Sunday 19 November saw Diss MCC run the seventh and final round of the ACU BEC for 2017 with a full house of 200 riders ready to face the final BEC challenge for 2017.
Championship class riders started their day at 8:45am with back to back tests on the fast flowing sandy terrain of Thetford Forest. With a sharp overnight frost riders were greeted to a chilly start to the event. But there was drama on the start line with Danny McCanney 250 Rockstar Factory Husqvarna failing to cross the 20 metre line incurring 20 penalty points. With frost on the test the level of grip was going to be difficult to judge but Danny showed his ability and determination winning the first test in style. Brad Freeman on the 300 Boana Factory Beta was second but he was trailing by 8.5 seconds... Josh Gotts on his Lasermaster/Electraction TM was in a strong third with national MX1 star Elliott Banks Browne showing his speed in the woods in fourth with Jack Edmondson in fifth.
As soon as the last championship rider finished they were straight back for ST2. McCanney proved he meant business as he was again fastest pulling another 6.5 seconds from Freeman - it was clear that McCanney was riding at his very best to overcome the 20 second handicap as quickly as possible. Behind these two Alex Snow posted third fastest time on his 450 Buildbase Honda. Banks Browne again posted fourth fastest time with Gotts slotting in fifth. After the two tests McCanney had pulled 15 seconds from second placed Freeman so was 5 seconds down with start penalty included - he could sense that a third Muntjac victory (having already won in 2014 and 2016) was possible. Freeman was in a solid second over 8 seconds clear of Gotts from Banks Browne, Edmondson and Snow with less than 2 seconds between fourth and sixth placed riders.
So after their early double header championship riders then headed off to ride their first 20 mile lap.
When they returned at the start of their second lap the test was well run in with 200 plus riders having made their mark. And McCanney again showed his dominance – with his third test again almost 6 seconds faster than Freeman. Gotts was just faster than Snow and Todd Kellett (350 St. Blazey Husqvarna) slotted into fifth. This meant McCanney was now nearly 18 seconds clear with 4 tests still to run. Freeman was in a solid second position with Gotts almost 6 seconds ahead of Snow and Jack Edmondson in fifth.
An hour later the championship boys were back and McCanney carried on where he’d left off with his fourth test win, this time almost 6 seconds faster than Freeman. Snow was a second faster than Gotts and Joe Wootton 450 Freestyle Husqvarna was fifth fastest. The top four overall were unchanged but with Edmondson retiring after an off on the going Banks Browne moved up to fifth.
Instead of riding the fourth lap championship riders were faced with three back to back tests and these shook the middle order up. Gotts who had been holding a comfortable third made a mistake on his sixth test which dropped him to sixth with Banks Browne rising to fourth and Kellett to fifth.
However that wasn’t the end as the last two laps of the going would see championship riders asked to up their pace with a 44 minute penultimate lap and just 37 minutes for their final lap.
McCanney, Freeman and Gotts came in with 2 minutes to spare, Fraser Flockhart, Kellett and Snow were amongst a small group who came in with a minute to spare but Banks Browne did not appear – he had run out of fuel close to the end of the lap, losing him an almost certain fourth place.
So in the final analysis Danny McCanney proved his superiority on the day winning his third Muntjac title almost 30 seconds clear of Brad Freeman who in turn had done more than enough to secure his British Championship win. Alex Snow whose results have improved all season finished in a strong third with Kellett placing as best motocross rider in fourth. Both Banks Browne and Kellett commented on the amazing pace of the world class enduro riders and they weren’t slow!! After his mistake on test 6 Gotts ended the day in fifth but showed he has the pace to be on the podium too. Eastern centre motocross star, Luke Parker had a great day slotting in to 10th
place in only his second enduro – and is likely to ride enduros more regularly next year.
The first expert test showed the intense competition that would run through their three tests. Aaron Gordon 125 Husky Sport Husqvarna was fastest just under a second faster than Jon Hunt 250 MRS Sherlock with Sudbury's Will Hughes in a great third just 3 seconds down on Hunt with BEC front runners Brad King 350 K4 Husqvarna in fifth, Alex Walton 125 Steve Plain KTM in seventh and Jay Thomas 250 Steve Plain Yamaha in eighth.
The second test saw Hunt fastest from Gordon and Jed Etchells 300 MPS Sherco in third but Gordon was still in the overall lead from Hunt but now by just under half a second. Etchells was five seconds back with Walton, King and Thomas rounding out the top six. The third test saw Hunt take the lead by four seconds from Gordon but the remainder of the top six remained unchanged. They all went clean on the going so this was the finish order too.
In the clubman class Ryan Comer – 125 KTM took top honour by just under 2 seconds from Max Ditchfield 125 KTM. Only 9 riders out of the 65 finishers in this class cleaned the 41 minute time allowance on the last lap. In 3rd
was Allyn Taylor 250 KTM, and 4th
local Eastern Centre star Dan Willis on a 250 Honda.
In the Ladies Class a great entry of 7 riders entered and all managed to finish with Rosie Rowett -125 Husky taking overall honours with 4 minutes lost. Similar to Danny McCanney she suffered a start penalty of 20 seconds but this did not deter her and she was a full 2 minutes faster over the 18 mile lap than runner up Neive Holmes - 250 Sherco who had delivered the best test times.
In the Vets Over 40 Scotsman Richard Hay – 150 KTM in his 30th
year competing in the BEC took top honours from Rob Warner – 125 Yamaha, and in 3rd
former ISDE Trophy Rider from the Isle of Man Russ Millward – 249 Yamaha. These rider were the only 3 to remain clan on time. Julian Harvey, multi eastern centre trial champion was third fastest on the tests but dropped to fourth with a minute lost on that last lap.
In the Vets over 50 the check times proved to be too tight for all riders but Eastern Centre Rider Paul Spurgeon came out on top with the best overall test times and an equal loss of 3 minutes on the check times with runner up Jack Twentyman 300 KTM. In 3rd
place with 4 minutes lost was Paul Davies – 300 Beta.
Overall, the event was a fitting end to the 2017 BEC season, with great competition throughout the classes. The weather was very cold but it stayed sunny and dry all weekend which made the going much dryer than normal however despite this the course did cut up adding to the challenge for the riders.
Clerk of the course, Andy Waters had set a great course with times to allow riders a clean run at the test and challenging check times ensuring that the event is not just about fast times on the special tests. Whilst it seems Diss MCC may not be offered a BEC round in 2018 for the first time in 31 years (with a clash with ISDE) the 2018 event will still go ahead as usual with different time allowance for the ladies and Over 50s to make the laps times more manageable.
As ever, Diss MCC would like to say a special thanks to all marshals, helpers and supporters who made the event possible and to GH Motorycles and G&B Finch for sponsoring the Muntjac and the ACU Eastern enduro championship again this year.
Report by Richard Snowden
Championship – top 10
Brad Freeman U23
Todd Kellett U23
Lee Sealey U23
Thomas Ellwood U23
Luke Parker U23
Expert – top 10
Jon Hunt U23
Aaron Gordon U23
Jed Etchells U23
Alex Walton U23
Ben Clark U23
250 Gas Gas/2
Clubman – top 10
300 Gas Gas/2
Women – top 5
Vets over 40 – top 10
300 Gas Gas/4
Vets over 50 – top 5