A last minute change of venue saw Cotswold Enduro Club return to Wymeswold for what turned out to be a fast and furious finish to the season for the final rounds of the Club Championship and the AMCA Rock Oil H&H Championship.
With Haresfield saturated Pete Carter turned to his ace all-weather option, Wymeswold MX track, where the hard-packed surface can handle almost anything the weather can throw at it although there was plenty of field work added in for good measure and the centre areas of the track were fully utilised. The changes in track surface caught out a few riders but the more experienced Wymeswold regulars dealt with the grass to hardpack to mud and then plastic pipes with ease.
Although the day started under an overcast sky the sun broke through around lunchtime and the course quickened as it dried throughout the three hours of racing. The MX track was in good shape and allowed the faster riders to make full use of its many features and although there are quite a few unusual challenges at Wymeswold, most riders were old hands and traffic never became a problem on the tight pipes and tunnels.
The hard-core Cotswold riders turned out in great numbers to support this final event of the season. The usual ‘lunatic fringe’ of riders was at the front, battling as if their lives depended on it and there was £10,000 prize money at stake.
Championship rider Matt Porter was in his element around the large MX track but Tony Griffiths, Hayden Maller and Kev Freeman all pushed him hard at times although Porter turned up the gas and eventually cruised to a significant victory, winning by over 4 minutes clear of second placed Griffiths. Porter on his Honda was joined on the Pro Championship podium by Hayden Maller and Ade Deeley, Deeley making a rare outing these days but proving he still has what it takes and seeming to have mastered the big black pipe at last, getting through unscathed and with some style rather than being spat out at the end.
In the Expert ranks Tony Griffiths, second overall following a fairly brief ride to get up near the front and, with no deep pools to lose a wheel in, had a clear four minutes over David Wathen in second spot, both on 14 laps, while Brendan Griffiths grabbed third in class.
The Veterans 40+ class usually has a strict pecking order, generally headed by Martin Jakeman but this time around Kev Freeman finally came good and grabbed top spot with Jakeman demoted to second and Carl Harmstone third in one of the biggest classes of the event. Roger Billam held on to his Veterans 50+ crown despite feeling the pressure from Rob Maller and usual rival Roger Griffiths early on.
Jason Billam kept the family name at the forefront by winning the Clubman 2T class ahead of Mark Birchall who was just over a minute behind while Lee Majewski trailed home in third place. Richard Wozencroft had an easier ride in the Clubman 4T ranks, taking the win by over two minutes from Sam Keen, both riders a lap ahead of third placed Ashley Maller.
The Bronkaerts/Adams battle continued in the Classic (Pre 86) class with Alex Bronkaerts in the clear as Jerry Adams disappeared after just 5 laps.
The Sportsman Novice ranks are always large and usually unpredictable but Josh Brown was a clear winner on 13 laps, the only Sportsman to achieve this, while James Poulter and Simon Cheneler tussled for second and third places.
Veteran rider Ian Jones plugged away in the Trail class and was rewarded with a win over John Dove, both on 8 laps but separated by nearly 7 minutes.
Cotswold Enduro Club has enjoyed another super competitive year, its numerous top quality venues definitely contribute to this. A mixture of courses, well laid out by Pete Carter and his trusty crew, keep the faithful coming back for more, knowing they can always expect a top quality course designed to make for excellent racing and also, great spectating.
A rest is now in order for the Cotswold Crew before the annual presentation evening on January 17th. It’s a while away yet but will give Wendy Carter plenty of time to polish the trophies.
Perfect weather conditions combined with a superb course greeted nearly 150 riders on Sunday for Cotswold Enduro Clubs sixth round of the AMCA/Rock Oil Hare & Hounds championship combined with the CEC Club Championship at Rockfield near Monmouth.
The course was huge, taking in several gently rolling field sections interspersed with small technical woodlands and, initially, a lengthy ravine section along a stream-bed. The stream section was testing and Pete Carter had made plans in case it had to be cut, which it was after a handful of laps. The first few laps saw only a few riders caught out but as the fast guys caught up with the slower riders a few more log jams occurred and the section was eventually bypassed, but it was good while it lasted. The rest of the course was open and free-flowing with a handful of small woodlands, which saw the course weave its way through and out onto open fields once again.
