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.

Image galleries on www.foto-x.co.uk

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

Get your diaries out……

Paul EdmondsonFast Eddy 2017 events, dates and venues.

Now that his globetrotting is over for a while Paul Edmondson has finalised his events for the year and there are a few surprises to say the least. Cross Country, Sprints and extremes plus three brand new venues all have the potential to make this the best season yet for Fast Eddy Racing.

The Fast Eddy Rock Oil XC Championship is the bedrock of the Fast Eddy Racing events calendar with seven races planned throughout the season. Add to that six rounds of the ACU GBXC British Sprint Championship and the dates for the season are beginning to fill nicely.

Much to the delight of many riders the Great Britain Cross Country series, GBXC, makes a welcome return with three events all destined for large, rolling hillside courses in Wales and Shropshire.

For the Rock Oil and GBXC Cross Country series there are new classes planned with the introduction of Vets B and Youth B joining the Sportsman and Novice riders for the two-hour morning races starting at 10.00am. The two and a half hour afternoon races start at 12.30pm and will hold Experts, Clubman, Youth A and Vets A.

New to the calendar is the Steady Eddy X-treme series which is specifically designed without the Pro’s in mind, it is a ‘No Pro’ series but it will still be challenging with the likes of Cowm Quarry and Westwood in the line up but it won’t be near impossible. The three Steady Eddy X-treme events will have the same classes as the normal Eddy’s Xtreme’s but without a Pro class.

Classes remain the same for the ACU GBXC British Sprint Championship with Championship, Expert, Clubman, Youth, Vets and Sportsman riders all competing for their respective ‘Champion’ titles.

Here’s how they all line up:

Fast Eddy Rock Oil XC Championship: Youth race and two adult races: March 12th at Bicton, SY3 8EU. Round 2 has been postponed at the moment. The third round is at Brake Hill Farm (NN14 3NB) on April 30th again with a FED day beforehand on the 29th. The fourth round is at H2O Oswestry on June 17-18th with FED practice on Saturday and racing on Sunday.

Castle Caereinion, hosts the fifth round over the weekend of 1-2nd July and the sixth round is at Green Hall Farm, SY22 5LG, on 2-3rd September.

The final round will be at Butts Quarry, S45 0HW, over the weekend of 7-8th October, again with FED practice on Saturday and racing on Sunday.

The GBXC Cross Country Championship will have racing on Sunday and practice on Saturday.

With big courses planned for all three events the GBXC Cross Country series starts at the superb Westwood venue, S75 3DL, on April 1-2nd then moves to Ratlinghope, near to SY5 0NS, a Fast Eddy blast from the past with huge rolling hills, over the weekend of June 3-4th. A new venue yet to be announced will host the final round in South Wales on August 5-6th.

The ACU GBXC British Sprint Championship has six rounds at three venues and starts on May 20-21st at Rogers Hill Raceway in Dorset, DT2 7HN. With Bicton Farm in Shropshire completely upgraded over the winter period the championship moves there on July 15-16th with a big lap planned using all of available land at the venue. August 12-13th sees the final two rounds at Green Hall Farm, which should be in prime condition at that time of year.

Finally, the new Steady Eddy X-treme series kicks off later in the season at Cowm Quarry, OL12 8XG, on October 28-29th followed by the second round on the weekend of November 25-26th at a venue yet to be confirmed, with the final taking place at Westwood, S75 3DL, on December 16-17th.

As if that lot isn’t enough, there will be a large selection of practice days throughout the season at Bicton and H2O, SY10 7PA, with the first official day at H2O running on May 7th.

The final round of the 2017 ACU British Extreme Enduro Championship, the H2O X-treme Classic will run on August 19th at H2O and the small matter of the Great Britain round of the Enduro GP series at Hawkstone Park, SY4 4NA, will be dominating the calendar over the weekend of September 23-24th.

To enter any of the events listed above call 01543 370070 or 07889 924560.

 

Eddys Xtreme Enduro Round 3. Abbeycwmhir.

The 2017 ACU British Extreme Enduro Championship.

Billy Bolt finally got what he deserves, his first major extreme enduro win, at Abbeycwmhir on Sunday.

Billy BoltRockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory rider Bolt took first place at the third round of the ACU British Extreme Enduro Championship, Ed’s of the Valley, organised by Paul Edmondson and his Fast Eddy Racing crew. The 12-mile course turned into what Bolt described as a ‘slog-fest’ as heavy rain and high winds battered the venue throughout the day.

