Putoline XC Championship - Organised by Fast Eddy
Round 8 at Outrax Enduro Park. Welshpool.
For once the weather forecast was spot on for the final round of the Putoline XC Championship series, held at Outrax Enduro Park, near Welshpool.
This was only the second time Paul Edmondson and the Fast Eddy Racing crew had visited Outrax and the venue had been improved tremendously since the first visit, which was impressive, with new gulleys and tracks through the two main woodland areas.
Sunshine and heavy showers throughout Friday and Saturday left the venue in surprisingly good shape with one of the two woodland sections remaining really quite dry with many powder berms building up in Saturday's training and practice sessions.
Heavy overnight rain did make some parts of the course slippery for the Youth race on Sunday morning and a few of small alterations were made to the course but after a couple of laps dry lines were appearing and the young riders picked up the pace as the race progressed.
Even at the halfway stage it was hard to guess who would win as Antoine Criq, Harry Aughterlony and Adam James lapped time after time within a few bike lengths of each other. All three BW85-150 riders were really going for it as the final lap was announced and it was Criq who put the hammer down to pull 40 seconds over second placed Aughterlony as James took third place.
Alex Walton and Ben Coleman also had a great battle in the SW85 class with Walton eventually taking the win a lap ahead of his rival as Ievan Morgan rode to third place.
Ben Clarke put in 17 tough laps to win the 65 class by over a lap from Harry Edmondson who was followed home by Joe Davies in third place.
Hannah Murray was the top rider in the Girls class, on 15 laps, as Glesni Jones took second spot and Molly Law third.
It was tough going initially but there were dozens of marshals and parents helping to keep the young riders moving and they all helped to make it a great race.
As the adult riders lined up on the start, the heavens opened and it looked as if the race was to be a grueller, but the rain stopped quickly and the sun shone which, combined with a slight breeze, began to dry the course immediately.
The first half hour was tough and there were not many riders who didn't experience and off or two but conditions rapidly improved and the race was on.
CF Racing's Pro class rider Ben Wootton grabbed and early lead and looked like a runaway winner but his strategy to make two fuel stops saw Midwest Husaberg rider James Jackman take the lead as Wootton refuelled for the first time.
Derek Bawn was never very far away and as the race entered the second half there were five Pro/Expert riders just seconds apart. Jackman held his lead as the pack slowly gained on him but disaster struck when he crashed while overtaking a gaggle of backmarkers and he retired from the race with just 20 minutes left.
Wootton increased his pace to draw nearly a minute clear of second placed Bawn as Joe Wootton desperately tried to pas Bawn for a CF Racing 1-2. He just missed out by 2 seconds and took third place followed closely by Jamie Powell and Brad Freeman.
The Veterans class had a terrific line up, as is always the case at Fast Eddy events. Oakland International's Craig Parkes took an early lead, the tricky conditions suited his style of riding, but as the course dried out Jason Hope caught and passed him to take the class win. It was simply a difference in styles. Hope's MX background served him well as the going improved and Parkes Trials experience helped at the start of the race but couldn't get him enough of a lead. They finished with just over a minute between them. Ray Whittle improved significantly as the track dried and took third place with ease.
The Clubman class witnessed a great battle between Luke Williams and Aled Price with Price gradually stringing out over a minute lead on Williams to take the win with Williams second and Rich Cookland, tired from his morning's marshalling experiences, third.
Alex Green deservedly won the Sportsman class by over a minute from Anthony Trawford and Kieron Jordan, all three on fourteen laps as Alan Stockdale took the Novice class win, much to his delight, followed by Tommy Hodgkinson and Tom Russell.
Top Youth class rider was Jack Powell who finished fifteenth overall in a very competitive field of riders, an excellent result. Katie Walker beat of fierce competition to take second in class ahead of third placed Jack Ditchfield.
This even proved to be a great finish to an excellent Putoline XC Championship series. The Outrax venue was the perfect setting for a grand final and even the weather didn't cause too much disruption.
Well done on an excellent series to Fast Eddy and his team.
More info - Details
XC Championship Rd7
As the rest of the country was battered by torrential downpours the small valley containing the paddock at Llangrove, near Monmouth, escaped virtually unscathed as the seventh round of the Putoline XC Championship visited for the weekend.
As organiser Paul Edmondson celebrated his 42nd birthday, he was rewarded with a fantastic entry in addition to good weather as this Championship series nears completion.
