Harwood 2 Day Enduro
The 2nd round of the Metzeler ACU British Enduro Championship took place this weekend near Morpeth in Northumberland. John Kerwin and his Dirtbike-action team worked hard to bring the BEC back to the North of England and created a 34 mile lap with a long XC test that would challenge the countries finest riders. There was a single out check which was followed by the test. The organisers used so much of the land that there was no access to forest for spectators. The weather was dry but the ground was wet. The absence of Championship leader David Knight through injury has blown the 2011 season open but Hardwood would not be a dash for the podium - it would be a hard slog.
Three laps of tight woodland and bog hopping suited trials specialist Tom Sagar who won Day 1 ahead of the KORRacing trio of Greg Evans, Jonny Walker and Daryl Bolter, Paul Edmondson was 5th and the tall Scotsman Euan McConnell was 6th. The Isle of Man duo of Alex Rockwell and Danny McCanney were 7th and 8th. The slick conditions caught out several top riders. Simon Wakely punched himself in the ribs with his bars which dropped him down the results. Ollie Moyce and Lee Edmondson also both crashed on the test,
MPS Husqvarna's Joe Deakin used all the tractor power of the 250 fourstroke to win the Experts ahead of Alun Jones and Lewis Belfield. MPS Husqvarna also topped the Clubman class with a win for Rob Johnson. Aled Price was the runner up and Reece Enson was 3rd. It was tougher for the Clubman who only had 2 laps but they also had to excavate semi submerged Championship and Expert riders from the peat. Tim Forman settled back and waited for a tow from a passing Foden Expert Mike Rees was on fire literally when dry grass packed around his exhaust ignited. He put the fire out and finished. The time schedules were a good indicator of the going with the organisers allotting 2 hours and 20 minutes to the Clubman for their opening lap. An average speed of less than 15 miles an hour. For some it would not be long enough and 50% of the Experts retired.which was a pity as the course improved as the marshalls cut and widened the lines. The eternal battle of the Veterans clattered through the trees irrespective of the conditions. Wyn Hughes was the winner ahead of Carl Tiley and Russell Millward. The old boys have been here before but for many of the younger riders Harwood was a Hard Wood.
Overnight rain on Saturday made a tough event tougher. Tom Sagar once again took the Premier and maximum points for the Fast Eddy Edmondson Racing Team. Greg Evens was 2nd and Jonny Walker was 3rd. Euan McConnell moved up into 4th and Graham Jarvis was 5th. Paul Edmondson was 6th, Danny McCanney was 7th and Ashley Wood was 8th . Ben Burrell (9th) had a better day but Daryl Bolter found a big hole and he dropped to 10th.
Fast Eddy Edmondson team
We are pleased to inform that the No1 team rider Tom Sagar now leads
the British Enduro championship outright after two wins at the ultra
hard BEC Harwood Championship round last weekend. Tom's performance was
first class and really showed through when the weather turned nasty and
made the going more like an Extreme event than the usual BEC format.
Welcome back to old school Enduro's...
Team boss Fast EDDY himself had a steady weekend to lead the E1 4T class of the BEC with a 2 - 1 result from Harwood. He too stayed clean on time penalties but slowed on the last test due to clogged radiators and a bike resembling the "Flying Scotsman" steam engine rather than the little 250 4T XC-F! Never the less, an important class win to hold a single figure point's advantage over last year's class winner Daryl Bolter.
On Day 2, the points advantage of Paul was further helped by a second position to him by our Aussie Import Ben Burrell. Ben had a disaster on day 1 when an argument with a tree caused the loss of the clutch master cylinder from its rightful position on the handlebars. With such difficult conditions and having to ride with no clutch, his day one result of third in class was a real achievement and the day 2 result to split Paul and Daryl was good solid teamwork from a very hard weekend.
Also suffering from arguments with solid trees was Lee on the 125cc
XC-E two stroke in E1 2T. Clean on time up to the incident, left him
dazed with a much bruised chest and arm, so an early exit was the order
of the day 1.
With no rest, the team press on to Adstone this weekend to the BEC
Sprint Championship to further our winning ways....
