ACU British Sprint. Rds 3&4

Champs Park, Northampton

The second weekend of racing in the British Sprint Championship saw a new venue provide a tight and technical challenge, in stark contrast to the opening two rounds.  Champs Park at Bridgstock, Northampton included an MX track, tight Danny McCanneywoodlands and open fields, all of which combined to provide a superb sprint test across the whole weekend.  Things got tougher on Sunday, when the course was reversed and a few of jumps from the previous day were cut to provide a more flowing track.

The event was significant in as much as it saw four out of five Edmondsons all racing against each other.  Jack Edmondson rode the Championship class whilst Paul, Lee and Harry all rode in Expert – a very rare occurrence indeed and as expected it turned out to be extremely competitive between all of them, especially considering the number of competitors in the Expert ranks.

Gas Gas Factory Enduro rider Danny McCanney had an outstanding weekend winning all special tests across the two days.  Freestyle Husqvarna’s Joe Wootton was the only rider to really push McCanney and at one point on the opening day, both riders twice matched each other’s time on the test precisely.  Wootton did take the E2 class win as McCanney dominated E3.

Fast Eddy Racing’s own Beta mounted Tom Sagar took third overall on day one and second in E3, whilst Sherco Factory rider Jack Edmondson placed fourth then jumped up a spot to second on Sunday, with second overall E2 just ahead of Daryl Bolter.  In the Championship E1 class, it was Alex Snow who led the way closely followed by Dan Mundell, who had Alex Walton breathing down his neck all weekend.

Joe Wootton Expert E1 rider Aaron Gordon took the Expert win each day as Harry and Paul Edmondson vied for second and third spots, Harry getting second on the opening day whilst Paul took second on Sunday and the E2 class win for the second time.  Ricki Wiggins was one of only two E3 class riders entered in the event and took the win ahead of Freddie Davis.

The Clubman ranks saw an outstanding performance from Charlie Chater, riding E1, who did the double by a significant margin, winning the class on both days.  His usual rivals of Cole Cookland and James Palmer were close to each other but some distance from Chater, the overall results remained the same for the second day of racing between these three.

Rich Cookland enjoyed his weekend with a double win in the Vets class, beating Keith Staines to the top spot on Saturday with Alan Vissian third and pushing Phil Rowett to second place on Sunday as Chris Day took third.

Dan Charles had a blast on Saturday as he took the Sportsman class win ahead of Sam Baggott and Jack Smith but it was Bagott who took the win on the second day with Smith second and Marcus Feltham third.

With Rosie Rowett switching to the Clubman class for this event the Ladies class was wide open. Kate Smith took full advantage of the situation by posting a double win with Gemma Holtham and Emily Halls second and third on both days.

Alfie Webb had the Youth class nailed! Two impressive wins with plenty of time to spare to second placed Josh Lucy saw Webb well on his way to a championship title. Tom Hume grabbed third spot on Saturday with Carwyn Rosser taking it on Sunday.

Champs Park certainly proved to be a hit. It was quite technical compared to other Sprint venues in the Fast Eddy calendar but it certainly made riders work hard with no room to rest anywhere. The third venue for the series, Green Hall Farm, could not be more different with its rolling hills and off cambers but there is plenty of woodland available and you can bet it will be included at some point but round three will be significantly faster than round two, that’s for sure.

Aaron Gordon Alex Snow Alfie Webb Charlie Chater Jack Edmondson Paul Edmondson Rich Cookland

 

Fast Eddy, Rock Oil GBXC. Rd.4

The Ratlinghope venue is used just once a year by Fast Eddy Racing and it is easy to see why.  It takes most competitors 12 months to recover from this huge, mountainous, boggy venue that, no matter what time of year, is a real old school enduro type place.  From the bottom of the valley and the numerous stream sections, to the tops of the huge hills, this place is tough going.  Although the climbs and much of the open going on the hill tops is fast and off-cambered in many places, there are still numerous hidden ditches and bogs to cross before the steep descent back to the valley floor.  Going off course is very much as your own risk.