In a complete turnaround from the BSEC series, which ran at Llangrove a few weeks ago, the large paddock was situated at the other side of the venue and overlooked much of the course although getting to it from the main A40 proved to be a cross-country event in itself.
The course set out by the Fast Eddy crew was very well balanced, fast but littered with technical sections which gave everyone a fair chance as it ran across the fields and into two separate woodland areas. These two woods were very different to each other. One was a relatively easy downhill with the course winding easily between the trees while the other launched riders into a steep uphill climb that became increasingly difficult as the race progressed but provided plenty of entertainment for the spectators who walked the distance to watch the fun.
As with all Putoline XC events the day began with the Youth race and nearly fifty young racers on the start line. With the championship nearing its conclusion every point was invaluable and competition was fierce from the moment the flag dropped.
Jack Edmondson was determined to keep both hands on his championship challenge in the 85-150 class and headed the pack off the line but Jack Staines was stuck to him like glue as the pair rode their own private race. Lap after lap the pair circulated and it wasn't until Edmondson stopped for fuel that Staines had an open track. He put the hammer down to pull a gap, knowing he too would have to refuel at the end of the lap.
Edmondson left the pits on a mission and ate up the time between himself and the leader, taking the top spot as he passed Staines in the pits and pulling a two minute gap to take the overall win and his class victory. Staines matched him on laps to take second place with Harry Aughterlony close behind, third in class, just ahead of Adam James and Jack Law.
Alex Walton made an impressive return to the Putoline XC series by taking the 85cc SW win (and third overall in the race) ahead of Bradley Sullivan and Dean Edwards. Ben Clarke also had the Champions title in his sights as he once again took the win in the 65cc class, closely followed by Harry Edmondson who had a lap to spare over third placed Billy Jones. Hannah Murray again won the Girls class by a clear lap from Molly Law as Amelia Arnold secured third place.
Over 150 riders lined up for the afternoon race with more than a handful of very talented riders making up the front row Expert class. Jamie Powell was looking to consolidate his previous round's win at Ashby while Midwest Racing's James Jackman and Jon Hinam had other ideas. Thrown in to the mix was motocrosser Carl Jones, an unknown quantity who soon proved to be a real handful.
Jon Hinam was 'bedding in' his 2012 Husaberg 300 2T. Adorned with plastics from his old bike the 300 still looked the business and he proved his determination by taking the lead during the first lap. To everyone's surprise Carl Jones was rarely more than a bike's length behind him. Jones was really pushing hard and overshot a few corners in his determined efforts but clamed down when he re-styled the front of his KTM in a big crash in the woods.
James Jackman, Derek Bawn and Jamie Powell kept up the pace and continued to pressurise each other and close the gap on the leaders with Jackman overtaking Jones to grab second spot as the race drew to a close giving Midwest Racing a podium 1-2. Jones recovered his composure and rode hard, if not a little more carefully, to take third overall and third in the Pro/Expert class as Derek Bawn finished fourth and Jamie Powell fifth. James Paczynski was initially in the mix of front runners but became the first of many riders to suffer from chain trouble, leaving the race after just 4 laps.
Veteran rider Dave Selkeld made the long journey south and was surprised to find that there was not a sole in sight as he pulled into Sellatyn on Saturday evening. A quick phone call to Fast Eddy confirmed his suspicions that he may be at the wrong venue and he set off once more to find Llangrove.
The journey was well worthwhile. Selkie nailed the Veteran class win in great style but was pushed hard for most of the race by Mark Perrott, the two riders opening up quite a gap on fellow class riders. Perrott was out of the running with just 20 minutes to go as he spent time looking for a missing link. His chain let go and left him wondering what might have been. Jason Hope took up the challenge and finished in second spot as Craig Parkes crashed spectacularly in the woods, picked himself up and eventually grabbed third spot.
Jon Hill was on form in the Clubman class but had to battle hard to keep his lead and eventually take the win as Jeremy Callow followed him every inch of the way. Callow's crash in the woods during the closing laps allowed Hill to stretch an unassailable gap as Luke Williams had another excellent ride to third place.
Martin Kohv continued with his winning ways in the Sportsman class adding yet another victory to his title contention and posting an extra lap over second placed Adrian Measures. Kieron Jordan threw caution to the wind and went balls out to take third place in a very competitive class.