Round 2 of the British Enduro Championship started from Harwood Forest in Northumberland. The Dirtbike Action crew promised an old school hard enduro and that’s exactly what they delivered in the notoriously challenging Harwood forest, which provided one of the toughest BEC rounds for a few years.
Fortunately the first day rain stayed away and Harwood was unusually dry, the day went without drama for KORR's riders. Greg Evans set the early pace and won the first of 3 cross-country tests. The test very “interesting” for the riders with many difficult sections such as bogs, exposed tree roots and long ruts – a real enduro test !!!, Gregs next two runs through did not go quite as smoothly and he dropped to 2nd position. the 35 mile course would test the riders on day 1 but did not take any course time penalties as expected.
Surprise of the day was KORR junior rider Jonny Walker who battled at the front setting top 3 times to finish the day in 3rd overall , using all his trials experience on the physically tough and technical 10 minute cross -country test to avoid trouble from bogs and ditches. Being an unseeded rider Jonny starts from the back of the Championship class, in the first two tests he quickly caught several riders and despite efforts to pass them in the tight forest it was not always possible, generally its good sportsmanship to move over and let the faster rider through – some of these riders would not – they should know better !!!. This cost Jonny valuable time and possibly much better test times.
E1 team rider Daryl Bolter led his class on his KTM 250 XCF to take 4th overall and was only a handful of seconds behind an overall podium position, Daryl rarely gets chance to race in such conditions so his result on the little 4 stroke was very good. James Gidings had a good solid ride in the Expert class to take his little KTM 125 EXC to 4th overall, again James coming from the South of England has limited experience of such tough forests.
Day 2 would be a very different affair, heavy overnight rain and tighter check times would mean all riders would have to dig deep, for some this was literally, Daryl lost 3 minutes on the tight check when he totally buried his KTM in one of the many bog's, this meant that he would drop to 10th overall on Sunday and 3rd in class, very disappointing as he had made good special test times again which would have won the E1 class.
Jonny Walker was caught out on the first check when he simply did not push hard enough and was penalised 1 minute, a lapse in concentration and lack of experience, but fortunately his 2 combined test times even with 60 seconds added were enough to hold onto 3rd again. Later in the day he was one of only 5 riders to clean the tight check.
Greg had mixed fortunes on the 2nd day, on the tight check which he was more than capable of cleaning he lost 1 minute, in the end it did not effect the results as he was still trailing Tom Sagars KTM 450 by a few seconds from the first test, but he had 2 test times that were over 30 seconds faster than others riders, who had cleaned the check so he had won his minute back, Greg won the last test and just managed to beat Jonny by a handful of seconds to place 2nd overall.
Julian Stevens Team Manager “I'm sure this event was a shock to some, a proper Enduro in my opinion and the club should be congratulated for being brave enough to put on such a great event. Its a welcome change to compete up North and I hope more events like this will follow in the future. This type of Enduro makes the championship so much more interesting and sorts the men form the boys, a good Enduro rider must master all conditions, not only dry Motocross style tests. We have enjoyed a great weekend with KORR riders placing 2nd, 3rd and 4th on Saturday and 2nd, 3rd and 10th on Sunday. Biggest praise must go to Jonny, in only his second season of Enduro he is starting to show his real potential, this Harwood forest I would say is only for the very experienced, Jonny has little experience yet he still was mixing it up front for the win and made very few mistakes, his first day being spoilt by other championship riders who would not move over on the test – its a basic unwritten law of Enduro, if a faster rider catches then GET OUT OF THE WAY !!.
GAS GAS' DANNY McCANNEY LEADS E3 BRITISH ENDURO CHAMPIONSHIP
After two rounds of the 2011 British Enduro Championship Gas Gas racer Danny McCanney leads the E3 championship class. McCanney had his work cut out at the second round of the British Enduro Championship last weekend held in the Harwood Forest near Morpeth in Northumberland. However, the 19-years-old Manxman pushed hard to finish 8th and 7th overall, with podium placings in his classes - 2nd/3rd in the E3 standings and 2nd/1st in the Under 23s. Having netted 3-2-3 finishes over the first three days of the BEC series, McCanney now leads the E3 championship ahead of rival Johnny Walker (KTM).
