The 2017 ACU British Sprint Championship. Green Hall Farm.

 

Husqvarna’s Championship class rider Joe Wootton was in red-hot form at the final two rounds of the ACU British Sprint Championship last weekend, winning both days with five seconds to spare on Saturday and 16 on Sunday.

Held at Green Hall Farm in Powys the venue was new to most of the riders but made a lasting impression as a top-notch sprint venue and earned the respect of every rider. Sprint organiser Paul Edmondson thought the Fast Eddy Racing venue would be good for sprinting and he was correct. It provided a seven-minute lap for the fast boys and took in every type of terrain imaginable in Mid-Wales.

A long and twisting field section lead into a tight and twisting stream section them it was out into the fields with huge sweeping bends to negotiate, with the occasional dip back into the woods with more than a few sticky sections dotted throughout. Two boggy ditches which many riders managed to jump provided great entertainment for the riders who gave it a shot, not knowing how the landing would work out. It was a cracking lap and one of the best of the series for variety of terrain with terrific weather on both days, a few spots of rain on Saturday soon blew over and the course was absolutely spot-on. Both days featured seven runs around the special test.

Alex Walton Andrew Reeves Cole Cookland Jordan Wright Mark Hodges Rosie Rowett Winner Joe WoottonFreestyle

Husqvarna ruled the roost on the opening day with Joe Wootton taking the win from Fast Eddy Racing’s Husqvarna UK mounted Jack Edmondson. Factory Husqvarna rider Billy Bolt rode to a superb third spot and was followed by Fast Eddy Racing’s Husqvarna mounted Tom Sagar. Buildbase Honda mounted Alex Snow, a contender for the Champions title in his first Sprint season, took fifth.

For day two the pack of top five were shuffled but it was still Joe Wootton on top with Snowy climbing to second spot as Jack Edmondson slipped to third. Tom Sagar remained in fourth place while Billy Bolt completed the top five.

Ben Murphy has had a cracking season and was in line to take the Expert title in the Sprints but a disastrous opening day saw him drop to sixth in class as close rival Alex Walton took an outstanding win. Walton was over a minute clear of second placed Jordan Ridgway who was busy fending off a serious challenge from Brad Williams, a second behind him by the end of the day.

Walton kept his head on Sunday and rode an even better set of tests to again take the win as Murphy rallied to get within 16 seconds of him to take second in class even though his chances of a championship win were gone although second place is certainly quite an achievement. Aaron Gordon moved into third, a place better than the previous day, to complete the top three in a very competitive class.

Jordan Wright and Fred Adams had a two-day battle in the Clubman class. A little over 20 seconds separated the pair on Saturday with victory for Wright and runner up for Adams with Danny Culkin a minute adrift in third.

Sunday saw another victory for Wright but he extended the gap to nearly a minute as Adams took second spot once again. Brad Rowland fended off Lewis ranger for third in class.

Rosie Rowett went into the final two rounds of the championship with four wins already to her credit. She didn’t disappoint on Saturday as she had a cracking ride to secure victory number 5. Fionn Griffiths made a rare sprint outing to take second place with Emily Hall in third.

The same order was repeated on Sunday and Rosie celebrated a clean sweep of victories to become ACU British Sprint Ladies Champion 2017. The season had been a steep learning curve but one that she took on and conquered with real enthusiasm.

The Under 16’s is always a treat to watch and this weekend was no different. Cole Cookland took control early on Saturday and rode to an impressive victory, nearly a minute clear of hard-charging Alfie Webb in second spot. Charlie Chater was clearly on a roll as he took third with better to come from the following day.

Cookland once again took the win but Chater’s never-say-die attitude saw him move to second in class following a string of fast runs. Webb still managed a top three spot and took third to complete the line-up.

A proper ‘old school’ name graced the Vets class; John Shirt. Mr Gas Gas himself, looking tanned, fit and raring to go. Considering he hasn’t ridden competitively for quite a while then second in class behind Andrew Reeves was pretty good going.