Daryl Mead and Alan Stockdale were inseparable for much of the race in the Novice ranks. Mead benefited from less traffic on the final lap as Stockdale just lost a handful of valuable seconds allowing Mead to win by 10 seconds. Tommy Hodgkinson was only just over a minute behind in third place.
Fully recovered from his GBXC crash at Welshpool, Brad Freeman had lost none of his form and took the Youth class win with ease, some two laps clear of the competition and even finished seventh overall. Jack Ditchfield took a comfortable second place as Oli Benton finished third.
This was a really good event at a superbly testing track, that became increasingly harder as the race progressed but riders rose to the challenge in both races to make this a race to remember.
Well done fast Eddy and the crew.
Putoline XC Championship Rd 6
Things really hotted up for the sixth round of the Putoline XC Championship over the weekend. Temperatures soared at Ashby de la Zouche and competition was fierce around the four-mile loop which wove around fields full of crops and into fast and flowing woodland sections littered with ditches and tight turns in places.
Organiser Paul Edmondson (fresh from his second overall in the Welsh 2 Day) and his crew had worked hard laying out a really good course which seemed to favour the faster riders, until they hit the woodland sections but it was the weather that played the biggest part in settling the final places.
With two races scheduled the Youth classes got the best deal, setting off before temperatures rose, for 90 minutes of flat out competition. The 85-150cc class was first off the line and Jack Edmondson put the hammer down from the moment the flag dropped, taking a lead which he was to hold for the entire race. Jack Staines didn't have the best of starts but managed to work his way through the pack to sit behind Jacko and take the overall and class runner up spot. Antoine Criq was always in the reckoning and he rode hard for his third place, fending off some fierce competition.
Ben Coleman headed the 85cc SW charge and pulled out quite a significant gap over second placed Charlie Barnwell who was fending off a strong challenge from Dan Gibbons throughout the length of the race.
Hannah Murray was again victorious in the Girls class leading home Amelia Arnold with Mathilde Criq in third. The 65cc class initially saw a great battle between Ben Clarke and Ryan Rowlands but Rowlands crashed out on the second lap leaving the way clear for Clarke to take the victory as Harry Edmondson charged into second place ahead of Max Ditchfield.
By the time the Adult race got underway the temperatures had risen significantly and many riders were sweating just getting their bikes onto the start line.
As the flag dropped it was Midwest's James Jackman who powered his Husaberg to the fore and lead the pack of Pro and Expert riders off around the dusty field edge and into the woods.
Jackman maintained his lead until he was accidentally taken out by a Clubman rider and snapped his clutch lever in the crash. He pitted without warning and sat in the pits, virtually for a lap, until a replacement could be fitted, which proved to be a costly mistake. Ex AMCA motocrosser Jamie Powell seized the opportunity and grabbed the lead leaving Jackman with his work cut out to regain his lost lap. Powell charged onwards but he had a scare when he had to pit his SS Racing Husqvarna for running repairs which seemed to take forever but in effect it took around four-minutes.
He exited the pits with work to do but managed to get ahead of Derek Bawn for the overall race win as Bawn took a well-deserved second place. Apparently there was no mud and it was a little on the dry side for the Welshman. James Paczynski pushed hard to finish in third place as Steve Mason and Jamie Roper closed the gap on him in the final stages of the race where many riders were digging deep to make the finish.
Luke Williams again took the Clubman class win, something that is becoming a habit, as he prepares himself for the move to the Expert class next season. He was one of only five finishers to post 18 laps, the other four being Pro or Expert riders which signifies just how much he has improved this season. Aled Price was pushed hard by Richard Cookland as he took second in class with Cookie third.
With several of the regular Veteran riders away in Erzberg it was up to Jason Hope to fly the flag for the Over 40's and he flew it in style. All of the top three Vets posted 17 laps but it was Hope who finished first. He did have quite a lead at one point but slowed significantly as second placed Peter Clarke gained momentum towards the end of the race. Hope held fast and took the class win with Clarke second and Paul Sagar, who for once had broken sweat, in third.
Martin Kohv once again lead the Sportsman class home, a move to the Clubman class seems on the cards next season for this talented rider, ahead of Kieron Jordan and Ryan Oakley.
Jack Powell was top Youth rider finishing ahead of Jack Ditchfield in second and Luke Rudd, third, all three taking advantage of Brad Freeman's broken elbow to gain valuable Championship points.