Strategy, with a huge amount of luck added, was the key in the afternoon race as more than a few riders fell foul of the ‘outside assistance’ rules, going for third lap and consequently running out of fuel out on the course. Both Graham Jarvis and David Knight were disqualified for outside assistance. They took a chance and pushed their luck going for a third lap and lost out. Kieran Hancock also dq’d for the same reason.

This third round came as a real shock to many riders who hadn’t ridden a big lap Welsh forest enduro in wintertime for a while. Mud, ruts, big hill-climbs, fast fire-roads and brash, all with fallen trees and a few rocky sections, made for a fuel-draining lap.

Juan KnightThe event wasn’t considered extreme, more a Hard Enduro, but looking at some of the hill-climbs they would not have disgraced any extreme enduro. The floor of the forest remained generally in good shape but there were a few sections that became extremely rutted and hard to negotiate.

The morning race saw riders start four at a time with the Veterans class leading the way. Mick Boam and Juan Knight, both on Beta machines, were in the mix alongside Kiaran Hankin , Karl Greenhall, Andrew Reeves and Alex Owen as the pack disappeared into the trees with over half an hour until they reached lap scoring once again.

Harry Edmondson 2The guys out front had a run at the hill-climbs and fared much better than many of the Sportsman and Youth riders following in their wake. Knight and Boam led the field with Knight stretching a slight lead into the second lap where another contender had joined the fray. Harry Edmondson worked hard to get to third spot, a teenager lacking the core strength and physicality of the older riders. He just relied on ability and it paid off as he eventually overtook Boam to finish in second place behind Knight. With the veterans win in the bag and the fastest lap of the race at 35minutes 27 seconds under his belt Knight was followed by Boam as Andrew Reeves took third place.

Luke OwenFor young Edmondson, the winner of the Youth class, this was an excellent outing. He posted three laps, one of only 16 riders to do so out of a field of 90.

Dawson Marriott already had two series wins in the bag so second place didn’t damage his title challenge too much but fellow Youth contender Tom Knight was unlucky to finish fourth as he crashed just before the finish line allowing Will Stansbie past to take third place.

hard pushTwo Sportsman riders stood head and shoulders above the rest. Luke Owen and Darren Heyes both completed three laps and they certainly earned their first and second spots. James Walker took third, just missing out on the chance of a third lap.

Many riders found themselves out of their depth at times and the ones who were finding it really hard were spared further suffering by being pulled from the race at lap-scoring when it was clear that they would simply not have enough time to get anywhere near completing another lap. Considering the conditions, it was a smart move.

The afternoon race results are still provisional at this point although it is clear that Billy Bolt took the win.

Hillclimb mayhemThe Pro class line up was once again top-notch. Husqvarna’s Jarvis and Bolt lined up alongside Eurotek KTM’s Knight and Bolton, although to be accurate Knight did start at the back of the pack with eight riders off the line before him. D3’s Sam Winterburn, Keelan Hancock, Luke Flack, Owain Humphreys and Gary Daniels all had to be passed by Knight for him to get to the head of the field.

Soon it was Bolt, Knight and Jarvis fighting for the lead. All three had there time at the front but Bolt openly admitted that he sat behind Knight for a while, watching the big Manxman attacking the course and learning as much as possible.

Fred Adams

Bolt pitted at the end of the second lap to refuel. The others continued for a third lap and their fate was sealed. Knight and Jarvis were joined by Keelan Hancock in the ‘ran out of fuel’ group and all three were excluded for outside assistance.

Billy Bolt had a clear lead as even second placed Paul Bolton had dropped 10 minutes, his bike repeatedly stopping apparently. Jarvis was second across the line but DQ’d, so Bolton took second spot with a terrific ride from D3 Racing’s Sam Winterburn to take third in the Pro class. Luke Flack took forth place and Owain Humphries fifth.

Matthew Jones climbed to fourth overall and top place in the Expert class by over five minutes, his recent good form continuing to pay dividends. Brad Williams’ first outing for a while saw him take second as Lee Sampson pulled a couple of minutes clear to take third place over Olly Megson who eventually finished in fourth.

Matt JonesSam WinterburnFred Adams was the only Clubman rider to post four laps, and consequently take the class win. Lewis Ellis and Liam Phillips completed the Clubman top three.

