Jonny Walker pulled it out of the bag to take a hard-fought victory at Cowm Quarry last weekend at the rescheduled second round of the British Extreme Enduro Championship. The Red Bull KTM factory rider put in a determined performance and led the Championship field for the latter part of the gruelling two and a half hour event, after Par Homes’ Paul Bolton devastatingly crashed out of the lead in lap five. Eurotek KTM’s Travis Teesdale took the runner-up spot as Jonathan Richardson secured third.
Cowm Quarry had undergone many changes in the build-up to this event with a brand new course design and entrance to the top rock garden, which afforded the hoards of spectators a spectacular panoramic view of the course. Some of the sections looked easier but proved to be much harder while the addition of a wooded section and some nice off cambers for both races really twisted it up for the riders.
The course, as with Tong, ran in the same direction for both the morning and afternoon races. Although it would have been easy for the Fast Eddy crew to choose well-established paths and routes, they decided to tear up the map book and lay out something completely different.
With storm Freya threatening to derail the event, both races were brought forward to circumvent hazardous conditions. Nevertheless, biting wind and driving rain cutting across the venue made for a very tough challenge for all riders and crew alike in an event that was as tough as it gets.
The championship race began at 11.30 with a highly charged surge of riders battling their way through a tight first corner made up of tyres and cable drums; setting the chaotic tone for the rest of the race. It wasn’t until riders were clear of the start area that the racing really began.
Initially, it was a three-way battle between Walker, Teesdale and Bolton with Walker leading after the first lap after taking the holeshot. On lap three however, Walker slipped down into fourth after losing time detangling wire caught in his tyre. He recovered quickly and had moved up to second place by lap five, putting in two consecutive fast laps to close the gap.
Disaster struck Paul Bolton on lap five, when he fell foul of the slippery conditions and was forced to retire after suffering a hand injury. Travis Teesdale gladly received the gift of a jump up the leader board to top spot and enjoyed a lap at the front until Walker retook the lead in lap seven and never looked back, racking up 11 laps. Teesdale took second place, just over a minute behind Walker, with Jonathan Richardson, still recovering from a stomach bug, some seven minutes adrift in third. William Hoare and Sam Winterburn rounded out the top five, a lap down on the top three.
A significant group of Expert riders followed the Championship class home. Jack Spencer, who finished in an impressive 6th overall, took the
Expert win from Chris Windle and third placed Jack Challoner. Harold Crawford was the sole entrant in the Elite Vets Class whilst Luke Owen, who finished in first place ahead of Jason Hirst and Jamie Williams, dominated the Clubman class with all three completing eight laps.
The course was the toughest ever seen for the Youth, Vets and Sportsman riders but although a few spots proved tricky the course was never altered or sections cut. Riders simply had to get on with it, which they did, much to their credit.
Youth and enthusiasm overcame age and experience as Richard Moorhouse dominated the morning race to take both the overall and Youth win, making it two wins out of two, a lap in front of the rest of his class. Doug Lote was a lap down in second with Jacob Wilson completing the top three. In the hotly contested Sportsman Vets, it was Alex Owen who took top spot, making it a very successful day for the Owen family, in front of second place Anthony Crowe who led the race for the first lap and Mark Lodge in third.
James Marwood completed seven laps to take the win in the Sportsman class with Chris Tennant three minutes behind in second place and Brodie Heyes completing the Sportsman podium line-up.
A massive well-done to Fast Eddy and his dedicated but frozen crew, who spent the week at Cowm building a superb course, assisted hugely by John Whittle and his big machines. The third round will take place at H20, Selattyn, nr Oswestry on Sunday 24th March.
Report by Vanessa Tighe & Images by Tilde Tighe
1. Richard Moorhouse
2. Doug Lote
3. Jacob Wilson
1. Alex Owen
2. Anthony Crowe
3. Mark Lodge
1. James Marwood
2. Chris Tennant
3. Brodie Heyes
1. Jonny Walker
2. Travis Teesdale
3. Jonathan Richardson
4. William Hoare
5. Sam Winterburn
1. Jack Spencer
2. Chris Windle
3. Jack Challoner
1. Harold Crawford
1. Luke Owen
2. Jason Hirst
3. Jamie Williams