The Novice riders found the going hard, the course was great but combined with high temperatures the race took it's toll on their pace although only two DNF'd. Dan Kerry topped the class ahead of Tommy Hodgkinson and Keaton Allen, all three posting 15 laps.
This was a tough round of the Putoline XC Championship series. Race
organiser Paul Edmondson cut the race short by 15 minutes to give riders a
break from the heat, a gift very gratefully received by all riders who were
wilting fast as the race neared completion.
Putoline XC Championship Rd.5
Saints Well in Powys, just north of Llandrindod Wells proved to be very popular over the weekend for the fifth round of the Putoline XC Championship, organised by Paul Edmondson.
A packed adult race and a youth race containing 50 junior riders all enjoyed a dry day following heavy overnight rain, with the course in excellent condition. Not only was the going good, it was different going in many places as new sections and woodlands were added to this already exceptional course. Adam Reece had worked long and hard to get the course into such good condition and is constantly making improvements, which is why the venue is so popular.
The youth race saw it's biggest entry of the season with all classes experiencing new riders but it was the 'old hands' who were to triumph. The BW85-150cc riders lead the field as usual but it was Antoine Criq who was on a mission as the rest of the pack played catch-up right from the start. Jack Edmondson gradually wore Criq down, took the lead and the overall race with as Jack Staines stayed with him albeit a few minute adrift for second place. Criq's initial dash had taken its toll but he hung on to finish third in class.
Local rider Alex Walton was also quick off the start line and he managed to fend off the late challenge of Brad Sullivan and take the SW85cc class win by three minutes with Sullivan second and Joe Roberts third. Ben Clark just managed to squeeze in an extra lap to win the 65cc class ahead of Max Ditchfield and Billy Jones while Hannah Murray put two laps between herself and second placed Molly Law to win the Girls class with Amelia Arnold in third.
As the adult riders lined up for the afternoon race dark clouds threatened rain but soon dispersed as the race began. The Pro/Expert class was bursting at the seams with quality riders but it was Mark Roberts who rose to the challenge and took the lead on his new CF Racing Kawasaki KX250f. The change back to Kawasaki certainly seemed to have done him some good as he lead the race for just over an hour until he stopped for fuel and Fast Eddy/Edmondson Racing team rider Ben Burrell took control. Burrel had managed to close on Roberts throughout the first hour but in his own words 'kept crashing'. With a clear field ahead of him the young Aussie was not going to relinquish his grasp on another first place trophy and made it to the finish flag just under a minute ahead of Roberts. Midwest Husaberg rider Jon Hinam experienced a few problems as his mousse collapsed (as had Roberts') but he rode to a solid third place ahead of a handful of very talented Pro and Expert riders.
Luke Williams and Jeremy Callow battled hard in the Clubman class, matching each other on laps, but it was Williams who eventually took the win by just short of three minutes, with Callow second and Ryan Armitage third. The ever-improving Martin Kohv nailed the Sportsman class ahead of Jamie Callow and Anthony Trawford but a credit must go to Wayne Jenkins who spent most of the race in the pits changing tyres and tubes four times. He clocked up just two laps and eventually called it a day with only 30 minutes of the race left to run.
Mark Perrott really upset the applecart in the prestigious and competitive Veterans class. Craig Parkes initially kept alongside Perrott but as Parkes crashed out, Perrott turned up the gas. Perrott pushed hard all the way to the finish to gain a lap on Parkes, who eventually finished second on the same lap as Paul Sagar, in third place. Sagar seemed to be cruising around the course on a Sunday afternoon trail ride, his deceptive smoothness hiding his actual speed around the lap.
Tommy Hodgkinson headed the Novice class to the finish line ahead of Mark Sidwell and David Davies as Fast Eddy/Edmondson racing team rider Brad Freeman pushed hard in the Youth class to take yet another win on his way to Championship success as second placed Jack Ditchfield put a lap between himself and Alwyn Watkins in third spot.
A very successful and enjoyable day at Saints Well for Fast Eddy and his crew as many riders paid tribute to the excellent course once the race was over.
Eddy 2011 Championship
The 2011 Putoline XC Championship maintained its growing momentum last weekend with an excellent turnout at Butts Quarry near Ashover in Derbyshire. With excellent weather conditions and a great course layout, Paul Edmondson and the Fast Eddy crew had their hands full for both the Youth and Adult races.