Reeves dominated the class on both days and rounded off a great finish to his Sprint season. Shirty took second on Saturday with Jonathan Tarr in third and with Shirty’s departure Saturday evening Tarr moved to second on Sunday with Andy Daniels third.

The Sportsman class  was very unpredictable. Mark Hodges took a comfortable win on the opening day with 30 seconds to spare over Daryl Morris and Mike Erratt. Sunday saw Grant Thomas take the first position followed by Liam Nicklin with Hodges demoted to third.

Green Hall Farm was the perfect choice of venue to end this Championship series. It provided one of the best courses of the season and with the excellent weather conditions it was competitive and challenging.

A massive ‘Well Done’ to Fast Eddy and his crew for providing a top-notch series of event that have been diverse and competitive throughout.

GBXC Final at Bicton

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.Sam Greenslade

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 Ben Keyten 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.

Chris WagstaffThe 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.Andrew Harvey Ben Martindale Carwyn Rosser James Palmer Tony Chawner

 

The ACU British Sprint Championship

Freestyle Husqvarna’s Joe Wootton is back on top form. He took the overall wins on both days of the ACU British Sprint Championships third and fourth rounds at Bicton Farm over the weekend. It was a close call on Sunday as a slip in the final test saw him lose 6 of the 7 seconds lead he had but the single second difference was all he needed for victory.Joe Wootton

The midpoint of the British Sprints took place at Bicton Farm in Shropshire, a favourite venue for organiser Paul Edmondson. Bicton is not the largest of venues but it played its part fantastically well by providing a short but technical course that ran clockwise on Saturday and was reversed for Sunday’s tests. Two twisty field sections were linked by the tricky Bicton woodland section. The overall course was slightly shorter than the usual layout for an XC event but it worked terrifically well.

The weather played ball as well, the course was dry and dusty and allowed berms to form on many corners, and the sun shone which really added to the superb atmosphere at the event.

Husqvarna’s Jack Edmondson made a tentative return to racing following the repair of his fractured wrist picked up at the opening rounds of the series in Dorset. Billy Bolt, another Dorset injury victim, was also in the line-up as a top-notch Championship group gathered to do battle.

With two overall wins to his credit Buildbase Honda’s Alex Snow went into this event leading the Championship but Joe Wootton put on a terrific display on Saturday to take seven out of eight test wins and backed up that performance with five out of eight on Sunday to take another E2 class and overall win. Alex Snow was close behind on both occasions with Fraser Flockhart in third on Saturday and Tom Ellwood in third place E2 on Sunday.Jack Edmondson

Jack Edmondson was at the top of Saturday’s E1 pack, very closely followed by Dan Mundell who was in terrific form and Yamaha’s Lee Sealey in third. Edmondson retired halfway through Sunday’s tests leaving Sealey to take the E1 win as Mundell just fell short of victory by eight seconds. His second test of the day was a disaster time-wise when he was nine seconds slower than Sealey. Luke Flack took a solid third in the E1 ranks.Alex Snow

In the E3 class it was a two-horse race between James Dent and Billy Bolt with Dent taking the win on both days. A big collision with a tree slowed Bolt slightly on Saturday but Sunday saw him back to fighting fit and on the ball.

Ben MurphyThe Expert class is hotly contested, especially the E1 class which most riders seem to favour. Ben Murphy recovered from a disastrous weekend the week before the Sprint to ride to the top of the pile and take the overall Expert top spot on both days. Alex Walton battled with Aaron Gordon on Saturday for second and third spots while it was the turn of Jordan Ridgway and Harry Edmondson on Sunday. Murphy was long gone in first place on both days!

Lewis RangerBrad King took the E2 win as Kev Murray fended off Dylan Bayton to take second spot. Bayton had his revenge on Sunday with an excellent win ahead of Roger Holland as Murray slipped to third spot. E3 saw Joel Gowan take the win from Rich Ely on the first day but Ely rallied on day two to hit back and reverse positions.