The start straight lead into a tight right-hander, which required full concentration from riders as the whole area was covered with grass which was still slightly damp from overnight dew. Virtually every rider followed Pete Carters advice and approached with care but still tried hard for a good position before hitting the field sections.
Tony Griffiths hit the front first as the Pro and Expert riders left the start line, putting in a determined effort to keep Championship rider Matt Porter at bay but Porter had the lead by the end of the first lap, followed by Derek Bawn on his new Husqvarna. Bawn was determined not to let Porter out of his sights and the pair circulated at speed throughout the three-hour race. Porter had to refuel just before the halfway point and Bawn seized his chance, taking the lead then spending an hour and a half fending off a renewed challenge from Porter. The gap grew then shrunk lap after lap until Bawn put in the fastest lap of the day and pulled a gap that he eventually stretched out to nearly two minutes as he took the win with Porter second in class and Rob Breakwell third, some seven minutes adrift of the leading pair.
Tony Griffiths built on his excellent start to maintain third place overall throughout the race and take the Expert class win in the process. The two Boam brothers, Matt and Dan, chased Griffiths hard, as did Brendan Griffith initially until he boiled his brakes and dropped down the pecking order. Matt Boam was four minutes behind Griffiths as he took second in class while brother Dan was a further six minutes down in third place.
Keith Jenkins was on fire in the Vets 40+ class. He finished fourth overall, quite an accomplishment considering the strength of the field, and won his class by nearly a clear lap over second placed Kev Freeman, who managed to fend off a last minute challenge by third placed Martin Jakeman with Jakeman missing second place by just two seconds.
Dave Selkeld was on top form in the vets 50+ class, forgetting he was over 50 and beating all 40+ veterans apart from Jenkins. He finished inside the top ten and won his class by a lap over Nick Selwyn and Roger Griffiths who both put in some impressive lap times but could not match Selkie.
Combined into the event was a special award for the top Clubman 4T rider; The Emlyn Prole memorial Trophy. This year’s recipient was Nathan Newman who rode exceptionally well to keep James Lockett at bay. Lockett was looking for the win but spent minutes getting out of the ravine section at one point, losing his chance in the process and taking second in class behind Newman. Neil Sweeney was a lap down on the leading pair but took a creditable third place just over a minute ahead of Slawomir Zeleski in fourth.
Lloyd Cross and Jason Billam both contested the Clubman 2T class as if their lives depended on it. Cross eventually came out on top with Billam second and Lee Majewski third in a very competitive class of riders.
Craig Hawkins’ win in the Sportsman/Novice class was impressive. Finishing five minutes clear of his closest rival, Alex Ward, Hawkins rode hard and fast throughout the race and bettered many more experienced riders on his way to victory. Ward took second with Anthony Kirkby in third out of a huge class of Sportsman and Novice riders.
Jerry Adams and Alex Bronkaerts contested the Classic (Pre 86) class with Adams taking the win by five minutes from Bronkaerts. Ian Jones was the sole entrant in the Trail class and once again rode for the full duration of the race and completed the course five times while Catherine Smith topped the ladies class with seven laps to her credit.
Cotswold Enduro Club put on some great events but this has to be one of the best of the season so far. A fantastic course, which could have accommodated double the 150 riders in attendance, Pete Carter and his team certainly know how to put on a show.
Enduro Club at Selattyn
A monster of a course awaited riders at Cotswold Enduro Clubs meeting on Sunday for the Club Championship, Rock Oil H&H and Slow Pete combined event.
Incorporating over a mile of the H2O MX track plus a further 3.7 miles of open going, quarries, dark woodland and a huge hill to rival Hawkstone Park, the course was the toughest of the year for nearly 120 riders.
The MX track alone was quite a challenge, set on one side of a valley with shale covered ground and tons of small rocks, weaving up and down huge hills with one of the longest uphill drags in the country and several man-sized jumps the MX riders at the event were in their element but that only made up one fifth of the course.
