Well what an event that was.......full of action, spills and thrills, we arrived at 0630 to help Manny B/Colin B/Simon B and others from Witley to set up the final bits, the whole area of Weavers Down was still completely covered in snow and in places over 12 inches deep and any areas that had been driven on were solid ice, as the competitors arrived so many were getting stuck in and everyone seemed to be helping everyone, its amazing how we bond in such adverse situations.
I was luckily enough to view the course which was just a tad over 12 miles and the conditions were hard and challenging with many climbs and bogs that were proper bogs and you had to be so committed to get through due to their depth, the very steep climbs were great if you had clear run but that did not happen often and the carnage on the hills looked like a battlefield from old. The hardest factor was simply the ice where it had compacted and as the event wore on the ice got worse and was the downfall of EVERY rider at some stage.
330 riders were due to sign on with many more in reserve waiting for the opportunity for non arrivals, sadly one of the big guns failed to make the start James Giddings but the A list was of excellent quality with some top MX and Enduro riders in the mix like Scott Elderfield/Dorren Coutts/Jack Turner/Aaron Smith/Richard Ely/Jack Twentyman/Dan Beaven/Zac Blackwell .
The start was the Witley trademark Le Mans style of running to your bike and go go go.........
The First away were the Championship class with Richard Ely on the Midwest Husaberg making the most awesome of starts with some 60 yard lead before second corner with the rest of the pack bunched but luckily no fallers, at the very near end of the lap the famous Weavers Down Wall was there for the Hard/Extreme route or you could take the Easy route which entailed minimum 30 second disadvantage, The Wall was the spectators eye candy and first round with something over a minute lead...yes a minute lead on lap one was Dorren Coutts on his Motoward Yamaha however he mistimed the wall and came off over the bars and fell very hard and i personally thought he had broken his wrist but hey these MXers are tougher than i thought as he recomposed himself and continued on although he must have been hurting ......adrenaline can be a wonderful tool, i caught the the action on camera so please take a look at Teamsnappers website.
In 2nd place was the very likeable Richard Ely on his new Midwest Husaberg who made the wall look very much like Childs play and was a delight to watch, as the laps wore on it was simple to see that no one was quite in the league of Doreen Coutts who won the event but a great battle for second between Richard Ely and Jack Turner who continually swapped places throughout the day with the Husaberg mounted Richard Ely eventually taking 2nd place but 3rd place Jack Turner was only seconds behind however Jack Turner won the Expert class overall, Scott Elderfield had a great event and finished 4th(3rd in class)but seemed to always being held up by back markers and Scott is a very polite rider and never bullies his way past which maybe on this day cost him a podium finish.
5th (4th in class) was Dan Beaven.......please take note as this the man to watch in 2011, Dan had been riding TM for a while and has recently taken delivery of new KTM 250XC and he has gelled with it fantastically and will be a major player this year,6th place overall (2nd in class)went to the very cheeky Aaron Smith aboard the Husaberg TE250 2 stroke with Zac Blackwell breathing down his back in 7th (5th in class) place, the ever YOUNG Jack Twentyman had a great ride in 8th overall but 6th in Championship class, 9th overall went to the evergreen Neil Bowker on his CR125 Honda, 10th overall but 3rd in Expert class was the very young babyfaced (Sorry Max) Max Varney who again has come on leaps and bounds this year and will be another young gun to watch.
Championship 1. Dorren Coutts 2. Richard Ely 3. Scott Elderfield
Expert 1. Jack Turner 2. Aaron Smith 3. Max Varney
The Over 40’s class was a very mixed bag with some class riders at one end and first timers at the other end, the winner who was something like 5 minutes ahead of his rival and rode very smoothly albeit had a few moments in one of the bogs was Darren Osborne on his KTM 300, 2nd was Richard Alldred who battled all day with 3rd place Steven Bird , but it must be said that the top 3 in this class were in a league of their own and would have finished very high in the expert class, so well done guys. It was also good to Chris Stainger back after a serious operation and although was taking things easy and most definitely not race fit had a creditable 6th .
Over 40 1. Darren Osborne 2. Richard Alldred 3. Steven Bird
The Clubman class with well over a 100 riders was never going to be easy but Teamsnappers good friend George Hayes(DK Autos KTM 125) had a stunning ride to take victory and made some very good thinking moves through the bogs and climbs that made the victory which really on this day you needed to use the brain, i am sure Georges dad Mark was like a dog with 2 ........ (am sure you get the drift lol), less than a minute behind George was Lee Howarth on his Yamaha YZF250 with Lucas Burman in 3rd on his KTM 250 EXC.
Clubman 1. George hayes 2. Lee Howarth 3. Lucas Burman
The sportsman class was the most subscribed class with over 120 riders and a very surprising winner Luke Humphrey on board the new Stomp 250 4T which was on its maiden event and you won’t get many more tougher events so well done to Stomp and a massive pat on the back to Luke whom i did not see put a foot wrong all day and again used his brain, 2nd went to Iain Randall on his Suzuki and 3rd to Kyle Harper on the big Husaberg.
Sportsman 1. Luke Humphrey 2. Iain Randall 3. Kyle Harper
The quad class was easily won by Andy Eastmap with a very creditable 41st overall which is an amazing result.
Quad 1. Andy Eastmap 2. Ashley John Blyth 3. Bob Cross
With only 2 finisher in the Sidecar class which was once again won by the unbeatable pairing of Paul Pelling/Sue Kemp taking the honours for the 3rd year in succession, Paul Fishlock/Peter Petersfield on the Triumph 500 the only other finisher.
Sidercars 1. Paul Pelling, Sue Kemp 2. Paul Fishlock Peter Petersfield
I must add that the medical team, marshalls and helpers worked their socks off trying to cope with the amount of injuries especially ones who were miles out on the circuit and it is at events like this when you really appreciate the support of not just the medics but the spectators and helpers.
For photos www.teamsnapper.co.uk