Danny McCanney: "This wasn't my best weekend's racing. The event was something very different - ultra-tough conditions - and certainly you had to ride with your head as much as the throttle. Even the cross-country test was very tough with tricky obstacles, line choice was important or you'd simply come to a stop.
"It was tough - the list of DNFs was huge - but I still enjoyed it. And no question the Gas Gas 300EC I ride is just perfect for those old school conditions, without it, and with my background being mostly motocross, I would have struggled. I'd happily do more events like it, though! It's about experience."
Steve Plain, Gas Gas team manager : "This was like an enduro from the 1980s. There was an issue with access so for this event the riders even had to refuel themselves - you'd see your rider at the start and hopefully at the finish, after that they were on their own. So it was a real test or rider skill and endurance.
"Danny came through extremely well given he has almost no trials background and never ridden an event like this before - and you really needed serious enduro experience this weekend. It wouldn't have taken much for it to have gone to his head and DNF, but he persevered and he learnt. To finish the weekend leading the E3 championship is just reward."
Other Gas Gas supported riders weren't so lucky. Tim Foreman needed a tractor to extract his 300EC from a bog - losing 20 minutes he was 23rd on day one. Day two was as tough for Foreman and he finished 21st. Under 23 rider Bradley King DNF'd day one, placing 26th on day two.
The team's next event is rounds seven and eight of the British Sprint Enduro Championship at manor Farm in Northants. Go to www.enduro-sprint.com for more information.
Team Gas Gas UK's sponsors are: S3, Renthal, Talon, Michelin and trailendurodirect.com
Riders at Harwood
The Harwood BEC was the nearest to central Scotland for many years leading to a great turnout of Scottish riders despite the events reputation of being a tough forest enduro.
Euan McConnell (right) loves the mud and roots no matter what the weather and he entered Harwood to show that he is still the top Scottish rider. Euan has been out of the scene as he has started a new business and he has two young children to keep him busy these days. Euan was at his playful best and took the fight to the top contenders in the British Enduro scene finishing 3rd E2 and 6th Overall on day one. On Sunday he upped his game finishing 4th Overall and matched his E2 performance again finishing 3rd E2 behind Tom Sagar and Greg Evans.
Neil Chatham finished 3rd E1/2 and 17th Overall without any major incidents. The main concern came when he discovered that his dad had brought the wrong boots and he had to borrow a pair for the day, many thanks to Paul Ed. Neil's brother Paul organised a pair to be delivered in time for Sunday and his best position in the Championship Class was his reward, luckily it was the closest event from home or there might have been a different end to this story.
Frazer Norrie was on good form on Saturday finishing 4th E1/2 and 19th Overall, a crash near the end of the day injured his wrist which was to cause problems on Sunday. Frazer rode with his wrist strapped up but he was in pain so a repeat performance of 4th E1/2 and 19th Overall was an excellent result considering the pain he was in.
Richard Hay is another rider who enjoys the tough forest events, although even he had to admit that his 250 was more of a handful than his 144 that he rode last year in Scotland, especially in these conditions. Richard finished 8th E2 and 18th Overall, on Sunday it was much more hard work following the rain on Saturday night and through the day on Sunday. It has been a long time since Richard has ridden two days in a British Championship and he must have been feeling it as he dropped to 9th E2 and 24th Overall, there were more able bodied riders who did not make the finish and it was good to see Richard back at a proper British Championship event and smiling at the finish.
Kevin Murray made an appearance at this round as part of the Army team. Kev was on great form on Saturday beating Neil Chatham by one place on Saturday finishing 2nd E1/2 and 16th Overall. It was a different story on Sunday as his time out of the saddle saw him drop to 5th E1/2 and 23rd Overall.
Allyn Scotland was up for the challenge as his best results have come in wet forest enduros. Allyn pushed all day Saturday finishing 2nd E2 and 9th Expert Overall. On Sunday the worsening weather did not faze him and he moved up three palces to 6th Expert Overall and 3rd E2 as the reward for a tough weekend.