Racing began on Sunday with the Rock Oil Youth XC enjoying a somewhat limited course compared to the adult races.  The stream sections and fast fields, dotted with ditches, still gave the youngsters something to think about.  Cory Cookland, in the 85-150cc class, was absolutely flying and lapped the whole field twice.  His abilities should at least put him in the adult Sportsman class but his age keeps him firmly planted in the youth ranks.  Cynan Jones held a solid second spot just ahead of Lewis Hurdsman, as the pair could only look on as Cookland lapped them again and again.

The SW 85cc Class saw Billy Austin dominate throughout and take the win ahead of Endaf Hughes, who was a lap adrift of the leader, with Callum Millward a further lap adrift in third spot.  Archie Jordan nailed the 65cc Class win ahead of Rylee Francis and third place Josh Cole.  The two auto riders deserve a big round of applause for even attempting the course, which was shortened even further just for the two of them.  Winston Wright came out three laps ahead of Harry Jordan.

As the afternoon’s Fast Eddy XC combined with the GBXC got underway, the riders thundered off through the stream section and out into the hills, returning towards the end of the lap to once again tackle further stream sections which began muddier with each passing rider.  A last minute entry by Mark Roberts was well worthwhile as he took the Expert win ahead of Ricky Wiggins and Jack Ditchfield.  All three looked as though they had found several of the bogs high up in the hills.  Cole Cookland normally takes the Clubman 2T win but not on this occasion.  Harry Houghton took the win a lap up on second place Cookland, who was fighting off a serious challenge from Charlie Chater in third spot.

In the Clubman 4T class, it was Lee Hattersley who ground out yet another win and already seems destined to take this year’s Clubman 4T title.  Ryan Phillips matched Hattersley on laps to take second spot with Ethan Pugh, a lap adrift, in third.  Chris Wagstaff led the Vets A Class to the chequered flag with Kev Sandland someway behind in second spot as Cefyn Gamez secured third place in class.

In the Fast Eddy XC ranks, it was once again Over 50’s star Dave Cooper who took the win.  Dave has really been on form this season and never seems to mind leading from the front.  He was joined on the podium by Mark Plain with Jon Malone taking third spot in the class.  Steve Cranshaw headed the Vets B class with Stephen Parry and Kieran Jordan trailing in his wake as Shaun James just missed out on a top three spot.  Top Sportsman spot went to Ollie Harcombe who completed 12 laps with Dave Withington, also on 12 laps, a little way behind in second place.  Paul Thomas completed the Sportsman top three.

Billy Haigh had a cracking ride in the Youth B Class beating quite a few GBXC riders to the chequered flag.  Adam James took second in Youth B as Doug Lote rounded off the top three.  The Novice Class saw a lone entrant in the form of John Hirst.  It could be that many other regular Novice riders realised just how tough Ratlinghope can be and decided to give it a miss.  For all his efforts and ten solid laps, John took the Novice Class win.

Ratlinghope, once again, didn’t disappoint and kept its reputation as possibly the toughest course in the GBXC Series.  If you can ride here, you can rider anywhere and it is one of the few places that still has traditional strength sapping bogs to test riders to the max. Billy Haigh Charlie Chater Chris Wagstaff Cory Cookland Dave Cooper Harry Houghton Lee Hattersley Mark Roberts Ollie Harcombe

The course was fast and flowing, apart from the bogs, and the Fast Eddy crew did a great job with the layout, giving multiple lines through all of the tough sections.  In the warm summer sunshine, it seemed a much better option to be a spectator rather than a rider on this particular day.