Butts Quarry provided the ideal technical course that many riders had been hoping for, although there were a few fast sections and moto-x jumps thrown in to even things out but the technical riders were in their element.
None more so than Oakland International Enduro team rider Craig Parkes. In the base of the quarry Fast Eddy put in a short extreme route for riders with enough confidence to take it on, which saved around ten seconds per lap. The short-cut headed up a concrete slab then hit a six foot step up a rock wall, some 8-10 feet high in all. Parkes was the only rider to attempt this challenge and flew up the step lap after lap on his new KTM 350XC, drawing an admiring crowd in the process.
The day began with the youth race over a slightly shortened course and although the track was bone dry, dust never really became an issue as the packs of riders soon strung out around the lap.
Oli Benton got off to a flying start at the head of the 85-150cc class, stretching out a 20 second lead at one point, but Jack Edmondson slowly reeled him in and the two riders battled throughout the race. Both riders pushed hard and both crashed on numerous occasions, allowing the other rider to take the lead but the final outcome was decided when Benton picked up a front wheel puncture and Edmondson took full advantage as Benton sat in the pits as his wheel was changed.
Even with this setback Benton still took second place behind Jacko, both riders posting 17 laps over the 90-minute race. Jack Staines only just missed the cut to get another lap in and took third place with a solid ride and 16 laps to his credit.
Alex Walton did well to keep the leaders in sight. Riding his SW85 he was up amongst the front-runners and took the SW85 class with a lap to spare from Brad Sullivan and Ben Coleman. Ryan Rowlands didn't have things all his own way even though he led the 65 class for most of the race. Rowlands performance was terrific but Ben Clarke was ever-present and matched the leader lap for lap, posting one of the fastest 65 laptimes of the day in the process of taking second place. Max Ditchfield pulled an extra lap on the following pack to take a very well-deserved third in class. Hannah Murray headed a handful of female riders in the Girls class, taking the win by a clear lap over closest rival Molly Law as Charlotte Snowden claimed third place.
A large adult line-up for the second race of the day bought a few concerns relating to the dust levels around the course and although it was dusty in places initially, the sections affected gradually diminished as the race wore on.
A quality lie up of Pro Expert riders was first off and Derek Bawn challenged Gav Houson into the first corner but in reality that was the only challenge as Houson dominated the race from start to finish and topped the lap chart with 22 laps to his credit, a lap ahead of his closest rivals. Midwest racing riders Rich Ely and James Jackman charged after the fast disappearing Houson and Ely did manage to close the gap slightly as Jackman had his hands full fending of fourth placed Derek Bawn. The top two remained in place for the duration of the race but a slight error by Jackman allowed Bawn to take third place by just seconds on the final lap. Alex Owen cruised to fifth some three laps down on the leader.
The Veterans were very well represented as Craig Parkes and Mark Houson took fifth and sixth places overall, quite an achievement. Using the extreme short cut Parkes stretched out a two-minute lead over Daddy Houson at one point but began to tire as the race entered its final stages. Houson pushed hard and closed to within 30 seconds of Parkes but the leader was not going to let his hard work got to waste and parkes clung on to the top Veteran spot. Houson took second place as Dennis Harrison grabbed third. Pete Clarke had initially been riding well but his KTM suffered throttle control sensor problems and he pushed his bike to the pits after just nine laps.
Jeremy Callow again spoiled the Sheffield whitewash in the Clubman class. With six riders all on the same lap Callow held firm and took the Clubman win as Ryan Armitage and Rich Cookland gave chase with a third Sheffield rider Lee Hattersley in fourth.
Martin Kohv maintained his excellent Putoline XC performances with a win in the Sportsman class despite intense pressure from Ant Trawford throughout the race. As riders tired towards the end of the race a few small log-jams appeared at one particular climb and riders were able to gain an advantage if they got through ahead of rivals and this is what happened towards the end of the race as Trawford got stuck a couple of times as Kohv raced ahead. Callum Morewood managed to hold off strong challenges by Mark Johnson and Rob White to take third in the Sportsman class.
The Novice class witnessed the closest race of the day. All three of the top riders were on the same lap and finished within 90 seconds of each other. Tommy Hodgkinson took the win just 30 seconds ahead of second placed Anton Bell as Alan Stockdale landed third a minute down on the leading pair.
