‘It was really hard work, one of the hardest yet with no let-up, my hands are wrecked!’ said Red Bull KTM factory rider Jonny Walker following his outstanding win at the third round of the ACU British Extreme Enduro Championship last Sunday, which sees him lead the championship with two rounds left to go. Eurotek KTM’s Travis Teasdale was runner-up as Jonathan Richardson secured third, replicating the results from the second round at Cowm.
This was just what head honcho Paul Edmondson and his Chief track builder, former European Enduro Champion Tom Sagar, had planned. A tough course, helped in part by the unforgiving natural terrain, but also a very physical and intense track with no place to rest. Jim Pascoe, Clerk of the Course called it the most challenging track at H20 for a long time and stated that most of the riders, albeit a handful of championship riders, found it really tough going.
The weather was very kind, providing a dry day with sunshine and a course which was wet in places, dry, sometimes dusty, in others but designed to test all levels of rider to their maximum. The H2O event succeeded on all counts with a cracking entry list and a course that truly was extreme with a mix of everything thrown in including an ‘off-camber’ section that simply isn’t justified by the term off-camber. Add to that a stream section and more climbs and descents saw a much harder challenge for the 100 plus riders who chose to test themselves at such an exceptional venue.
The single race, lasting two and a half hours, began at 11.00am with the Pro Championship class riders blasting off the line and heading straight across the field instead of the traditional start route, through a ravine and into the woods. Sagar had created both hard and easy routes; the hard route was hard even for pros whilst the easy route was hard for the Youth and Sportsman riders.
Despite a bad start, Jonny Walker took the lead on the opening lap followed by Jonathan Richardson and Travis Teasdale. Walker never relinquished the lead and it was plain sailing from that point on. He was never challenged and had amassed a two and a half minute lead at the end of race, on 11 laps, averaging 14 minutes a lap. Richardson dropped down to third on lap three, with Teasdale moving into second place and that’s how it stayed to the chequered flag, Richardson just missing out on 11 laps after making a few slip-ups. William Hoare and Charlie Frost rounded out the top five, both on 10 laps.
Gavin Houson returned to his winning ways, after missing out on the top three at Cowm. He put in a superb ride that saw him eighth overall mixed in amongst the pros and nailing the Expert Class. Jack Spencer was his closest competitor, two minutes behind in second with Dave wood third at the head of a very competitive
Expert class, all completing nine laps. Commiserations must go to the unluckiest rider of the day Stuart Mack. Disaster struck right from the off when he had to go straight to the pits to swap his wheel, never making it off the start. Undeterred, he ploughed on, working his way up the rankings until his chain came off on last lap, eventually finishing in 15th place.
Harold Crawford reigned supreme in the Elite vets despite facing stiff competition from Grant Churchwood, who led the class until the last two laps. Jason Pearce took third, three laps down on the top two. John Robb revelled in the tough conditions and nailed the Clubman class win ahead of Lee Thomas and Jason Hirst, whose first and second place in rounds one and two make him a strong contender for the Clubman title going forward.
Richard Moorhouse continued his domination of the Youth Class, putting in another outstanding performance to make it three wins out of three. His closest competitor was Jacob Wilson, a lap down in second and Doug Lote, three laps down, in third.
In the Sportsman Vets, Alex Owen put in another impressive performance, leading the field from the off and completing an extra lap to take the win, ahead of second place Mark Lodge and Ricky Tropman in third. Brodie Heyes secured his first Sportsman Victory whilst Kaylin Mchale and Ricky Ford took second and third Sportsman spots in a very tough race.
H2O proved to be an outstanding venue once again, providing a mixture of challenges and variety of terrain that more than tested the best of the best at possibly the toughest course of the series so far. The penultimate round of the series, Extreme Ravines, heads to Helmsley, North Yorkshire on 21st April 2019 and will see competitors take on the ultimate single lap extreme race, organised by Dirtbike Action.
Report by Vanessa Tighe Images by Tilde Tighe
1. Jonny Walker
2. Travis Teesdale
3. Jonathan Richardson
4. William Hoare
5. Charlie Frost
1. Gavin Houson
2. Jack Spencer
3. Dave Wood
1. Harold Crawford
2. Grant Churchwood
3. Jason Pearce
1. John Robb
2. Lee Thomas
3. Jason Hirst
1. Richard Moorhouse
2. Jacob Wilson
3. Doug Lote
1. Alex Owen
2. Mark Lodge
3. Ricky Tropman
1. Brodie Heyes
2. Kaylin Mchale
3. Ricky Ford