relatively easy for the Fast Eddy crew to put on very different course each time an event runs at H2O but the upcoming Extreme Classic on August 13th will use sections never before imagined in any race at the venue.
 

ACU GBXC British Sprint Championship at Ashby Motopark

Steve Holcombe moved two steps closer to wrapping up the 2016 ACU GBXC British Sprint Championship last weekend with two hard fought victories at the fifth and sixth rounds of this year’s series.

He is a single point away from the Champions title with the final two rounds still to run in the series in September, an impressive feat considering the top-notch competition lined up alongside him.

The third weekend of four Sprints took place at Ashby Moto Park, Leicestershire, and on Saturday the weather didn’t play ball. Scheduled to start at 10.00am the rain was hammering down and the decision to delay for an hour proved wise as the rain abated at 11.00am.

Now AMP isn’t the biggest venue in the UK but somehow the Fast Eddy crew managed to shoehorn two Special Tests into it, an Enduro and an MX test, both around five minutes in duration for the fast boys but both badly hit by the torrential rain.

The Enduro test meandered through woodland and the going was tough in places to say the least but the sections that were wood-chipped handled the adverse conditions very well. The endurocross section just before the end of the test remained in good shape while the MX test ran around the permanent MX track with a huge loop out into another woodland. The ground was hard packed and slippy, a large pool of water had built up after one of the jumps and although it was uncomfortable to ride, it provided plenty of entertainment for spectators.

The field of riders was divided into two groups; Championship, Expert and Clubman took on one test while Veterans, Sportsman, Ladies and Youth the other. Each group would have six runs at each test, swapping over around lunchtime.

The Championship, Expert and Clubman group hit the MX test first and Championship leader Steve Holcombe, riding in E3, didn’t have the best of starts. He began on the MX track but as it cut through into the woods on a hard packed dirt section his front wheel tucked and he was trapped underneath his bike for around 10 seconds.

Rockstar Husqvarna rider Danny McCanney (E1) was on the pace right from the start and won the first two tests before Holcombe hit the sweet spot and started to gain momentum. It was a two horse race for the overall win, which was won by Holcombe. Freestyle Husqvarna’s Joe Wootton (E2) was never far from the leading pair and finished the day in third spot but at the top of E2. Daryl Bolter roder his KTM UK 250 KTM to fourth spot with Factory MRS Sherco rider Tom Sagar taking fifth. Jack Edmondson retired following a big crash on the fourth test of the day but returned to race again on Sunday.

In the Expert ranks MRS Sherco’s Tom Ellwood (E2) battled all day long with JD Racing’s Dan Mundell (E1), honours were even on the MX tests but Ellwood had the edge on the Enduro tests giving him over 40 seconds lead by the end of the day. Brad Williams took third place, he had a test win to his credit early on but it was very tight at the top and he finished the day in third.

Brendan Griffiths dominated the Clubman ranks. Riding in E1 he won every test on the first day finishing four minutes clear of his closest rival Michael Evans (E2) while Scott Hoskins took third as the top E3 rider.

On the Enduro test the going was tough, especially in some sections of the woodland. Once six runs were completed it was a relief to head to the MX test.

Harry Edmondson had a cracking ride in the Youth class, winning the day overall by 10 seconds from fellow Youth rider Henry Yardley as Veteran Andrew Reeves topped his class and took third place overall. Third in Youth was Jacob James while Karl Greenhall just beat Andy Daniels to second in the Vets.

Rosie Rowett was outstanding in the Ladies class and took a well-deserved win with Kate Smith second and Gemma Holtham third. Ben Key took top Sportsman spot ahead of Aaron Webb and Dan Charles.

A major decision on Sunday morning saw the two tests rolled into one, some of the worse-for-wear sections were cut, with all riders having eight runs over the new big test. It was a move that was generally welcomed by all. It made for closer racing as the new test was a real leveller between MX and Enduro riders. Another bonus was that the sun was out and working hard to dry the course.

In the Championship ranks McCanney had the advantage initially winning the first two tests but Holcombe clawed his way back to the top even though McCanney took a further two wins later in the day. They finished 16 seconds apart with Holcombe taking his second overall win of the weekend. Once again, Joe Wootton had a great ride to take third with Tom Sagar fourth and a slightly recovered Jack Edmondson fifth.

Tom Ellwood repeated his Saturday performance as Dan Mundell, suffering from dehydration, clung to second spot in the Experts as Lewis Belfield closed on him fast over the final three tests.

Brendan Griffiths repeated his previous days win, just losing out on one test while winning all the rest, to top the Clubman group by over two minutes. A terrific performance for his first season of Sprints. Jake Purcell rode really well to get to second overall in the Clubman ranks with Scott Hoskins taking third.

Once again Harry Edmondson dominated in the Youth class and took the win over two minutes clear of Henry Yardley as Jacob James again took third in class.

Andrew Reeves continued his domination of the Veterans group despite Karl Greenhall’s best efforts to chase him down. A surprise contender rose from the ranks to grab third spot. It was Chris Edwards, who used Saturday as a warm-up event before going for it on Sunday.

Ben Key once again lead the Sportsman group from Brandon Holland and Aaron Webb while Rosie Rowett posted her second Ladies class win of the weekend as the positions remained unchanged with Kate Smith second and Gemma Holtham third.

The two days could not have been more different. Saturday’s two tests plagued by rain and mud and Sunday’s single test in glorious sunshine really made the weekend feel as if there were two completely different events at the same venue.

