In what was one of the strongest line ups of riders on one of the toughest hard enduro courses in Britain, Knight made light work of the terrain to secure victory in the two-hour race.
With heavy snow prior to the race almost putting the event into jeopardy torrential overnight rain thankfully cleared the course to leave it passable, albeit in the most testing manner possible.
Opting to race a HM Honda 290 instead of his usual CRF 450, Knight started the race in confident mood. Grabbing the holeshot he set about establishing an early lead. But with defending champion Jonny Walker (KTM) close behind, Knight was unable to breakaway early on. Setting a pace that quickly distanced themselves from the rest of the field, the duo were locked in a battle for the lead during the first four laps of the race.
However with conditions worsening, Walker crashed on one of the tricky climbs and allowed Knight to escape. Pushing on and becoming increasingly comfortable with each lap, Knight gradually extended his lead to almost 11 minutes on the penultimate lap. But with the clock ticking down, the Manxman cruised his tenth and final lap to secure the win by over seven minutes.
“I’m thrilled to have won,” confirmed a pleased Knight. “With all the heavy snow and then the torrential rain I knew this was going to be a tough race. But I had a game plan and stuck to it. I knew I needed to start out front in order to stay out of trouble so that’s what I did. After that I managed to control the race to take the win.
“It’s been a busy week for me as I also became a father for the first time. With all that’s happened it’s been difficult to get here but I’m glad I did. It feels great to have won.”
Although losing touch with the hard charging Knight following his crash, Walker rode a solid race to secure the runner-up position and end it as the only rider to remain on the same lap as Knight.
“I was second off the start behind David and held that position for the first four laps,” recalled Walker. “Then I made a mistake, which cost me a lot of time. David got up one of the climbs and I looped out. I was stuck under my bike in a gully and had to wait for some spectators to pull my bike off me. I lost quite a bit of time and lost sight of David at that point.
“The track was tough – lots of tree roots and ruts everywhere, but I enjoyed it. I felt like I was riding well during the closing laps, but there was no way of catching David. To be second to him, and to have lapped all other riders, is a result I’m really pleased with.”
Continuing to deliver impressive results in hard enduro, Gas Gas’ Danny McCanney backed up his podium from the recent Tough One with third overall at Tong.
Behind him, Alex Wigg (Gas Gas) held of Graham Jarvis to claim fourth. With Jarvis struggling to find his usual winning form due to arm pump, the Husaberg rider disappointingly finished fifth, while KTM’s Paul Bolton was sixth.
Beta’s Dan Hemingway and James Dabill placed seventh and eighth respectively. Top Expert class rider Rob Johnson (Husqvarna) finished ninth while Honda’s Lee Edmondson completed the top ten.
British Extreme Enduro Championship, rd1
1. David Knight (Honda) 10 laps 2:00:03; 2. Jonny Walker (KTM) 2:07:24; 3. Danny McCanney (Gas Gas) 9 laps 2:00:37; 4. Alex Wigg (Gas Gas) 2:08:43; 5. Graham Jarvis (Husaberg) 2:08:43; 6. Paul Bolton (KTM) 02:11:10; 7. Dan Hemingway (Beta) 2:14:34; 8. James Dabill (Beta) 8 laps 2:01:39; 9. Rob Johnson (Husqvarna) 2:03:39; 10. Lee Edmondson (Honda) 2:06:45…