2018 ACU British Sprint Championship

Rounds 5&6 of the 2018 ACU British Sprint Championship, organised by Fast Eddy Racing, will take place at Champs Park, Brake Hill Farm, Brigstock, Northants, postcode NN14 3NB. This is the forst time a Sprint Enduro has been run at this venue and the layout really lends itself to the Sprint format with a mix of woodland and open fields plus the mx track at the start/finish of the test. For entries please contact Christine on 07889 924560.

18SPRINT3

Fast Eddy GBXC at H2O

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.Cory Cookland

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.Max Ditchfield

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.Ben Key Chris Wagstaff Cole Cookland Dave Cooper Doug Lote Simon Howden

Despite the dust, the racing was top-notch and enjoyed by all. Well done Fast Eddy and his crew.

Entries open for Hawkstone Fast Eddy Original

Hawkstone Park entry’s are now open. The event is open to all riders  and features … hawkpractice, sprint enduro and The original Fast Eddy on Sunday for every rider novice to Pro !!!! September 22/23 is the date and if you thought last years event was good wait till this year .

Click the link below for the entry form. All entries have to be pre-paid. No pay on the day.

Hawkstone Park Entry Form 2018

Fast Eddy GBXC Rd.2 Brake Hill Farm

The Fast Eddy crew worked miracles to get Champs Parc at Brake Hill Farm into shape for last weekend’s event. The second round of the Rock Oil Youth XC, Fast Eddy XC and GBXC championships all ran on Sunday in very muddy conditions initially and it was the Youth riders who bore the brunt of the mud. Luckily the course dried as the day progressed but not fast enough for some of the young riders.Cory Cookland

Actually, the MX track was the worst bit. The woodlands were really good but riders started on the MX part of the course and had a struggle before they reached the woods. Some youth riders didn’t struggle at all. Cory Cookland was in his element and rode superbly to take the win and lap everyone twice. Lewis Hurdsman got the best start but Cookie soon took control as Hurdsman plugged onwards to take second with Jack Sandland third in the 85-150 class. Will Barnett won the 65cc’s ahead of Josh Coles while Alfie Dawson somehow managed 11 laps on his Auto to win the class ahead of Rufus Barnett.

With the next two races amalgamated into one it was difficult to choose between Fast Eddy and GBXC riders but once the first few laps were underway the course improved and the field spread out so identification was much easier.

Even the wettest parts of the course began to dry and the pace picked up throughout the afternoon race.

In the GBXC ranks it was Ricky Wiggins who eventually found his way to the front of the Experts and took the overall win although Henry Yardley put in a very strong performance to get within a minute and a half of him by the end of the race. Harry Edmondson got to grips with the new Beta 125cc and narrowly took third place ahead of Max Ditchfield.

The James Palmer-Cole Cookland battle resumed in all its glory as the pair took first and second in the Clubman 2T class. This two-way competition looks set to continue throughout the season and it is hotting-up as each race passes. George Yardley took third spot with a really great ride. Lee Hattersley once again took the Clubman 4T win, just ahead of Ethan Pugh and Ben Key who were on the same lap and closing fast.

Chris Wagstaff dominated the Vets A class as Martin Jones took second a minute and a half down on the class leader. Kev Sandland notched up another podium spot with third, just edging out Darryl Mead.

The Fast Eddy XC riders were headed by Justin Carter in the Over 50’s class. He had a great day and finished with a significant gap over Dave Cooper and Martyn Thomas to take the class win.

A trio of Youth B riders were jammed together throughout the race and eventually finished within a minute and a half of each other. Will Farrow won the class ahead of Adam James with Doug Lote in third spot.

Not to be outdone by his son’s victory in the youth race, Nick Dawson won the Sportsman class with 16 laps to his credit, one up on the chasing pack as Andy Rich and Joel poole took second and third spots.

Simon Howden topped the Vets B ranks but only just as Shaun James finished with eight second of him in second spot. Henry Righton took third. Adam Hazeldine was the top Novice rider and only had competition from Sarah Thomas, the only two Novices to finish. Ricky Wiggins Will Farrow 20 and Adam James

This was a tough day and full credit must go to the Fast Eddy Crew for their hard work in making the event happen. By Sunday afternoon the course was in good shape as the last bike came across the finish line but the racing had been very good and entertaining to say the least.