Brad Freeman dominated the Youth class and also managed to make the overall top ten but his class win have put him way out in front for the Championship title. Adam Glasby and Jack Ditchfield got to within a lap of Freeman to take second and third in the class.
This round of the Putoline Championship was very different to the previous three. It was tough and technical, dry and dusty at times but very competitive and really spectacular with a handful of steep downhill jumps, the quarry section and tight woodland stretches and ultimately it was good fun with great value-for-money racing.
Well done Fast Eddy and his crew.
The venue can be divided in to two halves. A steep escarpment running the length of the fields where the paddock and pit areas are located and a fast an open section above the steep slope.
The Fast Eddy crew made excellent use of the plentiful tracks up and down the face of the climb with plenty of long uphill drags followed by equally long downhills, linked by long and winding off-camber sections.
The first race of the day was the very popular Youth race with classes for 65cc, 85cc Big Wheel and Small Wheel bikes, Girls and 150cc's.
In the 85-150cc class Jack Edmondson led the charge around a slightly shortened course and was untouchable as he hit the difficult gulley climb each and every lap on his way to victory. He wasn't the only rider to 'go hard' but the field really stretched out as many less confident riders opted for the easier route.
Jacko was chased hard by Adam James for the entire length of the race with Harry Aughterlony close behind at the start of the race and these three 85-150 riders took first, second and third spots overall.
Ben Coleman pushed strongly in the 85SW class to gain a lap over Kieron Cooke on his way to the class win with Cooke second and Charlie Barnwell eventually finishing in third place.
Ryan Rowlands once again maintained his grip on the 65cc class by putting himself three and a half minutes clear of a hard charging Dominic Lancett in second place as Ben Clarke took third, keeping young Harry Edmondson at bay in fourth.
Mollie Law and Hannah Murray were almost inseparable in the Girls class but Mollie eventually dragged out a few seconds lead to take the win ahead of Hannah with Amelia Arnold finishing third.
By lunchtime the start area was crammed with a massive number of bikes as over 150 riders took to the line.
The Pro/Expert class was missing Ben Burrell and Tom Sagar who were already on their way to the opening round of the EWC in Spain but held all the usual suspects: James Jackman, Derek Bawn and Luke Smith with a new addition who turned out to be something of a sensation. James Paczynski.
Paczynski took the lead right from the start line, closely followed by Jackman, Smith and Bawn. It soon became clear that the new guy in the line-up was no slouch as he stretched a lead that the following riders found hard to close.
Suddenly things changed and a new leader appeared at lap scoring with no sign of Paczynski. Derek Bawn had passed the young rider, who discovered that his front sprocket had rounded off and he had no drive. It was a very disappointing push back to the pits for him, his race was over.
Bawn remained as smooth as ever and gradually pulled away from Luke Smith who had inherited second place with Jackman moving to third.
Mark Evans and Ash Bowden were stuck together for the first half of the race in the Clubman class but Evans pushed hard at the halfway point and pulled away from Bowden to take the class win by an impressive five minutes over Bowden in second with veteran Clubman rider Lee Hattersley in third.
The Sportsman class witnessed one of the closest finishes of the day as Martin Kohv narrowly took yet another class win with Ant Trawford less than two minutes adrift and Kieran Jordan on the same lap in third place.
Steve Totney maintained his excellent form to win the Novice class by a clear two minutes from Mark Sidwell. Tommy Hodgkinson was a further two minutes behind on his way to taking third place in class.
As usual the Veterans class was hard fought. Initially Peter Clarke took a dominant lead over Craig Parkes who seemed to be struggling on his new KTM 350XC. Clarke made a couple of small errors, which allowed Parkes to catch and then pass him to take the win by just over 30 seconds. Rob Sewell kept his cool as all this was going on and rode to a well deserved third in class.
Ride of the day was, once again, from Brad Freeman who started in the Youth class, last off the start line, and lapped everyone except the top five Pro/Expert riders. He won his class with ease and finished fifth overall.
Jack Powell went on to take second in the Youth class followed by Jack Ditchfield and Katie Walker but Freeman outshone them all.
Most riders agreed that this course had been the best ever laid out at Coney Green farm with something to suit everyone and included hard and easy options at many points around the course.