Leaving the MX track the course wended its way across boggy ground, along small ditches and down into a small rock quarry before hitting a very steep climb with two routes: hard and extremely hard. Thick forest followed and riders with headlights certainly benefited although the CEC crew had painted markers through the trees with luminous yellow paint and left a trail of breadcrumbs for riders to follow. Another steep, wooded descent led riders to the valley at the bottom of the MX track for a twisty section back through the trees before the relief of open going at the start of the MX section.
It was tough, the toughest venue of the season so far for most CEC riders but not for Championship class rider Matt Porter who rode hard to take the win despite being under pressure from Expert rider Tony Griffiths and fellow Championship rider Hayden Maller, who took second and third overall. Only Ben Adams matched them on laps, the average lap time for the fast guys was around the 13-minute mark, and he took third place in the Championship class.
Griffiths took the Expert win by just under a clear lap and was followed home by James Plant and Luke Gorse who had less than a minute between them over the duration of the three hour race.
The Veteran 40+ contingent had a field day. The top twelve spots overall went to either Pro Championship riders, Experts or Veterans 40+ and experience certainly paid dividends around such an unforgiving course, Martin Jakeman led the Vets pack for all of the race. It was a close thing for Jakeman but he had enough of a gap to relax very slightly over the final lap although second in class Darren Bedford and Kev Freeman in third both finished within three and a half minutes of the class winner which was quite close over three hours of racing.
Roger Billam topped the Veterans 50+ ranks, nearly a lap clear of second placed Glenn Coltman and Roger Griffiths in third who finished with just a minute and a half between them.
Lee Majewski took the top position in the Clubman 2T class but he was pressured all the way to the finish flag by Mark Birchall who was just six second adrift of the leader as the race ended. Dan Edwards completed the top three.
Andy Jervis was head and shoulders clear in the Clubman 4T class with 12 laps to his credit as Neil Sweeney put in 11 laps for second place, finishing eight minutes ahead of Graham Ayliff in third.
The huge Sportsman/Novice class saw just the top three riders post 12 laps with a spread of five minutes separating the three at the end of the race. Dale Phillips took the number one spot followed by Josh Brown and James Poulter in second and third.
A lonely Emily Davey won the Womens class as Jerry Adams was victorious in the Classic (Pre 86) class with Alex Bronkaerts in second place. Eric Shaw beat Ian Jones to the finish line to win the Trail class, both riders on seven laps.
Selattyn is visited just once a year by Cotswold Enduro Club and it is easy to see why. The course is big and very tough, on both bikes and riders but last Sunday the weather was fairly kind which made the going slightly easier, if rain had persisted it would have been close to an extreme course.
Another great event from Cotswold Enduro Club. Well done. Results
Ashby Moto Park played host to the fifth round of Cotswold Enduro Club’s Slow Pete Series, over the weekend. The series is designed for Clubman, Sportsman, Novice and Veteran riders with not a pro or Expert in sight.
Considering that there were no Pros or Experts present the entry was impressive. The popular Ashby venue attracted over 90 riders to test their skills over the MX course, extreme sections and through two sets of woodland. Pete Carter and his crew designed a lap which took most riders around 11 minutes to complete although there was one exception; Clubman 2T rider Kirk Giles who was the only rider to break the sub-10 minute barrier.
The inclusion of the extreme section came as a surprise to many riders and a handful did try the logs, rocks, tubes and large tyres but generally most riders opted for the safer line around the edge of each obstacle. With the venue enjoying brilliant sunshine it was also a surprise to see many riders covered in mud by the end of the first lap. Most of the open part of the course was bone dry but the lower woodland section remained wet in places and gave riders a course of two halves to contend with.
