Race Reports

Rd 7&8 – Manchester – FTB

British BMX Series Rounds 7&8

Manchester BMX Club – Platt Fields


After a very sunny practice day on Friday the forecast rain hit Platt Fields and did not let up for quite some time. But this is the North, this is Manchester – it rains a lot, but a bit of wet stuff was never going to dampen FTB’s team spirit – more like reinforce it!


Between the noise and furor of a BMX National race there was a very emotional and reflective moments applause as rider representatives from Manchester and London paid a lovely tribute to the victims and families of the Manchester and London attacks – a very touching moment for all watching.

Racing started with the 50+ Cruisers (aka UK BMX Legends class).  FTB was represented by TM Keith Wilson and Mr Air Billy Stupple, who is beginning to find his form again after a little time out becoming a dad again.  As always there was some great riding and battles going on all across the track with both Keith and Billy in the thick of things.  Both guys put in some solid laps to book places in the final on both days.  Billy almost having a perfect lap but having to settle for 2nd place on Saturday and 6th on Sunday; and Keith (recovering from suspected food poisoning) taking 5th on Saturday and 2nd on Sunday.  After an impressive weekends riding Keith currently sits in 1st place and Billy in 5th place overall in the National Series Rankings.


Sadly Rich Barrett’s weekend came to an abrupt end in only the second moto on Saturday after he fell heavily in the third berm.  After an agonizing visit at hospital we can report that Rich has not suffered a break to his collar bone, but the more likely prognosis is that he suffered a short period of dislocation. We are unsure when Rich will be able to ride again as its currently too early to tell, but I’m sure you’d all join us is wishing him a very speedy recovery, and we hope he is back on his bike very soon.


Now to the younger ages groups starting with James Clitheroe in the 7s who didn’t drop a lap all weekend.  He is now the “unofficial” UK National Series champion for the second year in a row (we say “unofficial” because British Cycling, to their disgrace, no longer award any riders under 7 years of age National Series points or rankings.  This excluded pool of riders will continue to increase by an age group each year, to include 8 year olds next year, 9 year olds the following year, and so on).   Anyhow, James Clitheroe is our hero and everyone at FTB is proud to have him as our team mate. Just to put into context how good he is, James has not dropped a lap all season at nationals – and has piloted his FTB Revolution Mini to 40 winning laps out of 40.  It’s amazing for anyone to do that, even more so a 7 year old!


On to another team super star of the FTB team, Mathilda Leak racing in the 8 girls.  She too aced every lap over both days in Manchester, wrapping up the National Number 1 title for her age group on Saturday, and then putting another national win in the bag on Sunday for good measure.  Another FTB pocket rocket with huge potential who has also won 8 National Series races in a row this year.

In the Male 8s Ben Longley, Finley Hough and Leon Parker battled hard all weekend in mixed conditions against a super tough group of riders.  Unfortunately battling Ben went out in the Quarters on Saturday so it was up to Finley and Leon to keep the grab some glory for FTB in the final, where they managed to secure 2nd and 3rd respectively.  Sunday’s weather was a bit brighter but the racing was just as tough.  Once again, Ben saw his race end in the Quarters again, but Finley and Leon hammered home another final with Leon took 2nd on the line from Finley who took 3rd.  Finley now sits in 3rd overall with Leon sitting in 2nd place with 4 rounds to go.


Now the 9s saw the return of Gabe Simpson back from his broken collar bone, this weekend was about testing his fitness, and his commitment in the heat of battle, he passed both tests and made it all the way to the final which in this age group is an excellent achievement considering his time off the bike and still being in comeback mode.  5th in the Main was a perfect start on the road back to full fitness. Sunday was a mixed fortune day for Gabe, who smashed it all the way to the Semifinal, but he got boxed in on the start hill, and had to settle for the B final, which he duly went out and won, welcome back Gabe, you’ve been missed.


There is some talent on show in the Male 10s, with FTB’s Jensen Egan and Lewis Longley, who both rode very strong motos in a stacked group of riders.  However, like his brother Ben, Lewis’ also went out at the Quarter Final stage, which left team mate Jensen to fly the flag for FTB in this age group.  Jensen rode with speed and style into the main event, where he finished 6th overall for the day.  Sunday saw a change in fortune for both riders ultimately resulting in them both being in the same Quarter, and drag racing down the last straight to battle for that all elusive 4th place.  On this occasion it was Lewis just getting the better of Jensen to take 4th place in the Quarter and eventually a 2nd in the B Final.  Male 10s is such a tough age group but Lewis and Jensen are real battlers.


Male 11 is another super tough group, and up and coming new FTB team rider Bailey Miller worked really hard throughout the weekend, in tough conditions to make it through to the quarters on both days, sadly just missing out on the Semis, but Bailey is progressing well, and it won’t be many more rounds before he is making Semi Finals and hopefully finals not long after that.


In the Female 11-12s Hannah Hedges had a tough weekend, after making a great start to the season she struggled at Manchester in really tough conditions. Unfortunately Hannah got moto’d on both days (first time ever!).  But she’ll be back raring to go at Braintree for the next national event.


Onto the Male 12s where Leon Parker-Livesey was battling hard all weekend.  Super strong riding on Saturday put him in contention for another win, but leading the main into the last turn he unclipped and had to settle for 4th overall, disappointed, but huge positive knowing that he almost won but for his pedal letting him down.  Sunday was back to business for Leon, no messing around just wins, and then a fantastic final saw him take 2nd overall, and into 2nd spot in the UK National Series Standings.

In the Male 15s Connor Hedges was blasting round in his usual super strong manner until a crash is his semi with some other riders meant that he would have to contest the B final, where he took 2nd place.  Ready to go again on Sunday, Connor was celebrating his 15th Birthday, and what a way to celebrate it by going out and smashing the A final to take the win, and currently 2nd place in the National Series standings.


Last but not least, Masters where super rad dad Jason Egan was repping the FTB colours with style as always. Some tough gates in tough conditions on Saturday meant that Jason wouldn’t progress to the main this time. Sunday was a much more positive day where Jason again impressed with his track speed, jumping and smooth riding, all the way into the main, but his time he took his season best national finish with a 3rd overall after a full throttle final. Everyone on the team was thrilled to bits for Jason who is a genuinely top bloke and so helpful to all the younger riders on the team.  A great weekend’s work takes Jason up to 3rd overall in the National Series rankings.


The FTB team would like to thank everyone at Manchester BMX for putting on an excellent weekend, which the weather tried (but failed) to spoil (Mother Nature hates BMX!). Commiserations to those who didn’t get the results they wanted, and well done to those who did, especially our podium makers and title winners.  Hopefully those who took falls will heal fast and be back with us on their bikes soon.  Next stop, Braintree.


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