Enduroland: Mud, Sweat & Gears at Deepdale. Nik Fisk Memorial Race.

Enduroland’s 2017 season got off to the best possible start with a full entry, great weather conditions and an excellent venue.

The Mud, Sweat & Gears event was in memory of Nik Fisk, a great friend and long-time supporter of Enduroland.

It was held at the superb Deepdale venue, which was in great shape despite heavy rain throughout New Years Day. Aylesbury Husqvarna supported the event along with Acerbis

The sand based quarry had just a couple of wet patches to start with but as racing progressed the course improved to near perfect condition.

The quarry floor and start straight were tricky to start with but improved throughout the day, as did the tight and technical woodland section and the hill sections linking the two areas.

A terrific turnout of young riders saw over 40 take to the start line for the first race of the day and despite the initial tricky conditions the youngsters were soon banging in fast laps around a slightly shorter course than the adults, the woodland section and tricky hills were not included in this race but it was plenty tough enough, especially for 50cc Auto riders and some 65cc’ers.

Ethan Etheridge took the overall win and the 125cc Rookie class posting 10 laps, the only youth race rider to reach double figures. Jude Morris was second overall and had a terrific race on a SW85cc machine. BW85cc rider Charlie Selleck was third overall.

Finley Thompson was second placed 125cc Rookie with Olivia Avis third in class. In the SW85cc Harvey Cashmore followed Jude Morris home with Tyler Etheridge taking third position. Archie Date and Travis Field completed the BW85 top three.

Jack Sandland continued his 2016 good form into 2017 with a win in the 65cc class ahead of Jack Davis and Josh Knight. A special mention must go to Harley O’Callaghan who managed to clock 7 laps as the only 50cc Auto rider in the race, quite an achievement considering the number of 65 and 85cc’ers that didn’t quite manage that many laps.

The adults race was extremely well attended with near 150 riders filling the start line for two and a half hours of fast and furious fun. They faced a long drag race to the first corner over a sodden grassy and muddy surface but in reality that was the wettest part of the course, although it did make for quite a few slides and slithers, watched with great interest by crowds of spectator on the hillside behind the start.

The Clubman Plus riders were first away and Dan Boam nailed the hole-shot and seemed to be getting away from the competition but a sudden surge by Sam Nunn saw Boam demoted to second place as the pack disappeared towards the woodland.

Boam was back in the lead by the time the first riders reached lapscoring, he had the edge in the twisty woodland section while Nunn was faster around the quarry floor area. Dan Boam retired after five laps, a series of small crashes gave him a reality check and he thought it was only a matter of time before one of them really hurt so called it a day.

Nunn roared into the lead unopposed. With so many riders on track it was hard to follow who was where but it was always clear that Nunn was in the lead.

What was not clear was that Jordan Wright was only 12 seconds behind him, much closer than imagined, even more of a surprise was that Brad Lilburn was in third place just four seconds behind Wright.

Matt Maxted headed the Clubman charge to the line, just ahead of Barney Thurgood and Tim Hammond while early leader James Palmer slipped to fourth place.

The Masters class always provides great entertainment and this event was no exception. Mick Belcher didn’t know where he was (as usual) and was shocked to find he had won the class with a great ride of 11 laps, a cracking performance overshadowed slightly by the fact that he struggled to get onto the top step of the podium! Belcher was a lap up on Richard Wright in second spot. Dave Lote matched Wright on laps but was just a slight way adrift to take third.

Justin Carter had a terrific ride in the Vets, taking the win in his final season before qualifying for the Masters class. Darren Bedford and Andy Sykes battled for second and third with Bedford just grabbing second as time ran out.

Matt Taylor and Terry Lewis has a great race in the Sportsman class, matching each other lap after lap but it was Taylor who eventually came out as class winner with Lewis second, both a lap ahead of third placed Ross Higgins.

In the Youth 12-16 class it was Chris Bailey who took the honours, two laps clear of Will Gorringe. It was hard going for these young riders but the both held up very well amongst a large entry of very experienced riders.

