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Race Reports

Twisted Concepts BMX

Peckham National

Peckham National. Rounds 7&8

 

Situated just south of the River Thames, Peckham BMX is set in Burgess Park, a large bustling green space just outside central London, opposite the large Aylesbury estate. The track was opened in August 2013 after years of fundraising and meetings with Southwark council. It was hoped that the international standard facility would encourage kids from the estate to get into cycling and gain skills associated with structured competition and training with positive role models, such as the Whyte and Isidore brothers, all accomplished international standard athletes. The investment seems to be working already, Peckham Club, time and time again are producing some of the fastest racers in Britain, some even gaining World and European success.

The track is a great flood lit facility, fenced off from the park, meaning it can only be ridden at arranged practice times for the public, or for private hire, this ensures it is always in the best condition and is regularly maintained to the highest standards. It has, by modern track standards, a more shallow and lower start hill and a very fast dropping gate. This means during racing riders with the best snap, the most power and the most effective technique tend to get the upper hand, as it said by some ‘anyone can go fast down Manchester’s start hill, it just takes nerve, but no real technique, or power’. The first jump is a step up triple, then after a few cranks a long mellow double, then another step up triple into the monster first berm. The first corner gets tight on the way out for the challenge classes as the amateur line is tight on the inside and the first jump to too far out from it, very much like Birmingham. The second straight is split in two, the pro outside line is huge, two big sets of doubles out of the berm, then a third monster set which proves a real game changer in racing. You really need to hit it at full chat to get the first sets perfect and have a good run to clear the third, any big berm moves on your approach and your going to find it almost impossible to get over the last one. The amateur side has a long low double, then a roller just before a roller to table, finishing with step up step down into the second corner. The second berm is pretty tight and deep inviting moves on anyone who leaves a gap, swoops and high lows were coming thick and fast all weekend. The third straight is a pretty standard double, table, roller double into a tight right hand final berm. The last straight is also a pretty standard rhythm section with a sensible configuration of step up tables and rollers that flow well and seem to work in racing. The first half of the track has plenty of chance for good old fashioned peddling, so good aerobic fitness and cadence are a huge advantage. 

 

The team had a great track side setup and view half way down the first straight, giving us the ideal position to try Facebook live streaming some of our riders races over the weekend, something we’re going to try and improve the quality of and test out new ideas over the last few nationals of the season. It’s a great way for people who aren’t at the national to keep up with the action and our fantastic American team partners and sponsors to see their awesome products in action. Unfortunately in the UK there isn’t any official live streams at the moment, so here at Twisted Concepts we are trying to address that void at least from a team perspective. The team had to go for a slightly smaller set up over the weekend because of plot size restraints to ensure an optimum viewing area, but we managed to keep the warm up area and seating/hospitality area running effectively, there was even enough room for all our usual nodding off suspects to get their pre and post race naps it!

Peckham national had a great atmosphere again, rivalling Scotland for that laid back, but exciting, fun vibe we all love. The Jamaican caterers with their Jerk chicken, curry goat and fresh coconuts, the steel band and party atmosphere really helped bring a taste of the Caribbean to the UK BMX scene once again, something that the South London club have become famous for. The weather even played ball for the most part, other than a couple of showers that helped keep the dust on the track down, the sun shone and helped make conditions almost perfect for a great weekends racing in the capital. As usual the team had a great time, there were smiles all round, all weekend, with the usual parent (slightly embarrassing) dances taking place, there was banter in the gazebos, pictures of people asleep and pro riders helping the kids learn effective warm ups and downs on the rollers, but how did everyone get on?

 

Elizabeth ‘Maggie’ Bown 7-8 Girls.

Competing in her first season of nationals Maggie set the bar extremely high, consistently making A finals over and over again. This weekend she kept the momentum up, being reliable if nothing else, reliably awesome! Saturday Maggie pulled out some solid moto performances, finishing where she needed to be in the front half of the pack every time, which was essential as there weren’t quite enough riders to make semi finals, but enough to pretty much fill 2 gates. In the final Maggie came from lane 6, but couldn’t get across the big wide first straight to get into a podium position and had to slot in behind the imposing figure of Decade’s Lucy Simpson.  She  chased Lucy round, but with the first 3 flying and no one making a mistake Maggie had to settle of fourth place. Sunday was a similar story, great moto results with a third, a brilliant second and another third in the final moto, setting her up for her second final of the weekend. The final had a similar story down the first straight with the main riders being pretty evenly matched Maggie was stuck on the outside, she wound it up round the first berm and went for it, pulling level with Bunny’s Bikes rider Esme Brook down the second straight, the battle would continue in that vein for the rest of the race, right to the line, but Elizabeth couldn’t quite pull past and had to settle for fifth on day two.

