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.