The Slow Pete Series is usually dominated by the Veteran class riders but last Sunday Giles had other ideas and powered into the lead from the end of the first lap. Starting on the front row of the grid gave him a considerable advantage over the chasing pack of Veterans who tore through the field to hunt down the fast Clubman rider but they could not catch him. He put in a lap of 9.49, 20-seconds faster than his closest rival, to keep his lead and take a well deserved win. Jason Billam closed the gap on Giles in the Clubman 2T ranks to take second in class but two Veterans managed to squeeze between the leader and fourth placed Billam. Tom Collett took third in the 2T’s and sixth overall.
Veteran 40+ rider Darren Bedford got to within a minute of Giles and took the Veterans 40+ class win along with second place overall while fellow Veteran Kev Freeman rode hard to grab second in class and third overall. Rob Sewell took third in the 40+ class.
The Clubman 4T group was a close run affair between Andrew Pulfrey, Lee Parry and Slawomir Zeleski with the pairing of Pulfrey and Parry tussling for class domination for most of the race. Pulfrey took the win followed by Parry some 32-seconds later with Zeleski a couple of minutes down in third place.
Brendan Griffiths was the sole entrant in the Clubman Plus class and he finished in ninth overall following a hard race against determined opposition. Jerry Adams took the Classic class win as Emily Davey won the Ladies class although her recent Romaniacs trip had taken its toll and she finished well down the ranks.
The Sportsman/Novice class is always very well attended with over a third of the total riders in this class. It is also very competitive so Josh Brown had an excellent result by taking the class win and posting an extra lap over second placed Tim Woodhouse who narrow beat third placed Chris Moore to the finish flag.
The Veterans 50+ riders are a breed on their own. Still extremely competitive and equally talented there is always a close-knit bunch vying for victory. The two Rogers were once again first and second in class. Roger Griffiths took the win by 19 seconds from Roger Billam in second spot as Chris Gorse completed the top three in this class, all on 10 laps.
Ian Jones and Eric Shaw were the usual suspects in the trail class with Jones taking the win once again. These pair may not be the fastest or have the latest machinery by both riders deserve recognition for their continued efforts and refusal to quit, always finishing each race they enter.
The extreme section, combined with the slippery woodlands made for a very interesting race over the two hours duration but as usual with Cotswold Enduro Club venues, the crew had put plenty of thought into the course and gave every rider a choice of options at each and every section.
Well done Cotswold Enduro Club.
The peaceful valleys around Llansilin, North Wales, echoed with the sound of engines bouncing off their rev limiters and tyres screaming for grip on one small, tough section of Cotswold Enduro Club’s event at the weekend. The streambed was nearly a mile in length, climbing uphill with wet rocks and shale at the bottom part where riders entered the section. Going off-line meant sinking into saturated ground but a few tried it, just once. Watching some of the faster guys struggle was entertaining but watching one of the Trail riders ride up without stopping, in third gear, feet up and steady as a rock was in sharp contrast to the rev and go brigade.
The Llansilin venue rivals any of the Cotswold EC venues, set in the rolling hills west of Oswestry, the setting provided a 5.5 mile course packed with everything a rider could want; off cambers, streambeds, monster climbs and drops plus fast and open going in the most picturesque setting imaginable. The course ran across grass, dry dirt tracks, boggy sections, rocks, streambeds and flattened ferns making it the most challenging of the season so far for Cotswold riders.
Three Championships were running simultaneously; The AMCA/Rock Oil, Slow Pete and the Cotswold Club Championship so it is little wonder that the event was so well attended.
Matt Porter blasted off the start line and simply disappeared into the distance at the head of the Pro Championship class, riding fast and smooth across everything in his path, taking the win at the end of three tough hours. Hayden Maller also rode a lonely race, matching Porter lap for lap but keeping Sam Hoskins a safe distance behind him. The Expert class was much closer but David Wathen had a comfortable minute and a half over James Plant with Tony Griffiths in third, a lap down on the leading pair.
Rob Clark had an excellent outing in the Clubman 2T class, finishing fifth overall with some very experienced riders ahead of him, beating every Expert class rider. Winning by a clear lap Clark was followed home by Mark Birchall and Matt Ellis. The Clubman 4Ts saw a three way battle between Richard Graham, Gavin Grove and Slawomir Zeleski, with the three finishing in that order.