This was an extreme event in every sense of the word, especially with the elements against it but as part of the ACU British Extreme Enduro Championship the Ed’s of the Valley event bought something very different to the series and now the dust has settled and the mud is drying it will soon become a talking point in history. As the mid-point of the series it was make or break for many riders with only a handful on the ‘make’ side of things.
Paul Bolton

Well done to Jess & Harry Hockly for their efforts and to the Fast Eddy crew and all the marshals who managed to keep the races running against the odds as the weather tried its best to kill the event.

British Extreme Enduro Championship. Rd 2. Cowm

Graham Jarvis ProThe 2017 ACU British Extreme Enduro Championship. Round 2
Eddy’s X-treme at Cowm

The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Racing duo of Graham Jarvis and Billy Bolt tightened their grips on the 2017 ACU British Extreme Enduro Championship at Cowm Quarry on Sunday by taking the top two spots in the Pro class around the toughest course ever laid out at the venue.

Usually the steep hillclimb at the heart of the venue is the centre of attention but for the afternoon race it was quite the opposite as crowds gathered at an perilously deep hole that the Pro, Expert and Clubman riders had to negotiate and it didn’t fail to deliver the thrills and spills everyone anticipated.

It wasn’t the only new section. Site operator John Whittle had been busy over the last few months making considerable adjustments to the course and adding new rock gardens everywhere. The start area had a very different layout with riders leaving the line, hitting a sharp right-hander, negotiating a log section at speed before entering a narrow tunnel before exiting onto the course proper. Watching over 100 Sportsman riders squeeze through in the opening race was literally getting a quart into a pint pot!Mick Boam Veterans

At 9.30am the racing got underway and the veterans were first off the line with D3 racing’s Karl Greenhall showing he still has some speed, in short bursts, taking the holeshot ahead of Mick Boam on his Rock Oil Beta and Neil Crayston who was again mounted on his electric KTM.

Within yards Boam had the lead and he stretched a comfortable gap in a couple of laps, easing over the rocks as if they were tarmac. He was smooth and composed, for most of the race, and went on to take his second win of the series. He was matched on laps only by fellow Vet Dawson Marriott YouthKiaran Hankin, both riders posting nine laps but Boam had a healthy lead of just under five minutes. Third overall went to Youth rider Dawson Marriott who is getting closer each race to taking the overall win but as consolation he won his class by a mile. Third in the Vets went to Vince Harker who finished just seconds behind Marriott.

With a clear winner in the Youth ranks it was a free-for-all for the remaining podium places. Harry Edmondson was in the running initially but on his fourth lap he was taken out hard by another rider on one of the hills then snapped his gear selector which put him out of the running completely. Will Stansbie took the runner up spot, a lap down on Marriott, as Tom Knight put in a terrific performance to claw his way to third in class.

With over 100 Sportsman riders it was aLuke Owen Sportsmannyone’s guess who would win but Luke Owen eventually took the win despite a very poor start and several ‘incidents’ as he described them. Calming himself and getting good lines, riding very smoothly around most of the course he finished ahead of a pack of Sportsman fighting for a podium place. Darren Heyes just pipped Ryan Crayston to second place by 50 seconds, demoting Cranston to third but with a great ride all the same.

The start area was packed with riders and spectators for the afternoon race and it was well worth the wait to witness a spectacular start from the Pro riders.Lee Sealey Start

Lee Sealey on his Yamaha Offroad Experience machine used every ounce of experience gained from his Super Enduro outing to get to the log section first and bounced across most of the section, the only rider to even attempt such a move. His claim to fame was brief as he DNF’d after two laps but it got the race off to a great start.

Even though Sealey’s efforts were impressive, Eurotek KTM’s Paul Bolton was alongside him as they hit the narrow tunnel with no sign of Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Team riders Billy Bolt or Graham Jarvis, in fact, Grimbo was last off the line.

BB4Paul Bolton took the lead as Billy Bolt quickly moved through the pack ahead and by the time they entered the new rock garden just before the huge hole it was Bolt who headed the race. Paul Bolton remained in second spot as Jarvis had worked his magic and was a bike’s length behind in third with D3’s Sam Winterburn catching the leading three.

Bolt, Jarvis and Bolton traded places for the first hour, Jarvis suffering from arm-pump, until he suddenly came good and moved up a gear to put nearly five minutes between himself and the chasing pair. All three made mistakes, Jarvis and Bolton having to make second runs at the huge hillclimb and it was one of these mistakes that allowed Billy Bolt to take second spot and pull nearly 40 seconds over Bolton in third.

