British BMX Series Rounds 3&4
23rd & 24th April 2016
The sun shone, the wind blew, the rain fell but at least the forecast snow stayed away for the 3rd and 4th rounds of the British BMX Series at Birmingham BMX club. The team area was buzzing from Friday afternoon until late on Sunday where the FTB riders were camped out behind the third turn.
Practice was over, so too were the never ending discussions about what to do on the first jump and it was down to each rider to do their thing on the track – and they did not disappoint!
Team Manager Keith Wilson led proceedings on Saturday in the 45+ Cruiser, his first moto didn’t go according to plan but he soon changed that with some very strong riding finishing 3rd and 2nd, the momentum was with him and an excellent 3rd in his quarter final set up the semi-final in which he narrowly missed out on the Main coming 5th and setting up a battle in the B final. Another display of strong riding from the TM got him to a very respectable 4th in B final. Sunday went better for Keith starting strong in the motos with 4th, 3rd and 2nd building on that great work to finish an impressive 4th in his semi making the A Final where he finished 8th.
Onto the youngsters. Saturday was pocket rocket James Clitheroe (aka Jimmy C) – racing in the 6 and under boys who was impressive during his motos, and through to the final without issue, battling hard to a strong 2nd against some fantastic young riders. Another podium for this exceptional young man. Sunday beckoned and Jimmy C was all set to go again, another strong moto performance put him in the A final and this time he went 1 better than Saturday taking the top spot on the podium, brilliant stuff.
In the 7s were Finley Hough, Ben Longley (returning to national racing after breaking a wrist at this very track) and Leon Parker. Finley began well with 2 moto wins against strong gates, but a big fall in his third moto left him with an injured hand and the quarter final was just beyond him – that was his day over. He picked himself up again for Sunday and bravely battled against some tough opposition posting 3rd, 3rd and 1st in his motos but a pedal slip whilst in 2nd place 20ft from the finish line cost him a place in the Semi-final, it just wasn’t his weekend.
Leon Parker yet again showed his impressive track speed after weaving through some traffic to post a clean sweep of moto wins, quarter and semi finals, although some “bar-banging” down the start hill in the Main left him with work to do. But the British Champion didn’t disappoint as he worked his way through the field to finish an impressive second, and with a fire lit in is belly he went out and posted the perfect score on Sunday winning motos, quarter final, semi-final and A-Final. What a ride from Leon who won 11 out 12 laps over the weekend.
Ben Longley personified the kind of spirit a BMX racer needs to succeed. Two big falls on Saturday, one during the motos and then again in the B Final left him did not knock to his confidence and he came back battling on Sunday. Ben battled his way through the motos, but sadly another crash at the end of the first turn in his quarter final put an end to his Sunday. But he jumped up to carry on and hopefully his Birmingham demons are now well and truly exorcised.
Sadly Gabe Simpson (Racing in the 8s) is still unable to ride as he continues his recovery at home and the team are hoping to see him back in action really soon. Get well soon Gabe!
On Saturday in the Male 9s – Lewis Longley continued his brilliant run of form to post a second in the B final, after some exceptional work in the motos and quarter final, unfortunately he missed out on the Main…… this time. Lewis is a rider heading in the right direction, his hard work and dedication is paying off already, and Lewis carried on where he left off on Sunday deciding that his 2 lap practice was the time to start jumping the first, he nailed it, and that was Sundays first jump tactic sorted! He recorded moto results of 2nd, 2nd and 3rd then finishing his quarter final in 2nd to set up a Semi-final battle. Lewis did not disappoint and made the main finishing a fine 4th. A very positive weekend for Lewis with a great display in the A final finishing 7th.
Again in the 9s Jensen Egan was flying in his motos until a very nasty crash where a rider landed on top of him left him battered and bruised and with a broken helmet! He still made the quarters but got pipped for 4th place meaning his day was done and he was off to recover to race again on Sunday (and browse the new helmets on the traders stands). After recovering overnight, Sunday was going well where Jensen made the quarters with ease (3rd, 4th and 2nd) but a bad start in his quarter and getting closed out meant he had to brake which left him last, he battled his way back but could only manage 7th, the weekend presented more positives and learning, and considering his crash on Saturday Jensen proved he’s made of stern stuff!