Martin Jakeman and Kev Freeman finished third and fourth overall and topped the Veterans Over 40 class with Andrew Keyte taking third. Roger Billam was again top of the Veterans Over 50 class with Neal Wailing and Rob Murfin finishing in his wake.
Eric Shaw nailed the Trail class win ahead of Ian Jones while Alex Bronkaerts won the Classic class in fine style.
This was a huge course with plenty of challenges, made tougher by the three-hour duration of the race. Sunshine throughout the event made it hot work and riders circulated with just one thought in the minds; how far to the rocky streambed?
It was an excellent event, one of the best this year, partly due to the fact that Cotswold EC are the only club to use Llansilin and also the fact that it is used just once per year. The course was in great shape, which is more than can be said for many riders who reached the finish flag.
Well done Cotswold Enduro Club.
Long Compton is one of Cotswold Enduro Clubs favourite venues and the first visit this season saw plenty of changes to the usual layout. The weather over the last few months certainly helped the undergrowth considerably, so much so that CEC boss Pete Carter spent two days with a mowing machine cutting a new course around the venue.
Long Compton’s undulating layout makes for a technical course; there are few places to gather much speed but plenty of spots where too much speed will be the undoing of many riders. It is a ‘thinking mans’ course, mainly on grass, where control is everything, dotted with off-cambers, sudden drops and climbs, but nothing too testing if approached correctly.
The sun shone all day long but because the course was freshly cut there were few problems with dust but the heat did take its toll on a handful of riders and the pace in the lower ranks was considerably slower than usual.
The Slow Pete Series is designed for Veterans, Clubman, Novice and Sportsman riders. The new layout was not too difficult for the experienced Vet riders but the other classes needed to heed Pete Carter’s words of advice. Before the race began he told riders to take it easy initially and learn the course before racing in earnest.
Obviously, this was a complete waste of breath for the Veterans class who always go at it hammer and tongs from the moment the flag drops. They were first off the start line and Darren Bedford took to the front, followed closely by Martin Jakeman, Rob Sewell and Kev Freeman. The usual battle ensued between this pack of very experienced riders with Jakeman coming out on top, with a 30-second gap, followed by Bedford in second spot with Freeman taking third in the Vets 40+ class.
Roger Billam made the top ten overall and won in an ever expanding Veterans 50+ class by quite a considerable margin over second placed Roger Griffiths and Paul Freeman who took third in class.
Although the Vets usually dominate these events Rob Clark was pushing hard at the front of the competitive Clubman 2T class, getting up to third place overall by the end of the race and winning his class into the bargain ahead of Mark Birchall and Kirk Giles.
Richard Mills had a clear two-minute gap over Neil Sweeney in the Clubman 4T ranks with Tim Stoddart in third spot, all three riders on 10 laps. Zeb Rhodes took the win in the Clubman Plus class, although he was the only entrant.
James Poulter headed a very large Sportsman/Novice contingent. Nearly half the field of riders were in this class and although Poulter took a clear win the contest for second and third places was hard fought between Sean Flannigan and Josh Brown with Flannigan easing into a 20-second lead by the end of the race.
Ian Jones took yet another win in the Trail ranks, clocking up seven laps, five more than second placed Eric Shaw. Jerry Adams was the sole entrant in the Classic (Pre 86) class and he managed another good finish with no mechanical difficulties, for once.
It was a great day out in excellent weather. The new course threw up many new challenges and gave Long Compton yet another string to its bow, thanks to the hard work by Pete Cater and the Cotswold Enduro crew. Well done.
The majestic Shuckburgh Hall played host to the third visit of the year by Cotswold Enduro Club last Sunday. Round three of the Rock Oil Hare & Hounds Championship, and third round of the Club Championships, enjoyed dry and bright conditions although riders saw precious little of the sun when they were immersed in one of the estates many stands of woodland.
According to organiser Pete Carter, the layout was a relatively short run of three and a half miles but it seemed far longer to the riders. Much of the course was easily negotiated with choices of lines everywhere but a few sections were more technical and proved testing to some competitors. Dry going virtually everywhere with the odd sticky spots scattered around the loop made for easy going until the track polished up on a few corners, catching out many unwary riders.
