All content © Bob MuIIins
2018 Rock Oil Championship
RAW Enduro saved the best until last for their final Rock Oil Championship Enduro of the 2018 season. Hapton in Lancashire saw its first ever enduro event go off in fine style on a track which was simply awesome to ride. Fast Open Grassland, woodland trails, stream crossings, and fell side sheep tracks made up the entire 5-mile lap.
Cristina Palmer made the trip down from Scotland worthwhile as she blitzed the Youth B small wheel class and placed third overall from the 27 Youth rider strong field. Hayden Stansfield loved the fast flowing track-taking runner up place, whilst Bert Boam did just enough in third to take the Youth B Championship in his first year as an official RAW Team Rider.
With the Youth A Championship already his, William Cawte won the Youth A to finish his outstanding season on a high. Ashton Jones was the star of the day clocking 9 laps on his 50cc Auto, Jack Houghton placed runner up to end his season well.
With the full adult lap now open, a packed morning adult race was flagged away. A first row first corner crash saw Sportsman Elite rider James Cooke Thomas hit the dirt to end his day before it started with a retirement. Phil Dodsworth won the class in fine style on his FE250 Husky. Scott Hipwell had a nightmare start almost dead last sportsman away, after having a word with himself he showed real determination to win the class from last to first. Anthony Turner saved his best result until the last race taking a brilliant runner up spot. As the fell side section of the track started to cut up riders started to make mistakes, Stuart Mowbray kept out of harms way to win the Sportsman Vets class. An Absence from racing of almost two years didnít to stop Joe Wheeler having a great fun day out enjoying his P2 result on home soil. The Over 50 class saw some old faces going head to head. At the Flag old school enduro fan Gary Parr ran out winner from D3 KTM boss Neil Crayston. Local builder Ian Hayworth made a welcome return to RAW and loved his day blasting around the Hapton hills on his KTM. 2019 Over 50 Champion Andy Kirby placed forth on the day to finish his very best season on a high. With Simon Collins already runaway points winner in the Novice class, Jake Whittle was the man at the head of the class taking a slender win from newcomer Max Varty. Mark Houghton enjoyed his day taking home the final podium place on the day. The Nail Varnish and pigtails Ladies class saw Simone Wallis on a mission taking the win and the championship. Sarah Thomas is one gritty lass, having to dig deep to stay on the lead lap after a long time not being able to ride. Abbie Piggott had a tough day in the office with a wrong tyre choice, not one to give up she made the best of a bad day and in doing so took runner up in the Championship. Watch out Men these three ladies are moving up next year for more of a challenge!
Jack Spencer was the top Expert rider at Hapton, out on his new Beta 300 he won the class one lap up from Chris Hughes and Nathan Ball in third. Mark Vardy enjoyed his final championship race; just needing a handful of points to secure the Expert Championship Young Vardy got the job done. Some achievement considering Vardy had both Knees reconstructed less that 1 year ago. Brad Lilburnís late season form saw the lad from Nottinghamshire making a late charge for the Expert title. Placing runner up in the Championship ended a great trouble free season for Lilburn. Oliver Allbones made his first season as an Expert rider a decision well justified taking third place in the Championship, and definitely the fastest Starter of the year!! RAW Newcomer Matt Stuttard surprised the regular clubman as he took a fine clubman class win back home down the M65 for his efforts. 2019 Clubman Championship winner Joe Townsend had a nightmare day, getting stuck out on track then crashing breaking his clutch lever was a less than the perfect final race. Having been a RAW Team rider all year, Towny listened to mid race advice from team boss Wayne Braybrook to simply consolidate and bring his Husky home for points. Not wanting to let Townsend off the hook at the final race Tommy Grimmer pushed super hard to take the win and take runner up in the Clubman Championship. In Perhaps his best ever season to date, old war horse Neil Marshal took a very well deserved third place in the Rock Oil Championship for his season long efforts. Against the Younger riders on a mission Neil used his experience to place very respectful P6 at the final race. Gas Gas UK importer John Shirt Impressed many with his Elite Vets win and fifth overall at Hapton. John Bradford was runner up, with Neil Croston in third. Mark Raynor secured the Elite Vets title, Paul McSorley ran out runner up in the Championship, one slender point ahead of John Bradford who missed a couple of races early on in the year.
To Sum up, once again the RAW Enduro Rock Oil Championship has delivered some of the closest, most competitive racing in the North of England. Those who ride RAW know the level is high and the competition is fierce. 3 Brand New Venues were the welcome edition to the Championship this year, All three new venues are already confirmed for 2019 sole RAW Enduro use. Well done to each and every participant for a great season.
2019 Sees a shake up at RAW with a new 8 Round affordable Rock Oil Championship, plus a 4 Round RAW Challenge Series and three Extreme events. Add in Play Days at all race weekends, the RAW Enduro training academy, and itís clear there is something for all riders at RAW Enduro.
See you all in 2019.