Lewis Ranger was on fire in the Clubman E1 class, winning on both days and second only to E2’s Brad Rowland in the overall stakes. Ranger topped E1 ahead of Cam Young and Ryan Mundell on Saturday with Mundell moving to second on Sunday with James Ford in third.

Brad Rowland topped the Clubman overall twice and the E2 class with Aston Day and Aaron Bloomfield behind him on Saturday although Bloomfield moved up a place on Sunday to second as Jordan Wright grabbed third. Danny Caulkin took both E3 wins ahead of Stuart Mack, then the pair were  joined by Jamie Carroll in third on Sunday.Rosie Rowett

Rudy Austin made a welcome return to racing, in the Vets now as time has marched onwards. He was top vet on the first day with a great few runs to beat out Andrew Reeves and Jon Tarr but the arrival of ex MX rider Kev Rogers on Sunday saw Austin finish in second, behind Rogers but ahead of Reeves once again.

Cole Cookland is riding strong in the under 16’s, not just in the Sprints but in everything he enters lately. He was top U16 both days as Charlie Chater tried hard to match him but could only finish in second spot twice while Alfie Webb stuck at it and took home two third places.Rudy Austin

Rosie Rowett didn’t have things all her own way in the Ladies class. She did win on both days but although Saturday was fairly straightforward with two minutes to spare over Chloe Richards and Neive Holmes, Sunday was much closer as Holmes pushed hard to get within a second of Rowett but the Ladies class leader kept her nerve to take her second win of the weekend.

The Sportsman class was a real mixed bag with Ash Williams winning on Saturday ahead of Aaron Webb and Alyn Roberts while Sunday saw Webb move to top spot with Roberts close behind and Jack Smith up to third in class.

Bicton turned out to be perfect for the Sprint championship. The paddock was packed on both days and the atmosphere was buzzing. Although it sometimes seems that the class winners are sorted by the third run, the slightest slip or mistake can see huge changes on the results sheet and it is this that makes Sprinting so interesting.

Paul Edmondson and his crew had laid out a small but very technical course that challenged riders to the limit and as the course improved and bedded in the test times dropped and the action became more intense. It was a cracking weekend and as competitive as it could possibly be with some terrific rides in all classes.

Ditchy Dominates Deuxhill. Rock Oil XC Championship

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 Max Ditchfieldplanned 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 aDan Leadbetter 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.Kev Sandland

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.  James PalmerJacob James Sion Evans

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

Rock Oil XC Championship. Round 3. H2O.

Report: Tim Tighe  Pics: Jacob Tighe

Sion EvansBen 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 tougMurph1h 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.Ben Key

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, riBen Martindaleding 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.Liam StorarChris WagstaffCole Cookland

Well done Fast Eddy and the crew.

GBXC at 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.George Yardley Mark RobertsKris Ankritt Nick Whitehead Richard Moorhouse Ryan Phillips start Steve Cranshaw

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

Alex SnowBuildbase 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.Lee Sealey

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.

Alex WaltonConsistency 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.

Rich ElyThe 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.

Charlie ChaterClubman 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.Bradley Rowland

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.    Rosie Rowett

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

Rock Oil XC. Rd2 at Brakehill Farm

Report: Tim Tighe. Pics: Tilde Tighe

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.

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Ben Martindale Ben Murphy Chris Wagstaff Dan Leadbetter Josh Lucy Nick Hargrave Ryan Hughes Sam Davies Sion Evans

GBXC at Westwood. Report Tim Tighe. Pics Tilde Tighe

The re-launch of the great Britain Cross Country series got off to a steady start at Westwood last Sunday around the longest course ever laid out at the venue.

Saturday saw a Youth race fSaul Hirstollowed by a practice day while Sunday hosted the usual Sportsman, Novice Vets B and Youth B classes in the morning and Expert Clubman, Youth A and Vets A in the afternoon.