Paul BoltonJarvis was long gone at this point, nearly five minutes ahead of them, riding as strongly and smoothly as ever to take his fourth win of the season and second Eddy’s X-treme win of the year. Billy Bolt is a quick learner and he had none of his trademark spectacular crashes as he picked his lines and pushed hard for a well-deserved second place. Paul Bolton is a pure competitor and pushed as hard as he could right to the finish line and third place.

Fred AdamsKeelan Hancock is always near the front of the pack and fourth overall was a good result. Gary Daniels, one of the most underestimated riders in hard enduro, really showed his mettle by taking fifth in a tremendously talented field, a cracking ride for a very talented rider.

Sam Ludgate took sixth place on his Appleyard Beta but it didn’t matter because he was the first Expert rider home at the front of a tough set of Expert competitors around an ultra-tough course. Zac Sherwin matched Ludgate on laps but was a minute adrift in second place while Ben Wibberley took third in class.Sam Ludgate Expert

Fred Adams finished an amazing 20th overall as the first Clubman rider to pass the chequered flag. With a huge Clubman class behind him that was quite an achievement and his second Eddy’s Xtreme class win this year. Lewis Ellis and Ashley Bell joined Adams on the podium in second and third places respectively.

Each event in this Championship outshines the previous. Tong was terrific but Cowm was really something special. Paul Edmondson and his team, alongside John Whittle, made the course something that any promoter in the world would be proud of. With not a tree in sight virtually the whole venue is viewable from a single point but the course was packed with spectators at all the tricky sections and as a spectacle it will be hard to beat.   Liam RobinsonLaunched!Pro top three

Round three of the Championship takes place in Mid-Wales in just over two weeks time near to Saints Well, LD1 6PT and will be a forest based ‘hard enduro’ rather than an extreme, in the words of Fast Eddy, although I’m sure many riders will question that after a lap or two.

Fast Eddy Awards Evening

What an evening! The FamilyFast Eddy Racing Presentation Evening at the Holiday Inn Telford was the best yet. Apart from the dozens of awards presented by Paul Edmondson, James Jackman, Jack Edmondson and Lee Sealey, the auction organised by Lee Eddy and Claudette Chater raised over £2300, which will be donated to the local Air Ambulance.

Several top named riders had contributed items to the auction including Jonny Walker, Graham Jarvis, Billy Bolt, Nathan Watson, Steve Holcombe, Jamie Lewis, Paul Bolton and Fast Eddy himself, with many other items donated as raffle prizes.

Brilliant! Big thanks to everyone who donated items for the auction but Fast Eddy’s 1996 ISDE top took the highest bid! Still got it Paul Edmondson!

For the first time, a disco was included in the evening’s entertainment and it was worth every penny as Rich Cookland and Mick Boam will agree with.

A cracking evening, shame we have to wait 12 months to the next one.

2017 ACU British Extreme Enduro Championship at Tong

AM start lineThe Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team had a cracking start to the ACU Fast Eddy British Extreme Enduro Championship by taking the top two steps of the podium in the Pro race.

Graham Jarvis put in a master-class of skilful riding to take the win nearly nine minutes ahead of teammate Billy Bolt, the only riders to clock up eight laps around the extended Parkwood Offroad course.

Eurotek’s Paul Bolton secured third place, which was an excellent result considering he had just returned to racing following an injury and was unable to put his full weight on his recovered ankle. His holeshot and easy passage over the first rock section showed he was back in the groove right from the start at the head of the field.Graham Jarvis

Eurotek KTM teammate David Knight crashed hard on the opening lap, on a steep downhill section with a sticky throttle while battling to get to the front of the pack following an uncharacteristic start, which saw him back in sixth spot over the first rocky section.

The Extreme Enduro Championship opening round at Tong certainly lived up to it’s billing by providing the toughest and longest course ever built at the venue. The Fast Eddy crew went all-out to include new sections and their attention to detail was obvious. The new sections were gnarly and tricky with no respite anywhere, added to the infamous waterfall, rock slabs, gulleys and ditch jump and everything in between, the course was a true extreme test. Heavy overnight rain certainly didn’t make things easier but as it abated conditions stabilised and racing began.

Danny McCanneyA tight left-hander off the start lead to an even tighter right-hander ahead of a rock section that finished with large rock steps before getting onto the course proper. This was only used for the start much to the relief of many riders. Picking a line whilst walking the course is one thing but getting that line with 80 other riders also trying for their chosen lines is another, as was the case in the Sportsman class.