Pro Championship rider Matt Porter made a headlong dash to the front as the start flag dropped and by the end of the first lap he had a considerable lead which allowed him to ride without pressure for the whole of the 3-hour race, eventually finishing a lap up on everyone as the chequered flag was waved. Jeremy Callow had a terrific ride to take second spot, fending off a strong challenge from third placed Ben Adams and pulling a growing gap as the race neared its conclusion.
Keith Jenkins was on home turf virtually, he lives just a couple of miles from the venue, a fact that really helped him on his way to fourth place overall and top Veterans Over 40 rider. He didn’t get out of bed until 9.30 for the 10.00am race start. A good start and continuous hard charging saw this wily Vet ease ahead of closest rivals Martin Jakeman and Kev Freeman who were second and third in class.
Tony Griffiths’ fifth overall landed him the Expert class win, just under a full lap clear of his competition as yet another of the Callow boys, Jamie, claimed a podium spot second in class ahead of third placed Noel Joyce. Mark Birchall’s 12th overall placed him as the top Clubman rider with every spot above him taken by a Pro, Veteran or Expert rider.
Birchill’s Clubman 2T class win was a real achievement amongst such tough opposition but he headed an equally competitive group of Clubman riders who made the most of the excellent conditions. Rob Clark persevered in the 2Ts and took second in class at the end of three hours with James Nicholls just under 20-seconds adrift in third.
Slawomir Zeleski took the honours in the Clubman 4T ranks with a fine ride that saw him finish with an extra lap over second placed Neil Sweeney who was fending off a strong challenge from Oliver John as the race ended.
Emily Davey had plenty of competition for once. She still won the Ladies class by an impressive margin as Hayley Riling grabbed the runner-up spot ahead of Catherine Smith in third. Wendy Ellis-Smith was going strong initially until an incident with a tree and another rider saw he sit out the remainder of the race in the pits with a bruised collar-bone, she did go out for one ‘casual’ lap to test how she felt but settled for riding her bike over the line as the race ended. A great effort from a great competitor.
Josh Brown really went to town in the Sportsman Novice class. He pushed hard throughout the race and was rewarded with the class win, finishing a lap clear of his fellow Sportsman riders. He thoroughly deserved the win. James Poulter took second, a minute clear of third placed Dan Griffiths.
Rob Murfin was top Veteran 50+ rider, tussling with Glenn Coltman throughout the race until the final stages saw him get a clear gap and accumulate nearly a minutes lead over second placed Coltman. Paul Freeman could match these two and he secured third in class following a very long three hours.
Classic class rider Jerry Adams once again managed to coax his aging KTM around the Shuckburgh venue with only a couple of stops for maintenance and mechanical issues, a good day out for this popular rider. Ian Jones was a lonely figure in the Trail class but finished the day with six laps to his credit.
Shuckburgh Hall again proved to be a top-quality venue. Despite two previous events at the hall, there was no sign of land wear or of the previous meetings. Thoughtful course planning by the Cotswold crew always makes for interesting and challenging courses suitable to the level of the event running there. The course was well maintained and always re-graded following each and every meeting at this fantastic venue.
Well Done CEC!
Shuckburgh Hall was once again the perfect setting for Cotswold Enduro Club’s Slow Pete event on Sunday May 4th.
A completely re-graded course, mainly in the woodland sections of the venue this time around, provided riders with a superb outing in sunny conditions. The course took in plenty of new sections and routes through the extensive woodland but where the previous events course was used or crossed, Darren Carter had made a terrific job of re-grading, not just scraping the surface but filling and packing soil into ruts and repairing many rooty woodland climbs into the bargain.
The course wasn’t all woodland, a few open sections gave riders a breather but when a small bridge collapsed over a ditch near one of the fishing pools, the course became slightly more difficult as one rider nearly went swimming.
