All content © Bob MuIIins
Jacko on the Edge
After a great winter, the typical British winter weather graced us at the weekend - which was rather unfortunate considering the stunning surroundings we were in. Leighton Hall near Carnforth hosted Round 2 of Edge Offroad's Protect My Income Championship; set in over 2000 acres of a mixture of grassland and woodland, it was obvious how much effort to secure the venue, and the set up of the whole weekend had taken.
The course for the kids was just over 3 miles long, set in the Parkland, whilst the Adults were treated to just short of a 7.5 mile loop, extending out of the parkland into two massive technical and open woodlands. The Play Day was cancelled to preserve the parking for Sunday due to the amount of rain that came down Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. This was clearly a good call by the Event Director Sonya Jarvis first thing as it gave the land time to dry out again in the bright sunshine and light breeze all day Saturday.
Sunday morning the team could have woken to anything as all the Weather App's were different and all were wrong! But it started as a clear day until just before the Youth race got underway, and they experienced Four Seasons in an hour and a half! The grit of these little ones is unbelievable - some of the Adults couldn't even manage what the Auto's were doing! Yes a few DNF'd but only because they'd got so cold, not because they didn't love it! These little lads and lassies really did dig deep! They started at 9am and off they went, the conditions really were proper Enduro going - but the likes of Youth A riders CarCredit365 rider Brandon Burns and Edge team rider Alex Leadbetter, they really were in a class of their own, these two lads have huge potential, and looked truly amazing railing it around the track! In the end Brandon got the better of Alex by nearly five minutes, but it was a mega race! Cameron Baker Haste took the last spot on the podium just missing out on an extra lap by 27 seconds!
In the Youth B class Hayden Stansfield had an outstanding ride, carrying on his winning streak from Round 1 nearly a full lap in front of Alfie Marsden in second, and Ailbe Oconnell had a storming ride grabbing third spot, his first season on the bigger bike having only just moved up from the Juniors! Young Connor Gulbrandsen was the only rider in the Junior class, but completed a fantastic four laps on his little KTM65, but was reluctant to do another lap so waited for the flag! In the Auto class, Riley Freeman also carried on his winning streak, this little lad managed to so a whole three laps on his little 50, with Jacob Bragg desperate for a trophy he made sure he dug deep and finished only a few minutes behind first place with Ryan Freeman Junior taking the last spot on the podium but completing two laps; this really was an achievement for these little Auto's, all these lads and lasses are a credit to their parents!
The Adult race was delayed due to day entries and obviously getting the Kids race finished. But as usual when these lads and lasses go to the line, it seems to stop raining? Though there was a bitterly cold wind, it was important these guys understood the lays of the land, and respected the limestone base - this was going to the a case of trail riding in places and not racing! The slippery parkland caught a number of riders out, but the woodlands certainly kept them on their toes, and it really was an awesome lap of a great mixture of terrain!
With a good line up of Premier riders, which was really great to see and so good of them to support Edge - it was always going to be good to see who came out on the top step! With a great battle all race between the top three, we knew it would come down to the wire! Eurotek rider Joe Deakin having still not recovered from an underlying illness was out of contention, Leisure Trail rider Josh Bailey had to have a minute in the woods due to having a spillage, Max Ditchfield wasn't on his best form in the tough conditions, John Battensby and Edge rider Luke Owen were close at the end of the day, Fast Eddy rider Harry Edmondson had to really ring the neck of his Husqvarna 125 but that didn't hold him back, he gave it his best shot and got a solid 4th! So it was down to double trouble from Tong Parkwood - Gav Houson and Will Hoare, and Fast Eddy rider Jack Edmondson! And what a battle these lads had! It's great to see everyone out there riding, but the skill level from these three lads was unreal! In the end Jack Eddy won by 47 seconds after Will's bike wasn't running well in the wet conditions, and Gav had to settle for third! Awesome racing lads! In the Expert class it was always going to be tight; youth or experience? In the end David Dudley had a fantastic ride out, managed to just get that extra lap in and finished 4 and a half minutes up on second place, Edge rider Dan Leadbetter who has come on already in leaps and bounds this year alone! And Ryan Hoare kept the trophies in the family by securing third place. In the massive Clubman class, again it was going to be a great battle with these proper hard enduro riders! Danny Calkin will only ride if he knows it's gonna be tough! And tough it was! He secured the top spot by nearly a minute from Jason Hirst in a solid second place, from Robert Allen in third.
Another strong line up in the Masters class, and we really didn't know who was going to come out smelling of roses in this one! At the end of the two hours it was Alex Owen on the top spot! With local gent Karl Greenall in second and Lee Stansfield taking a solid third place home! Moving onto the Sportsman class, Jae Jarvis had a great result taking the win nearly 4 minutes ahead of Isaac Archer in second place, which was also a solid race with a 6 minute lead over third place man Richard Sutcliffe. In the Sportsman Vet's class it was again going to be a toss up as to who was going to come out on top! But Phil Dodsworth wasn't going to give his Championship lead up without a fight, and he happily took the top spot by nearly two minutes from James Cooke-Thomas in second place, both these riders had a great result finishing a lap up on third place local rider Andrew Dodgson.
Again the Over 50 class is probably one of the most competitive classes, and never being a dead cert as to who will win! But Andrew Maben definitely put his stamp on the winners trophy, taking the top spot by nearly 3 minutes from local business man, D3 Bayfield KTM boss Neil Crayston - who only just got second place from Andy Dean in third place by just over a minute! Close racing here guys!
In the Ladies class, British Enduro rider and Edge supported, Kate Smith, took a fantastic win, completing two laps of the gruelling course, finishing just over 20 minutes up on Brook Johnson, who has had to put her health problems to one side for now, and is going to give the 2019 season a go!
Finally in the Novice class, in his second ever event, Chris Hirst managed to take the glory but didn't even know! He had a solid win over Jamie Dinsdale in second place and Peter Pierce also got his first ever podium taking third place home - again he thought he'd done so bad he went home without his trophy! A massive well done to all the riders that started the event, it was tough conditions, but as we always say, if you can ride in those conditions, you can ride anything! Others need to just take up knitting!!
A big thank you goes out to all the marshals, staff, catering, photographers, film crews, timing/lap scoring, riders, families and friends! A fantastic, and well thought out lap was put on by the Crew, and I'm sure we'd all like to thank the family and residents at Leighton Hall for letting us partake in something we love doing at such a spectacular venue!