Next up, Billy Brown who rode round 3 with great class in his motos, quarter and semi to make the main where he finished the day on the podium with a fantastic 2nd. On Sunday, Billy pulled off some stunning moto performances posting 1st, 3rd and 1st then going onto win his quarter final. A superb 3rd in his semi-final put Billy in the main yet again, where he completed a brilliant weekends riding missing out on the podium by one spot.
Adam Sweetman had a tough job on Saturday riding in both the 10 year old boys 20” and the 9-12 cruiser class. In his first season racing nationals, it’s a steep learning curve for Adam and unfortunately he didn’t progress out of the motos, although he is making great progress and improving all the time. Sunday was another day and another tough job riding 20” in a group of 60 riders as well as Cruiser. Adam didn’t progress out of the motos, although it may not be long before he does.
Ben Curling (Male 12) posted a perfect set of results winning all his motos, then going on the win his quarter and semi before winning the A Final on Saturday. Faultless riding from Ben in an extremely strong group of riders. Ben also started Sunday in exactly the same manner winning all his motos, quarter and semi and again making the main – on this occasion it wasn’t to be as he tangled with another rider leaving him in 8th on the day. Another FTB rider who won 11 out of 12 laps over the weekend.
Oz Ricketts (Male 13) progressed through the motos on Saturday showing some fantastic riding, unfortunately he narrowly missed out on a semi-final spot this time after finishing 5th in his quarter final. Sunday was a tough day for Oz, he had an extremely bad fall challenging for a quarter final position in his final moto, he took a very nasty bang to the heard and was knocked unconscious for a short period, he has no recollection of what happened, and was forced to retire for the day. Oz is knocking on the door of a national final and hopefully it won’t be long before he makes it through.
Emily Brannan (Female 13-14) – carried on her fantastic form from the recent North Region series on Saturday progressing through the motos and semi to make the A final which unfortunately didn’t go in her as well as she would have hoped, with a 6th place finish. Much of the same hard work and skill got Emily to the main again on Sunday after coming 2nd, 4th and 2nd in her motos, then 3rd in her semi making it another A Final, unfortunately Emily couldn’t improve on Saturdays result, but two 6ths at a national is still a fantastic achievement.
Connor Hedges (Male 14) put in a very strong performance progressing through the motos, quarter, semi convincingly. Connor came 3rd from gate 6 in the final against a super stacked gate of 8. Brilliant riding, showing the younger team riders how to do it, and always leading by example. Sunday started very well for Connor recording 2 firsts and a second in his motos. But an uncharacteristic 5th in his semi put him in the B Final, which he won easily.
Travis Wilson (Male 13 and 13-14 Cruiser) is another rider that had a tough job, racing 2 classes over both days of the national. Cruiser class went well for Trave, progressing to the A final and posting a a 6th place finish. 20″ didn’t go as well for Trav and he went out in the quarter final. On Sunday Travis had recovered well enough to give it another shot in both classes. Travis came 5th, 4th and 2nd in his motos on the 20” and into the quarter finals where he just missed out on a semi-final again finishing 5th. Travis knows how to boss a Cruiser and made the semis after posting 3rd, 3rd and 3rd in his motos and out of the quarters. A 5th in the semi meant a trip to the B-final where he finished 4th.
Jason Egan (Masters) produced some fine racing and battled hard both days as well as showing some great flair in the air! A strong set of motos and quarters put Jason into a super stacked semi getting edged out in 5th and into the B final. A poor start in the B final left him mid pack but he fought hard and was able to battle through and pick up 2nd place finish. Sunday was much the same again for Jason with great results in his motos, but another bad start in the semis and getting in a battle to first jump left him unclipped, he got himself back together and battled back through but just missing out on 4th the a with a photo finish, so it was another B final. Another poor start in the B-final but good 2nd and 3rd pedals brought him back in it, until the tussle with lane 1 left him in last, from here he had a very fast smooth end to the lap posting 3rd.
FTB would like to say thanks Birmingham BMX club and to all involved with making this national weekend a great success.
Next stop Glasgow where FTB will be out in force again.