9 Year Old Boys.

Ben and Harry ‘The Rockstar’ have had a hard season on the track, in one of the hardest age groups there is on the national circuit and Peckham wasn’t going to be any easier. On Saturday Harry looked at the moto sheets and saw 31 riders, 15 to drop for semi finals, meaning they would both need top four finishes in every moto, which is a very tall order. Harry’s head dropped a bit as he was struggling with timing on the gate, causing him to get blocked on the first jump in every race, he was cutting across the back of the pack and trying to makes moves in the first corner, but he couldn’t really make any inroads into the field and you could see the disappointment. Sunday was a different story for him, he was much more positive, he was riding much better, trying much harder and getting better results. He still didn’t make the cut, but if he had ridden the first moto of the weekend like he rode the very last he would have been much closer to getting the 4th places he was so desperately after. His favourite part of the weekend he told me was ‘warming up with Billy Luckhurst on the rollers, for his final on Saturday’ and ‘drinking fresh coconut through a straw like I was on the beach in Jamaica’. The weekend had a very similar story for Ben Hallett, with his best moto results coming on the Sunday, but like his team mate he really seemed to struggle on the gate and kept getting squeezed out over the first jump. Off the track Ben had a great time too, if he didn’t win on the track he certainly won the boy who could eat the most Haribo in a day competition. Both of the lads had a tough time in racing, but had great fun and were good ambassadors for the team off the track and are looking forward to hopefully improving on their results at Blackpool national in a few weeks time.


Ethan Cremin, 16-29 Men.

It was another tough weekend for Ethan again in probably the biggest and hardest class of the event. His riding was really smooth,he was looking comfortable through the technical sections, but he was struggling to get the snap he needed and he was also suffering with getting boxed out over the first jump. Ethan didn’t stop trying and pushed as hard as he could in all his races. The battles were raging all the way through the pack and racing was super competitive in every position in every moto. Sunday saw disaster strike Ethan in the final berm of his first qualifier, he went hot into the last berm, racing shoulder to shoulder with Hayes Hawks rider George Kewell, they landed the last jump into the final corner on opposing lines and collided in the berm, it was a huge crash and one that caused Ethan’s bars to get bent which effectively ended his weekend.  He carried on, but he was understandably feeling a bit tender and looked a little tentative. Both riders took a while to get up and racing had to be halted for a few minutes with things looking worrying for a while, but to the crowd and the teams relief both riders eventually got to their feet a bit shaken, battered and bruised. I later saw George, who Ethan had crashed with, while I was walking through the club enclosure and the Hayes rider showed me a massive graze on his side, it turned out Ethan bars had actually bent on his ribs, so things really could have been much worse than they actually ended up. Ethan is going to keep training hard and is looking to turn things around and hopefully will have a bit of luck at Blackpool. He would like to thank the team and his sponsors for their support at the National, he really appreciated it. He might not have had his best national, but he didn’t stop smiling and the ‘Quality Street’ bike didn’t stop gleaming all weekend.


Richard Ayles, Masters.