May Training Days.

We are please to announce our next series of three dedicated training days for May.
We will be starting off with an Extreme training day on Wednesday 16th May at Wern Ddu Quarry. Starting at 10.00 am and going through to around 3.30 pm this session will concentrate of extreme enduro skills for all levels of rider. The cost will be £100 for the day with a £50 deposit to secure your place.
Day two, Wednesday 30th May, will be an enduro training session for all levels of adult riders at the popular Parkwood 4×4, Tong venue. Once again the day will start at 10.00 am and go on until around 3.30 pm. The cost for this session is £85 with a £40 deposit securing the place.
Day three, Thursday 31st May, will be a youth ONLY training day at one of our Shropshire venues. This is designed to build the skills of our younger riders from Auto upwards.Once again this will be £85 for the day with a £40 deposit securing a place.
ALL three sessions will be limited numbers so if you are interested or need any further information please give Chris a ring on 07889924560, message me on Facebook or email fasteddyracing@hotmail.com

Fast Eddy GBXC opening round

The 2018 Fast Eddy XC and GBXC Championships finally got underway last Sunday at Bicton Farm in Shropshire. The poor weather in the weeks leading up to the event had seen delays but just a week later than originally scheduled the turnout was terrific for the start of these championship series.

It was clear that a considerable amount of work had been put in to get the track into shape and with sunshine on Saturday and Sunday remaining dry the ground was perfect for racing.

This year the youth race is run under the Rock Oil XC Youth banner while the morning adult race for Youth B, Sportsman, Novice, Vets B and Over 50’s will constitute the Fast Eddy XC Championship. The afternoon race containing the Experts, Clubman 2T and 4T and Vets A will run as the GBXC Championship.

Traditionally, the first round of the season is at Bicton Farm where a lap for Joe is ridden in tribute to Joe Edge who passed away four years ago. All riders take a slow lap around the course, lead by Paul Edmondson and Joe’s dad and it is an emotional moment for all who remember Joe. As always, the lap was very well attended.

The long-awaited unveiling of Paul Edmondson’s rebuilt 2005 ISDE Honda 250 caused quite a stir and left many people wondering why Honda had ever stopped 2T production as the bike flew around the course throughout the day.

Racing started early, 8.45am, with a good entry of Youth riders having first bash at the Bicton lap. It was a slightly shortened lap to the adult race, the woods section was not included, but proved to be very competitive and entertaining all the same.

The entry to the 85-150 class dominated the field and from this class Cory Cookland dominated the race virtually from start to finish. A cracking ride saw him keep second placed Francis Davies at bay by over a minute with Lewis Hurdsman taking third spot, a lap down on the leading pair. Will Barnett and Rees Jones battled in the 65cc class but Barnett eventually pulled clear for the win with Jones taking second spot ahead of Archie Jordan in third place. Alfie Dawson claimed the Auto class win ahead of James Gittings-Jones with Harry Jordan grabbing third.

Following the lap for Joe the first fast Eddy XC of the season kicked off. The course was extended and the woodland section opened up to provide some technical challenges to balance the field sections. Sion Evans showed his intentions right from the start. His total dominance of last season’s youth races saw him carry his excellent form on to this year. Riding in the Youth B class he lead the field for the whole race and appeared completely in control for the whole two hours. Over 50’s rider Dave Cooper, who won his class but took second overall, put in a great ride to try and keep in touch but couldn’t catch the youngster. Scott Harris, representing the Sportsman ranks took third overall and his class win ahead of Nick Whitehead and Ant Trawford. Adam James was runner-up in the Youth B classification, some way ahead of third placed Doug lote. Mark Plain took second in the Over 50’s with Tony Gunn grabbing third. The Vets B win went to Roger Withington who posted an extra lap on Joe Gittins-Jones and Saxon Nell in second and third spots.