40+ riders Martin Jakeman and Rob Sewell provided the entertainment at the head of the field with Jakeman eventually getting the better of Sewell as a packed field of over 160 riders enjoyed this magnificent venue. In reality there are three separate courses to choose from at Shuckburgh and the CEC crew laid out a lap, which was in excess of 10 minutes even for the fastest riders on the day.
With no Pro or Expert riders present, the Veterans dominated the event, filling seven of the top ten places overall. The entry from Veteran riders was astonishing. Over thirty 40+ vets and almost twenty 50+ made for a race where experience was always going to count heavily. With Jakeman and Sewell constantly switching places throughout the duration of the two-hour race, Jakeman definitely had the edge on the open going but Sewell seemed best in the more technical sections, which made for a very close contest. Although Kev Freeman initially held the lead he was soon tracked down and passed by the leading paid and eventually overtaken by Keith Jenkins who rode well but could not close the gap on the two leaders.
Unusually, Roger Billam finished outside the overall top ten, winning the Veterans Over 50 class by seconds from Glenn Coltman as Paul Freeman took third spot, a battle that was as close as the Over 40 riders but slightly overshadowed by them.
Brendan Griffiths grabbed eighth overall and the top Clubman Plus spot ahead of Mark Hickinbotham and Michael Dolling as Danny Clarke rode to victory in the Clubman 2T class, just beating Tom Collett and Michael Windsor to the finish line. Broderick Whitmore-Wilson grabbed the Clubman 4T win ahead of Rob Latham and Slawomir Zeleski in a battle that fluctuated back and forth throughout the race.
Craig Szczypuk had a terrific outing in the Sportsman Novice ranks, finishing 11th overall and beating his nearest rival by 24 places overall, a ten-minute gap. Josh Brown took second in class just two seconds ahead of third placed James Collett although there was a queue to finish and times between riders may be slightly distorted.
With just two riders entered into the Pre-86 class both were assured of a podium finish. Jerry Adams got the better of Alex Bronkaerts although there were several other older bikes on display at the start but these riders obviously chose to tackle different classes.
Emily Davey again topped the ladies class as Hayley Rilings grabbed second place. Livvy Tuddhope pushed hard to take third spot on her first outing for many months.
Ian Jones, Eric Shaw and Brian Costelow matched each other lap for lap in the Trail bike class, finishing in that order. All three did well, some of the woodland sections were quite tricky for trail bikes.
The difficulty for the CEC crew at Shuckburgh Hall is deciding just which bits to use, they really are spoiled for choice there is so much land to pick from.
Once again the course was in perfect condition and thoughtfully laid out to suit the nature of the event, although the way the Over 40’s attacked every metre of it you would have though it was a Pro event. Well done CEC
Seeing over 150 bikes tearing around the grounds of Shuckburgh Hall seems wrong. Lord Shuckburgh's country estate is beautiful with its rolling hills, woodland and deer park but Lord Shuckburgh is an enthusiastic supporter of Cotswold Enduro Club's Hare and Hounds events and never misses a chance to mix with the riders and get his quad out to visit sections of the course during events.
The venue was as impressive as ever. The huge amount of available land, taking in three separate woodlands with flowing grassland field section in between allowed Pete Carter and the Cotswold Enduro crew to set out a huge 15-minute lap which was fast and flowing but was also full of technical sections which got increasingly harder as the race progressed.
Pro Championship rider Brad Freeman got the worst possible start to the event as he struggled to fire up his bike as the start flag dropped. Ex-AMCA Championship rider Matt Porter made the most of Freeman's misfortune and pulled a healthy lead but Freeman quickly recovered and tracked down leader Porter, passing him to pull a healthy half lap lead and take the win at the end of the three-hour race. Jeremy Callow held a solid third in class for most of the race and battled constantly with Expert rider Matt Boam who took third overall and won the Experts by nearly five minutes clear. These four riders all clocked up an impressive 12 laps each around the huge course which was very good going indeed.
Tony Griffith took second in the Experts behind winner Boam while Brendan Griffiths took third. Andrew Keyte and Kev Freeman vied for top honours in the Veterans 40+ class with Keyte taking the win, Freeman second and Carl Harmstone third. Glenn Coltman won the Veterans 50+ class followed by Roger Billam and David Smailes.