Richard loves Peckham track and has spent a lot of time riding there over the last 12 months and in racing it showed. Masters was stacked again, with some international standard over 30’s all going flat out. The immaculate fluorescent orange Doublecross was flying again and looking box fresh, we’re sure Rich polishes it within seconds of it crossing the line, because no one can remember seeing his bike even slightly dirty, ever! Both days the class was incredibly tight, riders who came in the top two in one moto might get last in the next one, there was really very little difference in track speed, although styles and techniques differed. There were not enough riders for semi finals, so every moto would count and would be fought like a semi. Saturday Rich got pretty good moto results, enough to get into the final. He picked lane 8 to try and get a run down the down the outside and not suffer the dreaded mid pack squeeze that caused some his team mates so much trouble over the weekend. The plan went pretty well, he got a reasonable snap, got the power down then came across half way down the the first straight, pulling the pincer on everyone else into the first berm, he was in about third coming into the big bowled out beast of a bend, but still on the outside, so shuffled into fifth, he pushed on, but with everyone flat out and no mistakes being made there was no overtaking to be done in any position, so Rich crossed the line fifth in the Masters train. Sunday wasn’t as smooth for Rich, he had high hopes for a good result after Saturday’s successes, but it wasn’t to be. Things started out well enough, with a 4th in the first qualifier, but in the second he had a weekend ending crash, cutting his elbow to the bone through his pads (without ripping his team shirt amazingly) and getting his legs run over. After a visit to the paramedics Rich was advised to go to hospital as you could see the bone, he was temporally patched up so he could roll round and pick up a few more points for the team in the last moto, but he couldn’t make the final. Rich then had to go off to hospital and get glued back together, so he’ll be back, healed up and fighting fit for Blackpool.


Spencer Cremin, Vets.

There were 24 riders in vets at the weekend in a stacked field and due to work commitments the big man could only do Saturday, so he had to make it count on one days racing. Spencer had done quite a bit of training on the track and the power house was looking good on a first straight that really suited him. Spencer pushed hard in the motos with some strong rides, qualifying tenth he went through to the semi finals. His first straight in his semi was good, pulling into a qualifying third place, but in the last berm he was taken high and wide, pushing him back into the dreaded fifth place, which is the position he would cross the line in. The rain came in for his B final and he just couldn’t get a break finishing fifth in that as well. On the positive side he had no crashes in a class well known for carnage and he didn’t knock any jumps over or damage the track with physics defying manuals!

Superclass.

Rhys Wood and Billy ‘The Butcher’ Luckhurst were going to be firing themselves over what is probably the hardest pro section on any track in Britain. There was stiff opposition with some of the Great Britain team including a returning Paddy Sharrock and local celebrities the Whyte and the Isidore brothers. The wind was gusting about all weekend too, which was causing havoc over the big jumps, some races only one, or two riders were getting through cleanly. Billy has quite a bit of experience on the track as he lives just outside the capital and trains there regularly, but Rhys had hardly ridden it at all making it more of a learning curve event. Rhys managed all the pro line in practice, giving him some good confidence for racing, then after making good first straights started getting in his words ‘mugged everywhere’ (in the first corner) so he couldn’t get a clean run though the big line in racing, but he and the team were really pleased to see him get it all done in one moto. Despite this he came really close to making the semis both days, only missing out by a point on day one, which is a great building block as I’m sure we’ll be returning to the big track in the big smoke next year. The Butcher set out his shop with some fine cuts in his motos on Saturday, seeing him cruise though to the semi final. Billy progressed though in 4thafter picking lane 8, railing the first berm and jumping clean through the pro line and sliced his way through the mid pack mayhem to finish 5th over the line behind the national squad riders. Sunday started off well, qualifying though with just 7 moto points, the 5th highest rider and he looked good but repeat the previous day’s performance, but Billy told us “Sunday my best laps came a little early, so semi time I couldn’t get to where I wanted to be around the track and getting the dreaded 5th”. Billy’s next stop is Verona for the European Championships and we wish him all the best out there doing it for Twisted Concepts and Great Britain.


Also in action over the weekend was Twisted Concepts supported athlete Charlotte Green, who produced some superb results for the Crucial BMX team, winning on day one and pulling in a second on day two, well done Charlie! 

Please come and visit us at Blackpool national in a few weeks time and check out the latest equipment and high end race components. As well as being the importer of Onyx hubs Twisted Concepts are the European service and warranty centre. We are the importers of Doublecross frames, Ridea, Turn3, Epik Carbon Products, CrankBrothers and Oynx Racing Products. We also stock high grade titanium replacement bolts, axles and screws for all parts you might be running on your bike. We also would like to thank our partners and sponsors Crucial BMX, Wright Engineering,Wharftside electrical,Carbon creative  and RWB Bespoke builders.


Thanks to BMX widow for photo credits and Miles Kirby for the words


 

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