Love the track or not, Manchester indoor is a great facility to start the season off in early March. It’s got everything you could wish for, heating, grandstands providing an unsurpassed view of the action and great sound system adding to the electric atmosphere. As a new team Twisted Concepts went into the event as rookies, the first real test for an aspiring squad with a mixture of young kids, families, up and coming riders, and experienced pros all in the mix. Big things had been happening over the winter, with lots of industry support coming from Britain and America. Team owner and manager Paul Hallett had done an amazing job getting backing from big hitters like, Doublecross , Onyx Racing Products, CrucialBMXRacing.com, Crankbrothers, Racer Concepts, Ridea Components, Turn3 Racing and Epik Carbon Products to name but a few. It was always going to be a bit of a test event for the team, with most of the pilots on new bikes, riding in new kit and forming new relationships. Not as much testing and practice/training had been done as planned since Christmas due to the dreadfully inclement British weather and a jam packed race schedule that had been undertaken by riders in the Autumn and had to be seen out. But one thing was for sure, everyone was going to give it their best shot and the team didn’t disappoint, in some cases personal bests were achieved and expectations were exceeded. So here’s a list of the riders and the highlights of how their weekend went down.
Elizabeth ‘Maggie’ Bown. 7-8 Girls
Wow, just wow, where do you begin?! Maggie only started racing last year going straight into regional racing and making the Brits A final at her first attempt, but had never competed at a national before, so the pressure cooker that is Manchester was always going to be a test of the little girl’s nerve and she replied awesomely. On day one she was pulling 3rd’s and a 2nd in her motos putting her into the semi’s where she did the business, getting the 4th needed to transfer into the A final at her first ever national, an amazing achievement ending up 6th in the final. Could she ever top an amazing first day? Day two, after getting 4th in a first tough moto she got quicker and quicker coming 2nd, then winning the last moto, putting her confidence on a high, she transferred through from the semi’s with brilliant 2nd place. The final was chaotic with the leader going down in the first berm, but Maggie took great evasive action and got through to 3rd pushing world ranked riders all the way. We are really proud of our young lady and truly believe she can go all the way, so remember to look out for her at Birmingham.
Harry ‘The Rockstar’ Kirby. 9 Boys.
Having started racing at 3 Harry is no stranger to the national series, but this was the first time he’d been to the indoor in a couple of years. He was always going to find it tough going in one of the hardest age groups there is, after only picking up his new bike after practice on Friday, which was not ideal, but as everyone knows BMX can be like that sometimes, especially when a bike as special as Harry’s is being built. He didn’t back out though on Saturday and raced a bike he’d only had a couple of warm up laps on, a bike that weighs in a shade under 12lbs. He said it was like nothing he’d ever ridden before, amazingly quick and very responsive, wanting to take off just rolling over jumps! We told him to take it steady and get used to it, it was no surprise he didn’t transfer out of the motos, but trying different gearings and set-ups over the weekend, the indoor was the perfect place to try things out, with the team watching from the stands. We know what needs doing for Birmingham and he’ll go to the event with more bike time, confidence and the perfect set-up. If you want to see one of the most beautiful juniors ever built on the very best components come to the team gazebo and check it out, it really is a work of art.
Spencer Cremin. Vets and 45+ cruiser.
Big Spence is the power house of the team, built like a brick outhouse and not a rider who is easily pushed around, but off the track is one of the mellowest guys you could meet. The hours of gym work were going to come into play as the Spence Unit was taking on both 20” and cruiser this weekend. Cruisers came first on day one with good moto results and solid rides Spencer breezed through to the semi’s securing a transfer to the A final, coming a brilliant 5th in an absolutely stacked class full of experience and old folk that should know better. Onto the 20” for block two and the big man had to go through it all again, motos went fine, but luck wasn’t on his side in the semis, so Spence had to settle for a B final, but finished a respectable 5th. Onto day 2 for another gruelling 2 class day. Good moto results got the S Unit through to the semis again, but it would be a repeat of Saturdays 20” luck seeing him have to fight it out in the B final, coming 3rd in amongst riders who could all make an A final. The quality of the field in 45+ was immense, with more than 16 riders all capable of making the main event. Last block of the weekend and the big man was back on the 20” with a last chance of making another A final, Spencer rode well as ever though his motos making the semi and this time he smashed the top 4 on the little wheels putting him into the A final with a great result of 5th. Two A finals and 2 B finals in two days, which put some great points on the board for the team.
Ethan Cremin 17-24 Men.
Ethan didn’t have the best of weekends, failing to make the cut for the quarters both days, but he made good use of his time on the track getting used to his new team bike. He liked the track changes, but struggled, like many riders did with the 4th straight. He said his bike was riding amazingly well, with his Onyx hubs rolling better than any he’d ridden on before. With more track time on an awesome bike and track he’s more comfortable with he’s determined to come back stronger for Birmingham.
Rhys Wood. Superclass
After a massive crash on the third straight pro at the first round of the winter series, which kept Rhys off of his bike for over a month, he came into the weekend slightly apprehensively, which is understandable. The main aim for Rhys was not results, it was to regain confidence on a track that takes no prisoners. He managed a respectable 9th overall on the Saturday, coming 4th, 3rd and 5th in his motos. Sunday Rhys came 10th overall, but managed to pull a 2nd in one of his motos. Our ginger ninja really started to get his gates and first straight dialled in, and came out of the weekend injury/crash free, gaining confidence with every race., so from a team orders point of view it was mission well and truly accomplished.
With so many races at the weekend I asked Billy what went down in Manchester, so here it is straight from the horses mouth!
So the 2016 season is on! Super excited to get going. I felt I had really been pushing myself through the winter lifting some good weights and lots of track time. I chose to race the uci points race and the 16+ open race as they were the only races on the SX side of Manchester and as I’m hoping to race most of the SX rounds this year figured that would be best for me. Practise went well and I was feeling good on my turn3 frame and really smooth with my onyx hubs. Took a bit of warming up in the motos , struggling out of the gate considering how good I felt in practise. I qualified in to the quarters with a 4th 5th and a 3rd. Stoked at making it to the quarter with such low results I knew I had to work extra hard to make it through again. I got on to 6 next to Curtis Manaton feeling fairly confident I could come out with him and follow him over. Had my best gate of the night and came out well with the rest of the riders but with the first turn being as big as it is I was stuck on the outside of everyone. It was probably my best lap of the night but it just wasn’t enough to get that top 4. So feeling disappointed with myself, I packed up and started to focus on the next morning. Sunday morning took most of us by surprise. I don’t think there was many of us that have ever raced on the big hill that early in the morning. I’m quite a morning person so I was actually feeling pretty good and awake. With having a chat with my “head coach” if you like. He got me in the zone and full of aggression. Motos went pretty well and I qualified 17th going in to the quarters. Due to higher numbers that morning we had 8 person quarters and I was feeling good. I was in lane 6 again and had a great start. Something I’m not to used to, so as I was pedalling done the hill I was in contact with both riders either side of me. I was adamant not to let them past in doing so I lost concentration on my pedals and I pedalled through the transition of the hill. If you’ve ever seen videos of when that happens you’ll know that it almost never ends well. I managed to save it but came up well short on the first jump and blew a pedal. That was it my weekend was over.