James Harvey rode consistently over the two days and he can be counted on to make it to the finish in any conditions and this weekend was no exception. With the absence of Murray Thomson it was up to James to fly the Scottish flag in the Over 40 class finishing 11th on Saturday and moved up to 10th on Sunday.
Fraser Flockhart travelled with great expectations to this event, unfortunately a trip into a bog on the first lap ended his dream of a podium after loosing 9 minutes altogether dropping him down to 3rd E2 and 7th Overall. On Sunday Fraser thought he had made another fatal error when he clocked in 2 minutes early on the first lap but he need not have worried as his special test times saw him take the Clubman win Overall having also lost less time than all his rivals. Fraser will be a top contender but he has learned a lot about the pressure in a British Championship event and his ability shone through at the end of the day.
Hamish Patrick was looking good at the end of the first lap on Saturday having lost the least time of all the Scottish riders in the clubman class. As the track worsened Hamish also lost time but 4th E1/2 and 8th Overall was a just reward for his persistence and no one had better lines in the bogs. On Sunday Hamish moved up a place to 3rd E1/2 and 7th Clubman overall as he gains experience in the British Championship.
Erich Schonwalder had his first taste of the British Championship and put in a performance that saw him finish 5th E2 and 10th Clubman overall which was a great result considering he has only been riding enduros for two years and has only moved up to the clubman class this year. Erich was looking good on Sunday but his clutch gave up on him and a very dejected man returned to the parc ferme although hopefully this will not be the last time we will see him at a British event.
Alistair Miller thought he could make the 34 mile lap on a tank of fuel, his 300 was too thirsty and he had to push his bike for the last mile on the first lap. Luckily it was the tarmac section and he made it back for more and carried on to finish having used some of Neil Chatham's fuel for the second lap. In the difficult conditions Alistair won the E3 Clubman class as the only finisher and took 20th overall Clubman. On Sunday with a tiger in the tank he finished 2nd E3 and 11th Clubman overall and now leads the E3 Clubman Class overall.
Liam Lamb had a difficult weekend and found the conditions very trying despite his fitness and just made it to the finish on each day, 8th E1/2 and 29th overall clubman on Saturday and 4th E1/2 and 17th Clubman overall on Sunday does not reflect the effort he put in to make it to the end.
Stevie Currie junior entered this as his first British Enduro and had a nightmare first lap on Saturday, after watching Fraser Flockhart getting stuck in a bog he promptly hit a tree and crashed finishing his day almost before it started. Not one to be put off he came back for more on Sunday and more than made up for his problems on the first day. Stevie won the E1/4 class and finished 2nd Clubman overall to Fraser Flockhart. I am sure we will see more of Stevie at the British Championships in the future.
In the Sportsman Class Peter Nixon won on Saturday and finished 8th on Sunday with Barry Mckie also having a go but he was not so lucky and did not finish.
For those of you who are reading this it is worth bearing in mind that if you were not there you cannot understand how wet and difficult it was, just look at some of the retirements. All the riders who took part and especially those who finished should be very proud of their performance. Thanks must also go to everyone who helped over the weekend, you know who you are!
It was a tough choice to invest £130 in an entry for the Harwood BEC, since May 21 was scheduled for The Rapture. But, since only the righteous are saved and the sinners left behind, we felt pretty sure that everyone from the enduro scene would still be around for the event. Team Charfield opted not to walk the special test on arrival, as it’s dark in Northumberland at 2am and it was hard enough finding the start area and putting up the tents. Day 1 started well, with perfect race weather and a massive 75 minute check time that was ‘bound to be slack’. 110 minutes later, Team Charfield’s #1 rider made it to the check and then only by forming a coalition with a mixed band of Vets and clubmen to push and pull the bikes across a succession of ditches and gulleys, connected together by bogs and roots. Flipper never made it that far, opting instead for the sight-seeing route back to the start area and then a ‘lovely little lie down’ back at the tent. Starting the second lap was a triumph of optimism over reality for Clarkey and he was officially houred-out by the time he reached the special test. Once again, Team Charfield had bitten off more than they could chew and they decided unanimously to clear off back to the sunny south before the rain set in. If all the BEC rounds are like this one, it really is the end of days.