Billy BoltThe Vets were away first and, with hindsight, they were relatively trouble free with Mick Boam and Mark Houson, two long-time Tong rivals at the head of the pack shortly into the opening lap. They have enjoyed many battles at this venue and Mick Boam enjoyed this one even more as he took the overall win and the Vets class ahead of Houson who was trailing by over seven minutes. They matched each other lap for lap but Houson couldn’t close the gap. Kieran Hankin pulled six minutes on Karl Greenhall to take third spot.Harry Edmondson

The Youth class rider know no fear and they hammered at the course right from the off. Dawson Marriott got a flyer as Harry Edmondson struggled to start his Husqvarna then crashed hard, allowing the pack to get away from him. Tom Knight was amongst the leaders and showed just how much he had improved over recent months to work his way into the top three by the end of the race. Edmondson pulled back some time on the opening lap only to lose it and more on the second lap as he opted for the hard route on the rock slabs. A superhuman effort saw him lift his bike upright just yards from the end of the ‘No Help’ zone. Incredibly he managed to get to second in class by the end of the race. Dawson Marriott didn’t have quite so much trouble and put in an exceptional performance to win the Youth class and finish fifth overall against some really tough competitors. He was focussed and fast, dealing with the numerous jams at tricky sections and he thoroughly deserved his win.

The Sportsman class was a much tiDawson Marriottghter affair. Les Mudie took the win at the head of a class of 80+ riders and was joined on the podium by Chloe Richardson who matched Mudie on laps but just couldn’t close the three and a half minute gap he had on her. It was the tightest finish of the race in terms of class positions. Jamie Rogers was a further five minutes adrift in third spot but all three were on the same lap.

The entry for the afternoon race virtually matched the morning contingent. The course was altered to incorporate the waterfall, ditch jump and the rock slabs on the opening lap, which were not in the first lap of the morning race, and several other sections were included to give a lap of around 16-18 minutes for the Pro class.

Eurotek’s Paul Bolton tore off the startline and grabbed the lead but Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team rider Danny McCanney was in hot pursuit as Graham Jarvis languished in fifth with David Knight sixth and Billy Bolt way down in eighth spot.Paul Bolton holeshot

Within minutes news came through of Knight’s crash, much to the disappointment of the crowds at the ditch jump and the waterfall. Billy Bolt and Graham Jarvis didn’t need any encouragement to take full advantage and Jarvis quickly took the lead with McCanney, Bolton and Bolt vying for second spot. Jarvis pulled away as Bolt surged to within catching distance at one point but the Sorcerer gave his apprentice a lesson in how to turn up the heat and surged to the finish line nearly eight and a half minutes clear of Bolt in second, both riders on eight laps. Bolt has improved and matured considerably since his first outing just 12 months ago at Tong and he rode a cracking race behind his teammate. Jarvis posted the fastest lap of the race on his final lap of the day as the track cleared of traffic and gave him a good run. He hadn’t escaped completely unscathed and put his hands up to a couple of ‘interesting’ offs during the race.

Romanian team and Fast EddyPaul Bolton had a terrific ride to take third place and spoil a potential Husqvarna 1-2-3 as Keelan Hancock was pushing hard in fourth on his St Blazey MX Husqvarna as Daniel McCanney gave Husky its fourth top spot out of five.

It was tight at the top in the Experts class as Matt Jones, Sam Ludgate and Charlie Frost fought for supremacy. Jones got the best of it and took the win three minutes up on Beta mounted Ludgate while Frost enjoyed his first real outing in anger on his Active Bikesport MRS Sherco.

The Clubman class was huge and volatile, with a dozen riders capable of nailing the win. Fred Adams proved to be the best of the lot as he put in five laps to take the class victory as behind him Brad Lilburn and Ryan Armitage fought for second and third. Lilburn got the break and finished just a minute ahead of Armitage who had close friend and rival Lee Hattersley just 15 seconds behind him.

Three riders from Romania entered the event and it came as quite a shock to find that the course was somewhat smaller than they were accustomed to. Usually a lap is around 50km but at Tong they found there were just as many challenges as in a huge 50km lap. Nicusor Botoaca, Dumitreascu Alexandru and Stefan Muntean represented the Stlina Viking Pruszynski team and all three finished, much to their delight.

This was a cracking event, full of action and incident, a proper extreme course. We know that because for the first time ever, Graham Jarvis didn’t tell Paul Edmondson that he had made itMick Boam too easy. Praise indeed.  Fast Eddy MC

The Championship could not have asked for a better start and if Tong is an indicator of what’s to come then the whole series is going to be epic. The second round is on February 5th at Cowm Quarry where there is not a tree to be seen. Talk about going from one extreme to another!