The massive H2O venue near Oswestry in Shropshire hosted three races on Sunday in hot, dry and dusty conditions for the third round of the Fast Eddy Rock Oil and GBXC series of events.
The venue has three distinct sections; a large MX track (which had been graded and watered to perfection), an extensive woodland section with fast fire roads and some technical challenges, both linked by the valley section with rolling slopes and a stream at the base. All three were utilised fully for the two main adult races of the day.
Race day began with the Rock Oil XC Youth race, followed by the Fast Eddy XC championship race before moving on to the GBXC to complete the day on Sunday afternoon.
The first race of the day was very well attended. A shortened course around this huge venue saw the youth racers leave the start line around 9.00am.
Lewis Hurdsman got a cracking start at the head of a large field of 85-150cc riders but it was Cory Cookland who soon took control. Young Cookie can do no wrong this season and has been on fire since the very first round. Usually Lewis Hurdsman is firmly in his tyre tracks but not on this occasion as Francis Davies claimed second place ahead of Hurdsman in third.
On a tough course for the 65cc’s and Auto’s it was Will Barnett who claimed the 65cc win. Josh Cole was a lap down in second place with Evan Bowden a further lap adrift in third. Harrison Rees rode his Auto to victory ahead of Alfie Dawson and Harry Jordan in a very hard fought race.
A handful of significant tape adjustments saw the whole course open to the Fast Eddy XC racers who took to the line just before 11.00am. A slight delay as the water bowser exited the MX track saw the race begin just a few minutes late.
The inclusion of a very boggy section made for some interesting spectating and just dampened the dust down temporarily in places.
Dave Cooper took a commanding lead at the head of the field followed by the rest of the Over 50’s class. He maintained a 50 second lead over chasing Sportsman riders Dan Williams and Liam Belfield in second and third places overall.
Cooper took the old folks win ahead of Mick Anderson and Steve Taylor while Williams and Belfield nail first and second in the Sportsman ranks followed by Mindaugas Juska in third.
Simon Howden grabbed fourth overall and top spot in Vets B, closely followed by Shaun James with Ian Nichols in third a little way behind. Doug Lote had a terrific ride to win the Youth B class by quite a margin over Adam James while Sion Evans took a respectable third spot.
It was tough going for the Novice class but Aiden Halsworth managed to take control and grab the win ahead of Shaun Cornwall and Jake Rowlands.
The afternoon’s GBXC race saw the fast boys out in force. Lap times fell by an average of two minutes compared to the earlier race as the Experts, Clubman and Vets A hammered the course for two hours.
Following a great start from Shaun Buchan it was Tom Sagar who took up the running and put in the only sub 10-minute lap of the day (9.35). Sagar absolutely blitzed everyone and although he appears in the results as DQ, he rode a terrific race, even if it was just for training purposes, and gave the following riders something to chase.
Expert Max Ditchfield has stepped up a gear this season and he was flying in second spot, which eventually became first with Sagar eliminated from the championship points scramble. Ditchy built a gap of over a minute and a half over Ricky Wiggings who eventually took second place. Henry Yardley also upped his game to take third overall and third in a very fast field of expert riders.
The Clubman 2T battle for supremacy between James Palmer and Cole Cookland continued to run with Cookie taking the honours this time around even though the pair were locked together for much of the race. Palmer’s second place saw Adam James down in third but still high up the overall order.
Ben Key topped the Clubman 4T ranks once again ahead of Paul Clarke and Sean Taylor. All three completed 10 laps.
A strong Vets A class was headed by Chris Wagstaff who plan to hit the hard routes paid of and gave him the gap he needed to take a comfortable class win. Cefyn Gamez grabbed second in class, just edging out Kev Sandland into third.
It had been a hot and dusty day by the time the final chequered flag was waived. All three races ran well around a well thought out course that gave riders options and the chance to pass all around the course, typical of a Fast Eddy layout.
Despite the dust, the racing was top-notch and enjoyed by all. Well done Fast Eddy and his crew.