Another well prepared and well run event from Fast Eddy and his team. Results
2011 Putoline XC Championship
Lewis Belfield wins Putoline XC opener
Just a week after the hugely successful Eddy's Extreme Enduro Paul Edmondson was back to business as usual as the opening round of the 2011 Putoline XC Championship began at Bicton Farm near Shrewsbury last Sunday.
It was heartening to see a full paddock, full Adult race and a very well supported Youth race, hopefully this is indicative of the season to come for all XC organisers, as riders and spectators turned out to witness some superb racing around the extended Bicton course.
With a lap time of around nine minutes the course was much bigger than usual with the addition of an extra field section and another small woodland section, which combined with a snaking woodland section near the start line to make a fast and open course with a few technical bits thrown in for good measure.
Events at Bicton usually attract more than a few MX boys and this event was no different. What was different was that many of the MXers have made the move to XC racing permanent. The chance of more time on a bike and better value for money is too good to pass up.
Ex-AMCA Championship rider Craig Chamberlain christened his new job with Yamaha by entering the Expert class on a Yamaha 250 2T but has stated his intention to ride every GBXC event this year although he will be on a 450 for that series.
A light overnight frost left the ground hard initially but by the time racing began the surface started to improve although remained slippery for most of the Youth race. The woodland sections were fine, except for the off-cambers and tree roots which caught out many riders at the start of the race.
KTM mounted Jack Edmondson roared into the lead in the Youth race and never looked back. He was closely followed by Oli Benton for fourteen laps but Jacko held his 30-second lead to take the win as Benton took second and Alex Walton third overall.
Edmondson and Benton were joined at the head of the BW85-150 class by Jack Staines as in the 65cc class Ben Clark had the ride of his lfe, leading all the way home a lap clear of Ryan Rowlands and Harry Edmondson.
Alex Walton also had a good outing, winning the SW85's by a lap over Brad Sullivan and Ben Coleman. Hannah Murray started the season in style with a win in the Girls class followed by Silje Otte and Molly Law.
The start line was packed for the two and a half hour adult race. One hundred and forty riders all raring to get the first race of the season underway.
The Pro/Expert front line saw Lewis Belfield, two times winner at Bicton,
sat next to Aussie Ben Burrell. This was Burrell's first UK XC race and
following a good ride at Eddy's Extreme he was keen to show what he could do
on the flat and fast stuff.
Burrell made all of the running initially and the gap between the two fluctuated from 10 to 20 seconds. The lead changed hands when riders started to pit for fuel but in the closing laps it was still neck and neck and as the finish flag came out Belfield made it three wins out of three at Bicton with Burrell just inches behind.
Derek Bawn had a great race and maintained third position throughout, with James Jackman in a disappointing fourth place and Rhys Davies in fifth. Sean O'Neill sat fuming in the pits after just four laps as his Yamaha had given up the ghost. He was less than pleased.
Jeremy Callow was flying in the Clubman class and took an easy class win a lap clear of Andrew Marsh with Joe Chambers in third place. Callow actually finished fifth overall, which is a good indicator for his intentions this season.
Last year's Novice Champion Gav Tatchell was sidelined with a broken thumb and watched the action instead of riding in the Sportsman class for the first time. Jason Hicken put the hammer down and nailed the opening round Sportsman win a lap ahead of Garin Rosser and Rob White.
Gareth Marsh took the honours in the Novice class by a significant margin of two laps over second placed James Wren who was a lap up on Shane Tasker in third spot. Stu Mowbray landed the Vets class win with 19 laps to his credit, one up on David Sokes with Jason Kendrick-Jones, who made one of his rare outings, third.
The Youth class witnessed a real battle but it was for third spot as Brad Freeman took control right from the start and won with a lap to spare. Andrew Bull's return to good form, following a wrist injury last season, continued as he took second place behind Freeman but just 30 seconds separated the next three riders, all fighting for third place. Jack Ditchfield grabbed the final podium spot ahead of Harland White and Katie Walker.
The track improved throughout the day and although a few sticky bits remained in places the going was good and the racing was top-notch.
A great start to the season for Fast Eddy and the Putoline XC Championship, which maintained and improved on it's popularity amongst many riders who also compete in the fast approaching GBXC Championship, set to start in March.
Pro Expert 1 Lewis Belfield 2 Ben Burrell 3 Derek Bawn 4 James Jackman 5
65cc 1 Ben Clark 2 Ryan Rowlands 3 Harry Edmondson