There is no denying that Ashby Moto Park was a tight venue for such an event but it worked, with a few modifications here and there, and as always, the best rose to the top.

Great job from Fast Eddy Racing’s dedicated crew who overcame significant obstacles to provide a terrific weekend.

 

Fast Eddy Rock Oil XC Round 5 at Castle Caerienion

Freestyle Husqvarna’s Joe Wootton returned to XC racing on Sunday with an emphatic victory at the fifth round of the Rock Oil XC Championship. Following his third place at the Welsh 2 Day Enduro earlier in the week Joe rode steadily to the front of the pack within a lap then turned up the gas to win by over four minutes as the two-hour race reached its conclusion.

Organised by Fast Eddy Racing the event was held at Castle Caerienion in mid Wales, an MX venue noted for its dust on occasions but not this time.

Heavy overnight rain saw the course in great shape although initially it was a little slippy for the opening Youth race, which began at 9.00am. Fast Eddy had made a few changes to the course to accommodate the younger riders, some of the MX track was cut or adjusted as even a four-times World Champion thought it was tricky in places following his early morning course check.

The course wasn’t solely MX based, far from it. A quarry section and massive field section plus several places where the MX infield came into play made for a really interesting and challenging course with the MX course running backwards for a change.

As the youth riders left the line it was the 85-150cc class who were first into the holeshot corner. The start looked tricky, off-camber and uphill with a step to cross over the MX track before a sharp left turn but everyone managed it fairly easily. Sion Hughes had the best start and hit the corner first with Matthew Harries close behind as Charlie Chater took third. It didn’t take long before Chater had the lead but in his effort to extend it he took a big spill and was playing catch-up from that point onwards.

Sam Davies had it all to do after a poor start where he was virtually last off the line. That didn’t deter him as he worked his way to the front with Alfie Webb and Matthew Harries in hot pursuit. Chater had gathered himself, straightened his bars and re-joined the race, coming from nowhere to eventually take second spot behind an uncatchable Davies as Alfie Webb clung to third in class just five seconds ahead of Harries.

George Yardley headed the 85cc SW class and was in touch with the leaders throughout the race, the only non 85-150 rider to post 11 laps. William Farrow took the runner up spot nearly three minutes clear of Trystan Williams in third spot.

Sion Evans and Adam James battled it out for supremacy in the 65cc class with Evans taking the win, James second and Cory Cookland third, a lap adrift of the leading pair.

The adult race got underway ay 11.00am, on time despite Derek Bawn’s best efforts to hold everyone up. He arrived just 10 minutes before the race started and just made the line-up as the flag dropped.

As the Pro class left the line James Jackman had a terrific start and hit the first corner in hardcore MX style, holding his line as Bawn tried to sneak up the inside. Jackman was free and clear as Bawn collected a wooden post and also Ben Wootton, who rammed into the back of him. All this turmoil allowed Ben Murphy a clear line around the outside and he moved into second spot.

Jackman charged away but managed to bin it partway into the lap allowing Wooton to take the lead followed by Murphy and Bawn. Jackman managed to get underway before the Expert class caught him and began his charge back to the front of the field. It didn’t happen. Wootton was riding extremely well, confident in the conditions, as Murphy stuck with him for quite a few laps.

The introduction of a large ditch, with plenty of water in the bottom for the adult race, gave riders a choice of a hard but short route or a longer easier route around the obstacle. It put paid to Murphy’s chance of second place as he dropped his bike with just a few laps to go and took a while to get started. His machine was coughing and spluttering as he tried to finish but Jackman made the most of Murphy’s misfortune to take second spot behind Wootton. As the race neared its conclusion Bawn hunted Jackman down and there was just 1.5 seconds between the pair at the finish as the unfortunate Murphy watched from the pits.

Luke Rudd and Jack Ditchfield had a terrific race in the Expert class as the Bowden brother Ash and Jacob made things interesting and it was a close contest throughout the race although Rudd always seemed to be in control and he did eventually take the win, two minutes clear of Jack Ditchfield as Ash Bowden took third.

The Youth class has taken on a new look recently as Harry Edmondson flexed his legs on a 125cc machine and took the class win by two minutes clear of friend and rival Henry Yardley as Jacob James grabbed third. It was great to see terrific sportsmanship from these riders as they all shook hands at the end of the race.

Rich Cookland lead the Clubman class home with an extra lap over fellow Sheffield rider Lee Hattersley, who took second spot with Andy Myers third. Chris Wagstaff took the Clubman vets win, followed by Colin Blunt and Kev Sandland. Sandland had been going well until he caught a tree exiting the ditch and was stuck for 10 minutes while a quad was sought to recover his bike. Disappointing for him but very entertaining for the spectators. He wasn’t alone, the ditch claimed victim after victim as the race wore on.

David Williams took the Sportsman Vets win ahead of Darryl Mead and Shaun James while Scott Mead nailed the Sportsman class victory ahead of Neil Stokes and Sean Taylor, although it was anyone’s guess who would take the class win during the race as positions swapped and changed throughout.

The Novice class saw victory for Ben Martindale ahead of Lewis Walker, both on 13 laps but nearly four minutes apart. Ashley Williams completed the top three.

The course dried significantly as the race progressed and it was great to watch the numerous battles going on through the field of riders, all of which intensifies after the 90-minute mark leaving the last half hour full of tension and cracking racing.

An excellent day of racing from Paul Edmondson and the Fast Eddy Crew.