Saturday’s Youth race was good fun and provided some great racing between Cory Cookland, Doug Lote and and John Stanley.

Cory took the lead from the start and was in total command until on lap 6 he had an argument with a tree that slowed him down and needed a little pit repair giving the lead to Doug Lote for the next couple of laps. Cory managed to get back past him on the last but one lap taking the flag with about a 30 second lead from John Stanley with Lote eventually taking third. A great little battle between the first three throughout the race.

Sundays competitors had quite a challenge. Taking in virtually every available section and then some the lap was over 11 minutes for the best of the morning racers while the afternoon fast lads cut it to just over 9 minutes.

From open field sections to streambeds, ravines to quarrys with plenty of twisty woodland in between the tight and technical nature of the track gave riders no respite as the course cut up in places, especially around the water sections.

Saul Hirst and Richard Moorhouse contested the first adults race, Hirst in the Sportsman class and Moorhouse in the Youth B, with both riders clocking 10 laps as Hirst took the win with Moorhouse second and a terrific Shaun Jamesride by the ever-improving Nick Whitehead who took third overall and second in Sportsman. Ben Martindale in fourth overall grabbed the final podium place in the Sportsman class.

Moorhouse took the Youth B win ahead of Toby Flack and Adam James with Flack managing to pull over a three-minute lead to be safe in second spot at the end of two hours of racing.

Shaun James rode a solid race to take the Vets B win ahead of Simon Nutter and Tony Gunn, all three posting nine laps. Simon Tate headed the Novice ranks by keeping over two and a half minutes between himself and second placed Sarah Thomas as Garry Peacock took third.

Lee SealeyThe afternoon race was interesting. In the Expert ranks an on-form Sam Winterburn had serious competition from Lee Sealey, Harry Edmondson, Lee Sampson, Derek Bawn and Ben Murphy who took the plunge and chose to race for once rather than pose in the paddock and pits. Murf had a terrific race and has decided to try it more often!

Straight off the start Winterburn had control and pulled a considerable gap, leading the two and a half hour race until the halfway point where Sealey suddenly mounted his challenge.Chris Wagstaff

The lead switched between the two as the finish approached with Winterburn over a minute ahead at one point as Sealey pitted then charged to catch him and pull a minutes gap in the space of two laps. By the end of the race he was nearly two minutes clear and took a well deserved win. Winterburn was disappointed with second after such a great first half ride but Ben Murphy showed he still has what it takes by holding third place throughout the race.

George yardleyYouth A class rider George Yardley worked his way to 10th overall at one point, a cracking achievement, but slipped to 12th overall by the end of the race although he won his class and was seven minutes clear of his closest Youth A rival James Palmer in second spot. Cole Cookland had an impressive ride to take third in class.

Ryan Armitage was in great form as he took the Clubman class win by nearlt two minutes over Vinnie Mullen in second spot. Mullen has managed to keep Tommy Grimmer at bay as the finish approached and has a minute and a half gap as the chequered flag was waived.

Ryan ArmitageChris Wagstaff took the Vets A win by nearly three minutes over John Bradford, the pair matching each other lap for lap, as David Williams took third in class a lap down on the leading pair.

Not the biggest entry for a GBXC but one that will see the series gradually build back to its former glory over the coming seasons. Westwood was in excellent shape and the course was a cracker.

Well done Fast Eddy and his team.

2017 Rock Oil XC Rd.1 at Bicton

Experts startBicton Farm near Shrewsbury. Report & pics by 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.

Sion EvansThe 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.

Dan LeadbetterThe 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.

Chris TompkinsThe 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.

Jamie McCanneyChris 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.

Chris WagstaffJosh 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.Josh Lucy

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 Lee Hattersleysecond spot. Cole CooklandGeorge Yardley, who usually flies around Bicton, was Lee Allis-Smithdown 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. Image galleries on www.foto-x.co.uk