Top Novice rider was Ben Leighton. He posted 13 laps and was over seven minutes clear of second placed Tony Adams as the chequered flag was waived. Andrew Bowley took third, a lap down on Leighton and Adams.

By the time the afternoon’s GBXC race got underway the course was extremely well bedded-in and the opening few laps were truly fast and furious with the lead changing hands constantly. In the Expert pack Derek Bawn took the holeshot with Max Ditchfield a wheel’s length behind but by the time the pack hit the woodlands it was anybody’s race.

Ditchy got to the head of the field and set a blistering pace but had no respite from the chasing group and although he led for quite a few laps his bike experienced mechanical issues and had to DNF. Any of a number of riders were in the hunt for the win but it was Shaun Buchan who narrowly took victory by just 40 seconds over a hard-charging Henry Yardley, both clocking up 20 laps. Third placed Ricky Wiggins narrowly missed out on an extra lap but took third anyway.

It looks as if the Clubman 2T class will be a year-long battle between two riders; Cole Cookland and James Palmer. The each took a victory at the ACU Sprint the week before and were locked together for most of the race on Sunday with just 23 seconds separating the two as Cookland took the win and Palmer second. George Yardley was also on form and completed the 2T top three.

Lee Hattersley got his season of to a great start with the Clubman 4T win under his belt, edging out Ryan Phillips to second spot with a minute between them as Ben Key took third. Chris Wagstaff also started well with a win in the Vets A group ahead of Darryl Mead and Kev Sandland.Cole CooklandIMG_0808Dave Cooper Lee Hattersley Scott Harris Shaun Buchan Sion Evans

The extra week’s wait was worth it. The day saw cracking racing across the board and the weather played ball for once as the course dried to perfection. The Joe Edge tribute was moving and all involved appreciated the efforts put in by Fast Eddy and his crew.

The ACU British Sprint Championship at Rogers Hill

Report Tim Tighe. Images Garry Barnes.

The opening rounds of the 2018 Sprint Championship exploded into action over the weekend at Rogers Hill Raceway in Dorset.Danney McCanney

Gas Gas Factory rider Danny McCanney nailed round one on Saturday while Freestyle Husqvarna’s Joe Wootton claimed victory on Sunday from a top-quality field of riders.

A week-long battle to get the sodden track into shape really paid off as conditions were perfect across the whole weekend. The forecast two days of rain failed to materialise, although there was a slight drizzle intermittently on Sunday, and the big single special test incorporated plenty of challenges both in the woods and on the MX track. Six runs were planned for each day which allowed riders plenty of time for preparation and technical adjustments between runs. As things turned out it was six runs on Saturday and five on Sunday.

The opening sprints at Rogers Hill Raceway always attract top quality riders across all classes and this season looks to have been the best yet with factory riders from Husqvarna, GasGas and Sherco all in attendance.

Factory Sherco rider Jack Edmondson (E2) set blistering times on the first two runs but an error on his third run saw Danny McCanney (E3) take the lead and hold it to the end of the day with Freestyle Husqvarna’s Joe Wootton (E2) just off pace in third spot. Daryl Bolter (E2) took fourth ahead of reigning champion Alex Snow (E1).

Snow topped the E1 bracket ahead of Lee Sealy and Alex Walton while Jack Edmondson won E2 from Joe Wootton and Daryl Bolter. Danny McCanney ruled E3.

Wootton was on top form on Sunday though taking four out of five tests for the overall win with McCanney some 14 seconds adrift in second spot. Jack Edmondson had to fight off Snow for third spot and did so by just two seconds while Bolter once again made the top five.

Snow, Dan Mundell and Alex Walton were top three E! riders with Joe Wootton, Jack Edmondson and Daryl Bolter topping E2. Mccanney was top E3.

