The final round of this seasons Fast Eddy GBXC certainly finished with a bang as two riders were glued together for most of the race, right up to the finish flag, it was the closest finish of the series in this championship.
Fresh over from New Zealand was Sam Greenslade who has considerable enduro history but throughout the final race on Sunday he was unknown. He soon came to onlookers attention as he tailed Expert championship leader Ben Murphy for 80 minutes out of the 120. Even once he had passed Murphy it was questionable if either rider could complete the race without a splash-n-dash in the final stages. It was the nailbiting finish the championship deserved.
A last-minute change to the popular Fast Eddy venue at Bicton proved to be successful, especially as the thunderstorms faded away on Saturday and left Sunday rain free. The course was extremely well prepared with extra loops that were added between the morning and afternoon races. The field sections were fast and flowing while the woods were tight and technical, something for everyone.
So, in the closing stages of the final race Greenslade and Murphy were toe-to-toe but that’s not the whole story as Harry Edmondson, who eventually finished third, was in leader Murphy’s wheel tracks for the first hour of the race with Greenslade behind him. A crash in the big open field saw him lose lots of time and he was never able to recover to mount a challenge.
With less than ten minutes to go Greenslade gained a 15-second lead over Murphy which help make his decision to pit for a splash of fuel. He just made the exit of the pits in time to cut across Murphy’s bow and maintain the lead. Murphy opted to try and finish without fuelling and his gamble paid off, he had enough in the tank to take second place but win the Expert champions title overall. Greenslade was a little in shock at his win. He is used to large courses in NZ so Bicton’s tightness got his heart rate going, juggling the changing terrain, an unfamiliar bike and unknown opposition. He rode well and took a terrific win following an epic battle with Murphy.
Ben Key and Jacob James also had a real fight in the Clubman class with Key eventually taking the class win by a minute and a half over James as Jack Nixey took third, a lap down on the leading pair.
Chris Wagstaff and Jack Twentyman took turns in leading the vets A class while Kev Sandland dodged in between them for three laps before pulling out with a hand injury. Wagstaff eventually hit the front and stayed there as Twentyman took second spot.
The Youth A class went to James Palmer who dragged out an extra lap over a hard-charging George Yardley who was pushing his small wheeler to the limit throughout the race and finished in second place while Charlie Chater’s good showing early on counted for nothing after being hit by a rock and receiving a quick look from the medics before continuing on to take third.
The morning race saw equally fierce competition as age and experience took on youth and enthusiasm. At the front of the field it was Vet B rider Andy Harvey who fended off a strong challenge from Youth B’s Carwyn Rosser for the overall win.
Harvey had been pushed hard initially by Shaun James, who finished second in class ahead of Tony Gunn, but as the youngsters came through the pack it was Sion Hughes who grabbed third overall and second in Youth B, followed by Dan Leadbetter while Ben Martindale headed the Sportsman class once again. Nick Dawson and Ben Hurley were not far behind in second and third.
Tony Chawner topped the Novice class and took the overall title as Novice Champion while Kristian Ankrit followed him to the finish line a minute later in second and Shaun Cornwall grabbed third in class.
Saturday held the Youth race and in very mixed conditions it was John Stanley who took the overall win and the 85-150 class with Doug Lote second and Billy Austin third. Jack Sandland rode hard for the 65cc class win ahead of Will Barnett and Max Gilby.
Sunday’s final race provided an excellent finish to the series, it could not have been any closer and many people stayed right to the end to witness the outcome. Great racing from Ben Murphy and Sam Greenslade.
Paul Edmondson completed yet another successful GBXC series with some great venues and cracking courses. Well done Fast Eddy and his crew.