Freestyle Husqvarna’s Championship class rider Joe Wootton was in red-hot form at the final two rounds of the ACU British Sprint Championship last weekend, winning both days with five seconds to spare on Saturday and 16 on Sunday.
Held at Green Hall Farm in Powys the venue was new to most of the riders but made a lasting impression as a top-notch sprint venue and earned the respect of every rider. Sprint organiser Paul Edmondson thought the Fast Eddy Racing venue would be good for sprinting and he was correct. It provided a seven-minute lap for the fast boys and took in every type of terrain imaginable in Mid-Wales.
A long and twisting field section lead into a tight and twisting stream section them it was out into the fields with huge sweeping bends to negotiate, with the occasional dip back into the woods with more than a few sticky sections dotted throughout. Two boggy ditches which many riders managed to jump provided great entertainment for the riders who gave it a shot, not knowing how the landing would work out. It was a cracking lap and one of the best of the series for variety of terrain with terrific weather on both days, a few spots of rain on Saturday soon blew over and the course was absolutely spot-on. Both days featured seven runs around the special test.
Husqvarna ruled the roost on the opening day with Joe Wootton taking the win from Fast Eddy Racing’s Husqvarna UK mounted Jack Edmondson. Factory Husqvarna rider Billy Bolt rode to a superb third spot and was followed by Fast Eddy Racing’s Husqvarna mounted Tom Sagar. Buildbase Honda mounted Alex Snow, a contender for the Champions title in his first Sprint season, took fifth.
For day two the pack of top five were shuffled but it was still Joe Wootton on top with Snowy climbing to second spot as Jack Edmondson slipped to third. Tom Sagar remained in fourth place while Billy Bolt completed the top five.
Ben Murphy has had a cracking season and was in line to take the Expert title in the Sprints but a disastrous opening day saw him drop to sixth in class as close rival Alex Walton took an outstanding win. Walton was over a minute clear of second placed Jordan Ridgway who was busy fending off a serious challenge from Brad Williams, a second behind him by the end of the day.
Walton kept his head on Sunday and rode an even better set of tests to again take the win as Murphy rallied to get within 16 seconds of him to take second in class even though his chances of a championship win were gone although second place is certainly quite an achievement. Aaron Gordon moved into third, a place better than the previous day, to complete the top three in a very competitive class.
Jordan Wright and Fred Adams had a two-day battle in the Clubman class. A little over 20 seconds separated the pair on Saturday with victory for Wright and runner up for Adams with Danny Culkin a minute adrift in third.
Sunday saw another victory for Wright but he extended the gap to nearly a minute as Adams took second spot once again. Brad Rowland fended off Lewis ranger for third in class.
Rosie Rowett went into the final two rounds of the championship with four wins already to her credit. She didn’t disappoint on Saturday as she had a cracking ride to secure victory number 5. Fionn Griffiths made a rare sprint outing to take second place with Emily Hall in third.
The same order was repeated on Sunday and Rosie celebrated a clean sweep of victories to become ACU British Sprint Ladies Champion 2017. The season had been a steep learning curve but one that she took on and conquered with real enthusiasm.
The Under 16’s is always a treat to watch and this weekend was no different. Cole Cookland took control early on Saturday and rode to an impressive victory, nearly a minute clear of hard-charging Alfie Webb in second spot. Charlie Chater was clearly on a roll as he took third with better to come from the following day.
Cookland once again took the win but Chater’s never-say-die attitude saw him move to second in class following a string of fast runs. Webb still managed a top three spot and took third to complete the line-up.
A proper ‘old school’ name graced the Vets class; John Shirt. Mr Gas Gas himself, looking tanned, fit and raring to go. Considering he hasn’t ridden competitively for quite a while then second in class behind Andrew Reeves was pretty good going.
Reeves dominated the class on both days and rounded off a great finish to his Sprint season. Shirty took second on Saturday with Jonathan Tarr in third and with Shirty’s departure Saturday evening Tarr moved to second on Sunday with Andy Daniels third.
The Sportsman class was very unpredictable. Mark Hodges took a comfortable win on the opening day with 30 seconds to spare over Daryl Morris and Mike Erratt. Sunday saw Grant Thomas take the first position followed by Liam Nicklin with Hodges demoted to third.
Green Hall Farm was the perfect choice of venue to end this Championship series. It provided one of the best courses of the season and with the excellent weather conditions it was competitive and challenging.
A massive ‘Well Done’ to Fast Eddy and his crew for providing a top-notch series of event that have been diverse and competitive throughout.
Report by Tim Tighe