Expert Aaron Gordon (E1) was untouchable on both days. Eleven straight test wins saw him head the Expert ranks by a minute on Saturday and 45 seconds on Sunday. Two outstanding outings and a great start to the Championship. The battle for second and third saw Ricky Wiggins (E3) beat Max Ditchfield (E1) on Saturday but lose out to Dylan Baynton (E2) on Sunday.Aaron Gordon

The Clubman class is a real powerhouse of talent this season with a multitude of Fast Eddy youngsters making their way through the ranks. A superb outing from Charlie Chater on his new Freestyle Yamaha saw him blitz the Clubman class on Saturday, nearly 40 seconds up on second placed Cole Cookland and a minute up on Lewis Ranger in third spot. Cookland fought back hard to take the win on Sunday by just six seconds over Chater as Ryan Mundell climbed to third spot.

GasGasUK’s John Shirt took the Vets class by storm on the opening day against serious opposition from Rich Cookland and Neil Bowker then continued his good form throughout Sunday to take the class win from Jonathan Tarr and Danny Halls.

In the Youth class, Alfie Webb and Josh Lucy were locked together all weekend. Webb was excellent and never put a foot wrong and took the class win by well over a minute on the first day but Lucy closed to gap significantly on the second day to follow Webb home by less than 30 seconds. Jac George completed Saturday’s Youth top three while Carwyn Rosser took third on Sunday.

In the Sportsman ranks things were pretty close all day long across the top three riders but eventually it was Sam Baggott who took the win by just three seconds over Ollie Harcombe with Andrew Whieldon less than 30 seconds adrift in third. Harcombe too the win on the second day by nearly two minutes from Jack Smith as Marcus Feltham took third in class.

Just two representatives in the Ladies class; Emily Halls and Gemma Holtham. Hall took both wins although Holtham had her best day on Sunday and narrowed the gap to the leader significantly. Reigning Ladies Champion Rosie Rowett moved to the Clubman ranks in order to push herself as hard as possible and gain valuable experience throughout the year.

Rogers Hill was a terrific venue to start the Sprint Championship. Fast Eddy and his crew had worked extremely hard to ensure the venue was at its optimum and were rewarded by relatively good weather and a cracking rider entry which made for excellent racing. Charlie Chater Joe Wootton Cole Cookland Jack Edmondson John Shirt

The series moves to Brake Hill Farm, Northants, over the weekend of 16-17th June for rounds three and four.

2018 ACU British Extreme Enduro Championship

Round 2 at Cowm Off-road, Whitworth, Lancs.

Jonny Walker celebrated his return to the UK extreme scene with an emphatic victory at Cowm Quarry last weekend.  The Red Bull KTM factory rider produced an outstanding display and led the Pro field, virtually from the start.

IMG_3362Cowm Quarry had undergone many changes in the build-up to this event.  Some of the sections looked easier but proved to be much harder while the addition of a significant amount of faster, open going where riders could “rest”, made the event very stop start in places.

Third gear straights suddenly terminated into a first gear, an inch-by-inch pick through extremely technical sections.  Add to this the biting wind cutting across the venue, icy patches strewn randomly around the flatter areas and steep climbs offering no grip then plenty of grip, all made for a very mixed challenge for all riders.

The course, as with Tong, ran in different directions for both the morning and afternoon races.  Although it would have been easy for the Fast Eddy crew to choose well-established paths and routes, they decided to tear up the map book and lay out something completely different.

The course, for the morning race at least, was more technical than usual, the afternoon course, although very different to the normal layout, presented few problems for the Pros and Experts.

The star-studded Pro race began at 12.30 with a fairly subdued charge around the first set of hairpins and logs; no one wanted to make a mistake here!  It wasn’t until riders were clear of the start area, that the racing really began.  Initially, it was a three-way battle between Walker and rivals Graham Jarvis and Billy Bolt from the Rock Star Husqvarna factory team.