The whole event was a terrific start to the 2017 season. The venue provided a variety of terrains and challenges on a day made for racing.

Well done Nigel Wheatley and the Enduroland crew.
Enduroland Winter Series. Round 2 at Q1 quarry.

Remembrance Day events tend to polarise opinion, whether they should be running or not but when approached in the correct way they can be a fitting tribute of remembrance and show the respect deserved by such a significant day.

Nigel Wheatley ran his annual Enduroland Remembrance Day quarry event at Q1 near Banbury and with Tilde Tighe playing the Last Post on trumpet, Andrew Perring reading the immortal words that accompany the ceremony and all riders and spectators observing a two-minute silence before the start of the race, the event could not have been more poignant.

If the event had run midweek conditions would have been perfect but it didn’t and they weren’t. Heavy rain on Saturday nearly saw the plug pulled but Sunday’s sunshine left the course in pretty good shape even if the car park wasn’t.

The course stretched into the distance, utilising the sides of the quarry with short but steep climbs and descents and huge mounds of crushed rock in the centre and near the start line to make things interesting.

It was a technical course with little or no places to rest, constantly twisting and turning with a rock garden at the entrance to the big open quarry section. Straight off the start the course turned to hit the first rock pile and it gave many riders a fast wake-up call and a taste of what was to come.

Following the Remembrance Day tribute racing got underway. Elite class rider Ben Wibberley took the hole-shot but it was MPS Racing’s Sherco mounted Luke Flack who took the lead out in the open quarry and roared onwards despite breaking his gear change off on the second lap. Flack rode almost the whole race in one gear, 19 laps over two hours, but the tight and technical nature of the course didn’t require much more anyway.

Wibberley and Flack tussled for most of the race and Wibberley finished in a solid second spot in the Elite class as Mark Kirby had a great ride to grab third in class although Rob Higgs and Luke Fisher were not too far behind him.

Quad Ace Sheldon Seal made the adjustment to two wheels look very simple as he took the Clubman Plus class win for the second time in the winter series as Rich Heslop took second spot despite having a small crash. Lee Allis-Smith nailed third place overtaking Josh Buckley who had been flying early on in the race and eventually finished in fourth.

A great ride by Chris Hill gave him the Clubman class win with 16 laps to his credit. He was followed home by Rob Simpson in second as Rosie Rowett, the only female rider in the race took third. Rowett was never out of the top three and challenged for the lead at one point, her technical abilities paid off especially on the tricky rocks and mounds.

Vets winner Nev Duke has had some cracking results this season and yet again he took maximum points in the Q1 quarry with 16 laps to his credit. Mick Belcher, with hand-cut tyres prepared the evening before with his wife’s best bread knife, took second.

Apparently the bread knife leaves ripples in the tyre that add to the grip! Neil Richardson took third in class. A great club character, Thomas Matyska, hit 15 laps and finished in fourth. Marcus Humphreys, usually a contender in the Vets, suffered from arm pump and despite being out of the running still managed to finish the race.

The Masters class is always a hard-fought affair and this round was no different as Phil Deardon took the win ahead of Darren Hill while Mark Glover rode hard to finish third in a very competitive class.

James Palmer gave a terrific display of Youth riding as he nailed the class win in great style ahead of Enduroland’s own Chris Bailey. James Dover was up against it with two very quick riders ahead of him and took third in class.

The Sportsman class was again very well attended and heading the class to the finish line was Max Wordingham as Darren Carter took second and Wayne Haywood third.

The Youth race ran earlier in the day and a big thanks must go to the many parents who helped young riders around a very tough course for small wheelers.

Archie Date won the BW85cc class from Jaydn Giles and Kai Taboada while Kyle Saunders took the SW85cc win ahead of Max brown.

Louis Adams was top of the 65cc class with Sonny Simpson second and Ryan Stoneley third. The Auto’s had it hardest of all but Harley O’Callaghan took the win over Louis Wallis and Reece Giles.

It was a terrific event and the course turned out to be quite a challenge to many riders but it flowed well once everyone got going and provided some great entertainment for the numerous spectators.