In the Clubman ranks Alex Smailes was top dog in the 2T class, finishing just over a minute ahead of James Nicholls and Tom Collett while Noel Joyce topped the 4T class ahead of Josh Buckley and Rob Latham.
As always, Shuckburgh Hall attracted a large Sportsman and Novice contingent. Best of these was Scott Booth who won the class by just 15 seconds ahead of Dan Griffiths as Josh Brown took third place.
Alex Bronkaerts managed seven laps on his pre 86 Husqvarna to win the class as its sole entrant while Emily Davey was outstanding in the Ladies class, taking the win ahead of Wendy Ellis-Smith and Ruth Graham. Ian Jones grabbed the Trail class win ahead of Brian Costelow.
With the next Cotswold event scheduled for May 4th, back at Shuckburgh Hall, anyone who has ridden there will know that there is enough room to lay out a completely different course on the huge amount of land available. This is one venue that everyone should try, at least once, but once tried riders are hooked. It really is fantastic and the fact that off-road bikes are allowed on the land is even more fantastic. Country pile in the background, G&T's on the lawn on Saturday evening watching the deer, what more could anyone ask for?
Matt Porter posted an impressive win at Cotswold Enduro Club's opening event of the season. Due to delays caused by bad weather, all three Cotswold series events; the Rock Oil Hare & Hounds Championship, CEC Club Championship and the Slow Pete Series, were combined in an effort to get back on schedule.
The Haresfield venue was in perfect condition as riders left the start line but within minutes a heavy hail shower made parts of the course challenging to many novice riders. By the mid point of the race the ground was back to perfect and racing really started in earnest for many riders. Rolling field sections dotted with small woodland, plenty of off cambers and a few boggy bits gave riders quite a variety of terrain and conditions.
Porter had no problems whatsoever with the initial slippery conditions, building a huge lead by the end of the first six-mile lap, and continued to stretch the gap as the three-hour race continued with only Dan Price managing to match him on laps. Porter took the Premiere win while Price grabbed the Pro Championship class ahead of Hayden Maller and James Berrill with Ben Adams in fourth and a disconsolate Ben Swambo in fifth following a long walk from the far side of the lap to get petrol.
Luke Gorse rode really well to secure the Expert class win and kept an eight-minute gap over second placed David Wathen while Mark Hickinbotham and Chris Bushnell battled for third and fourth as Brendan Griffiths took fifth in class.
Peter King had a comfortable one-lap buffer at the front of the Clubman 4T class. Neil Sweeney in second place also had a 20-minute buffer over third placed Edward John. In the Clubman 2T bracket Mark Copeland was a lap clear at the front of his class with James Nichols in second and Mark Birchall third.
Martin Jakeman and Kev Freeman continued their annual battle for supremacy in the Over 40's with Jakeman winning on this occasion as Freeman took second. A surprise entrant took third place. Lee Walters was getting some practice in preparation for the upcoming Red Bull Romaniacs and third place wasn't too shabby for someone who rarely rides this type of event.
The Over 50's saw Nick Selwyn take the first win of the season but he had to work hard for it as Roger Billam and David Smailes kept within minutes of the class leader.
Jerry Adams and Alex Bronkaerts made up the Classic (Pre 86) class with
Adams taking top spot on his ancient KTM as Brockaerts followed him home on
his equally ancient Husqvarna. Emily Davey was also training for the
Romaniacs and won the Ladies class ahead of Wendy Ellis-Smith. Chris Poel
managed six laps in the Trail class to take the win as Ian Jones struggled
to keep pace with the class leader.
The attrition rate in the Sportsman class was high, partly due to the slippery conditions at the start of the race but also partly because most of the riders in this class are accustomed to riding for just two hours, not three as the race was on the day.
As the race progressed, conditions improved significantly. The sun shone and the course dried until a huge downpour arrived just as the finish flag was waved making the going hard for the stragglers left out on the course.