By the time the leaders reached the redesigned rock garden, close to lap-scoring, it was Walker who had just a few seconds lead over Bolt with Jarvis very close behind, all three circulating at roughly the same pace.

Walker turned up the gas and by the half-way point, there was roughly forty seconds between Walker and Bolt, with Jarvis a further forty seconds adrift with Eurotek’s Paul Bolton roughly thirty seconds behind Jarvis.

IMG_3168Beta mounted Jonno Richardson was hanging up there, just off the leading pack and slightly ahead of Sam Winterburn with championship riders Jordan Scott and Gethin Humphreys filling the top ten places.

Disaster struck Graham Jarvis on lap ten, where he ran out of fuel.  Paul Bolton and company gladly received the gift of a jump up the leader board but no one was capable of matching Walker or Bolt, the only two riders to complete the lap in less than twelve minutes.  At one stage, Walker had eked out nearly a two-minute lead over Bolt, who was making small errors, each one nibbling a few seconds off his time.  Bolt recovered however and closed within six seconds of Walker to take the runner-up spot as Paul Bolton secured third.

A significant group of Expert riders followed the Championship class home.  Joe Deakin took the Expert win from Sam Ludgate and third placed Gav Houson but even more impressively, Gas Gas mounted Juan Knight, in the Elite Vets class, made it to ninth overall and another class win in this series. He had plenty of competition.  Wayne Braybrook was a minute and a half behind in second spot.  An excellent outing for someone who does not ride competitively these days.  Harold Crawford completed the Elite Vets top-three, a lap down on Knight and Braybrook.

It was interesting to note that the highest position achieved by a Clubman rider was 31st overall, quietening the claims of pot-hunters.  Stuart Mack and Dawson Marriott battled hard throughout the two-and-a-half-hour race but it was Mack who eventually emerged victorious.  Olly Lawer completed the Clubman podium line-up.IMG_3457

The morning racers definitely suffered the worst of the conditions. Although bright sunshine bathed the whole venue, the wind chill factor was down to artic proportions.  The course was ok, although in some of the shaded areas the grounds seemed to be in perma-frost.  The Veterans always provide great racing at Cowm, in particular Mick Boam and Mark Houson. Houson seems to have the edge at Tong but Boam definitely has the advantage at Cowm but not this year.

Youth and enthusiasm overcame age and experience as Will Stansbie clawed his way to the front of the pack and despite the efforts of Boam, Houson and fellow Youth rider Suff Sella, he maintained his lead to claim a glorious victory in the most challenging conditions ahead of Mick Boam, second overall but first in Vets and Sella, third overall and second in the Youth class.  Gas Gas mounted Tom Knight, took third in the Youth class down in a lowly 9th overall spot with a handful of talented Vets ahead of him, while Karl Greenhall nailed third in the Vet class.

Grant Gillender led the Sportsman class home just sixteen seconds ahead of Ryan Crayston with Liam Robinson close behind in third.IMG_0718

The bitterly cold conditions seemed to have little effect on the quality of riders and fierceness of the competition, in fact the morning race seemed to have more urgency about it than the afternoon race (but it was cold so maybe they were just trying to get warm).

Walker’s return to the UK was welcomed by his many fans and it was great to see him battle with Bolt, Jarvis and Bolton at times even though he always seemed to have things firmly under control. Billy Bolt was close but for a few mistakes here and there, he may well have taken the win but still gaining in experience, he still put in a superb performance.  The demise of the master, Graham Jarvis, running out of fuel gives hope to the rest of mere mortals who have been known to do so on a regular basis. Paul Bolton, as ever, hung tough and was rewarded for his efforts. A smart rider who knows the game really well.

A massive well-done to Fast Eddy and his dedicated but frozen crew, who spent the week at Cowm building a superb course, assisted hugely by John Whittle and his big machines.