Photo Credit: Cristiano Morello
Beta’s Brad Freeman proved the rider to beat at rounds three and four of the British Enduro Championship claiming his first double victory in the series at Helmsley, Yorkshire.
After the very successful opening rounds of this year’s ACU British Timecard Enduro Championship in Scotland recently, the series headed to the picturesque market town of Helmsley, North Yorkshire, for the Putoline Yorkshire 2-Day Enduro.
Clerk of the course John Kerwin had drafted in the experience of Paul Edmondson and his Fast Eddy crew to assist in the design and set up of both the cross-country styled special tests for the event.
In addition to this John and his hard working Dirtbike Action club had set up a route that was less technical than previous years and with the recent spell of dry weather and ground conditions bone dry, the event was set up to be another top quality round in this year’s series.
With weather conditions being warm and course conditions dry, it was set up to be another great weekend of racing in all classes.
By the end of lap one it was Brad Freeman (Beta Boano Racing) fresh from his recent EnduroGP of Spain Junior class win setting the pace early on to take a six second lead from series leader Danny McCanney (Rockstar Husqvarna), and current GNCC XC3 class leader Jack Edmondson (Coastal Husqvarna) also a further six seconds down in third.
Freeman was on top form for the remaining laps and although he took a tumble on test four, he still won five out of the eight special tests during the day to take the overall win by four seconds. McCanney winner of test four and eight had to settle for the runner up spot this time, while test six winner Jack Edmondson completed the top three — half a minute down on McCanney.
Jamie Lewis, Senior class winner at the recent European Enduro Championship round in Portugal, carried on his fine form with a well deserved fourth overall. TM Racing’s Josh Gotts finished a career best fifth and 21 seconds behind Lewis.
Next up was rising star and current European Under 20 Enduro Championship leader Dan Mundell, who was just edged out of fifth by a few hundredths of a second. Scottish ace Frazer Flockhart took seventh, closely followed by the hard charging Lee Sealey with just three seconds splitting these two.
In the hotly contested Expert class it was young Welshman Alex Walton who took the well deserved win beating round one winner Jay Thomas by six seconds. Walton is another rider putting his recent European Enduro Championship experience to good use by taking his first ever BEC outright win.
Photo Credit: Ashleigh Blunt Photography
Another great performance saw Andrew Bisset take third place by the narrowest of margins from Jon Hunt in fourth, who was just under one second down on Bisset. Bradley King was unlucky not to finish on the podium but after several crashes on the tests he had to settle for fifth, a further seven seconds down on Hunt, while Richard Ely completed the top six.
A much-improved performance by Harry Hillier-Rees saw him snatch the Clubman class win from the ever-consistent Allyn Taylor. Hillier-Rees in only his fourth ever enduro finished the day just one second ahead of Taylor, with Max Ditchfield in third holding off series leader Fred Adams by eight seconds in fourth.
In the Ladies class it was the ever improving Rosie Rowett who easily took top honours after her nearest rival Glesni Jones retired early on in the day injuring her knee. This left Chloe Richards to take the runner up spot with only other finisher Abi Childs taking third.
Andrew Edwards is the man to beat in the ultra competitive Over 40’s class taking yet another win. He beat nearest rival Richard Hay by 17 seconds. Andrew Reeves and Russell Millward were next up taking a well respectable third and fourth place finishes.
In the Over 50’s Paul Davies didn’t have it all his own way this time. Mark Huson was a man on a mission, storming to the class win by 27 seconds over Davies. The battle for third saw Paul Armstrong pip Paul Spurgeon by 30 seconds.
Simon Walker headed the small Sportsman class entry, with Danny Parker second and Ben Leighton third.
Heavy rain during the early hours leading up to the start of day two ensured conditions were very slippery early on. However this didn’t slow the pace of the top riders in their respective classes.
Brad Freeman started where he left off from the previous day and took the win in five of the eight special tests during the day, setting him up for maximum points from the weekend.
McCanney won the other three special tests but had to settle for the runner up spot, eight seconds down on Freeman. Third overall was E1 class winner Jack Edmondson, a further 53 seconds down on McCanney.
Jamie Lewis put in another strong performance claiming fourth place just 33 seconds behind Edmondson, with fifth placed Josh Gotts a further 17 seconds down.
Lee Sealey, slowly getting to grips with the bigger bike, took sixth, Alex Snow was seventh, while newly promoted 2016 Expert champ Tom Ellwood finished an impressive eighth place.
Photo Credit: Ashleigh Blunt Photography
In the Experts class Brad King took the class win with a 12-second margin of victory over the on form Jay Thomas. Jon Hunt improved on his day one performance lifting himself to third place just 21 seconds behind Thomas and the experienced Kevin Murray, who finished fourth and only four seconds behind Hunt. Day one winner Alex Walton didn’t have such a good day slipping to fifth but still took the E1 class win from Andrew Bisset in sixth.
Spike Gilby was the unlikely winner of the Clubman class with a very well deserved win aboard an old Suzuki beating series regular Adams by 10 seconds. Youngster Max Ditchfield put in another fine display to take home third beating Day 1 winner Harry Hillier-Rees by two seconds. Allyn Taylor, Jordan Wright, Lewis Ranger and Tom James completed the top eight, — what a battle this class is turning into.
Rosie Rowett (right) seems to be going from strength-to-strength with another strong performance to take the Ladies class win, which would’ve put her in good placing amongst the Clubman class. Runner up was Chloe Richards, who kept battling away until the end.
Over 40’s leader Andrew Edwards just did enough to beat Andrew Reeves. Both riders won three tests a piece, but with Edwards better margin on test one saw him keep in front by six seconds by the end of day. Russell “Rusty” Millward improved position on Sunday finishing third and 14 seconds ahead of Vince Harker in fourth.
Mark Houson took maximum points from his weekend’s work with another win in the over 50’s closely followed by Paul “Elvis” Davies. The battle for third place saw Paul Armstrong fend off Darren Osbourne by 15 seconds.
Lastly but not least the top three of the Sportsman class were all within eight seconds of each other, with Paul Baxter leaping ahead of Day 1 winner Simon Walker for the win and Archie Flack taking the remaining podium place in third.
The overall view from riders and supporters was this was well organised and enjoyable event, well worthy of its BEC status, roll on next year!
The next round of this series is organised by Hafren Dirt Bike Club & will be held at Llanidloes, Mid-Wales over the weekend of 29th/30th July. Entries will be available soon.
Gemma JamesBritish Enduro Contributor