All content © Bob MuIIins
BIKE INDUSTRIES SUCKER PUNCH EXTREME ENDURO
Steve Ireland and his WOR team delivered the best Sucker Punch to date in the events 6-year history as Owain Humphreys went on to grab his 3rd Golden Glove (That's the coveted prize - a gold boxing glove in a glass case) in 6 years. The event has had a good history for it's short life with a few changes in format over the years .. Johnny Walker won the first one in 2013 but was disqualified for missing a checkpoint, that allowed Ben Hemmingway the win, Then it was back to back wins for Owain Humphreys in 2014/15 followed by Keelan Hancock in 2016, David Knight in 2017 and then Humphreys again this latest one. The format is now at it's best, 4.5hrs is the run time, the lap is 11 miles in length ..6 laps is a Gold, 5 laps is a silver and 4 laps is a Bronze ..2/3 laps get a finishers award.. It really works. The severity of the course is set perfectly as the results show, with the riders in their respective classes completing just what they should. Steve Ireland has the mix of difficultly and achievable Extreme Enduro riding just about perfect with 99% of the riders coming over the line singing the events praises. In the current climate of some Extreme Enduro's simply becoming too hard for the main bulk of the riders, The WOR Events gang have it spot on for rider enjoyment and challenges with this years course including lots of demanding new sections that where previously untouched by any motor bikes or the like and headed off into deep brash, log strewn, technical stretches of course where 5 mph would be called going fast, this was complimented by fast fire road sections and lots of lots of well thought out natural forest challenges.. resulting in a lap time of around 40 minutes per lap for the fastest rider and indeed 2 hrs a lap for some others.
Bike Industries, the clothing and merchandise specialist from the world of BSB and the like was the headline event sponsor and partner and they provided every rider with a superb riding Bib and a lovely warm Branded Bobble hat. The Sunshine on this first official day of winter was beautiful and the blue sky just added to the superb atmosphere that was amongst the riders as they were milling around and getting ready for the 10am sharp, start time.
The Start area was Brand new for edition 6 of the "Punch" and the Race Boss had the riders starting on a straight stretch of fire road ..Heading direct across it into a ditch followed by a small climb and then a mass of chopped branches and logs strewn across the tight trail for good measure. Not only was this a brilliant spectacle for the start, it also rewarded the rider for a neat and clever get away and spread out the riders nicely for the lap and challenges that lay ahead.
Owain Humphreys as mentioned took the overall win, He was in control of the event from the end of lap one till the end of lap 6. A total ride time of 3hrs and 53 minutes was his time that set the standard for the rest to chase. 7 minutes behind Humphreys was the super smooth and neat riding of Runner Up, Pro Rider, Gav Houson. Houson completing 6 laps for a Gold as did only 2 other riders. Those being, Gary Jenkins as the winner of the Experts and 3rd Overall with 3rd placed Pro Rider, Charlie Frost taking 4th overall. Frost was indeed the early lap leader but a few mistakes and then a stick going through the bike and derailing his chain causing Frost to lose a substantial amount of time and ruining any chances of the win.
Only 7 riders in total scored 5 laps and a Silver finish, again this just shows how the organisers had the event schedule and difficulty level set to perfection. Top rider on 5 laps was Expert Runner Up, Jack Barwick, making the long trip from Essex well worthwhile as he managed to fend off The Isle Of Man rider, Grant Thomson, Expert rd place, (also on a 5 lap silver) by 4 minutes as the clock stood for their previous laps. Both riders did indeed score 6 laps but the 6th was not counted as they timed out for it albeit by only minutes.
Three Clubman riders achieved the Silver status with 5 laps to their credit, maybe riding in the Expert class would have been more suitable for those as they all cracked the Top 10 overall with Liam Owens, Richard Hawes and Craig Thompson finishing in that order respectively in class and 7th, 9th and 10th Overall. Well done those guys on a superb performance.
Connor Bolsover and Jason Mcbeth where the only other 2 riders to get the Silver, 5 laps status and they where in the Expert Class in 8th and 11th place overall.
Top Expert Vet was Richard Baxter with Jeremy Mold and Darren Skillin in 2nd and 3rd spot, All on 4 laps with a Bronze finish.
Darren Heyes was top Over 40 rider followed home by Paul Jefferson and Carl Harmston in 2nd and 3rd place respectively and again all 3 riders on 4 laps each and a Bronze Overall placing.
Richard Lewis topped the Over 50 group with Lewis Davis and Lee Sephton following in that order. Richard was the only rider to do 4 laps though and indeed get scored in the Bronze finishers.
The Top 7 Sportsman all completed 4 laps and achieved a superb and hard-earned Bronze finish. The top rider Aden Overend going well and gaining a 4-minute winning advantage over Runner Up, Josh Terry with Adam Bates a further 16 minutes adrift on his new GasGas 300.
In the Novice group, Fred Bailey was top man from Steve Horgan and Rory Jones all 3 finishing on 3 laps each.
To round this event up is easy, It was superb, the course was superb, the
weather was superb, the standard of riding was superb, the organisation was
superb, the riders looked superb in their Bike Industry Bibs and all the boxes
where ticked from all involved with the event.
Steve Ireland and his WOR Team would like to send out as always, a very warm thank you and show of appreciation to the riders and supporters of the events without whom they simply could not happen. The staff, sponsors, medics, caterers and land owners also receive a massive thanks from the team.
It all kicks off again for WOR this weekend with a return to the superb forest for the start of the Wulfsport Winter Enduro series and the Saturday Enduro fun playday.
Full details at www.worevents.com