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2011 British BMX Series Rounds 1 & 2
Photographer Richard Robotham and videographer Corinne Walder were on hand as the 2011 British BMX Series got underway over the May Bank-holiday weekend at Peterborough and with cool but sunny conditions, conditions were great for racing. Check out the video and almost 300 images Richard came back with below.
Richard Robotham's Images (to buy prints etc, visit Richard's Website)
REPORT - by James Tresman
The event the community had been waiting for finally arrived after much anticipation; there were large crowds, great weather and the location had been groomed to perfection to ensure everything went well. Elsewhere, the Royal Wedding took place and apparently got a lot of media coverage. Yes, the big event I'm talking about is the return of the National Series with BMX racers turning up in record numbers to start the 2011 season.
Winter races fill a gap, but really they just whet the appetite of BMXers for the top level of domestic racing. 658 riders signed up on Saturday for Round 1, numbers that dwarf the turnout for the 2008 British Championships at the same track. With a much flatter start hill than most tracks, Peterborough requires a lot more pedalling, coupled with a technically demanding third straight this makes its 360 metres a real challenge.
The host club Phantoms had pulled out all the stops to put on the event and their hard work paid off; a well groomed track, ample spectator space and team area were complimented by the grandstand and commentary tower provided by series sponsors EA to make it a very professional affair.
ROUND 1: SATURDAY
New to Nationals this season is the Elite Men time trial on the Saturday of the double header. Already used in UCI Supercross races and potentially set to be an Olympic discipline, this gave the Elite riders the chance to show off their musical tastes and speed with a solo timed lap.
No stranger to qualifying through the TT at SX level, defending national Series Champion Marcus Bloomfield (Ultimate/Pro BMX) stopped the clock at 34.568. British Champion Kelvin Batey (Intense Route 55) was next best with 34.867 followed by Ultimate Pro BMX's Tre Whyte in 3rd with 34.896. The top 7 were separated by less than a second which shows how closely matched the riders are in terms of speed. When they're on the track together though it's another matter! The crowd would have to wait to see if the TT was an accurate form guide as the racing began as always with Cruisers and younger riders.
When the gate dropped the action was intense; Jimmy Orena (Redman Rockstar) was in fine form taking the win ahead of Big Daddy/Avent UK's Owen Baxter in 13-14's. Bradley Minns (Team Bunneys/O'Neal) won his battle with Redman Rockstar's Cameron Howard in 15-16's and Mark Maddox was the best of a very fast 17-29 bunch.
30-34 saw SE Racing's Dave Ives take the win ahead of Love Not Money - RSD Sports rider Roy Sutton. 35-39 is always competitive and saw some great action; Redline's Alan Hill continued his dominance in the class with a fine win ahead of SE Racing's Daz Reidy and Free Agent's Keith Bryceland. Last year's National Series Champ in 30-34 Neil Harbour (Dialled Bikes) won the B-Final.
40-44 Cruiser is a huge class, 38 riders signed up for Round 1, and it's fiercely contested. Ultimate Pro BMX's Clive Hawkins took the win with Ian Sharp looking ominously fast in 2nd. Dialled Bikes rider Keith Wilson beat Shaun Calvert to the line in 45+.
EA Pure's Ria Goodman won the female 17-29 Cruiser class with Kim Bent doing likewise in 30+.
On 20", in the youngest age group of all Round 1 honours went to Rupert Twitchett of Finelines Racing who edged UCC's Tyler Stephenson. Rupert's brother Felix also made the main coming home in 6th. Jack Hawkins was the man, well, boy to be accurate in 7 Boys, with Ethan Duffy racing brilliantly to 2nd.
Local girl Ella Foster put her home track knowledge to good use with a win in 6 & Under girls, with Redline's Emily Hutt looking super pro and fast with it taking the win in 7-8 Girls ahead of T&J Racing's Molly O'Loughlin.
8 Boys had 36 riders with Keon Smith-McDermott of Sharp Full-Speed BMX the best of the bunch. He took the win ahead of Intense Route 55 team-mates Ethan Craik and Alex Brookes. Despite their diminutive size, these guys can ride! Jumps, double manuals, these guys have the full set of skills.
Eleana Stafford dominated 9-10 Girls, taking the win for Sharp Full-Speed BMX. She pedalled to the line in every race, even when she had it won by several bike lengths. Very pro. Haro's Imogen Hill and Kaya Clay will keep her honest this season though.
Kobi Joyce took the maiden win for his new Big Daddy Avent UK squad in 9 Boys, in 10 Boys there looks to be a nice battle shaping up between Round 1 winner Joshua Coppin of MD Racing and runner up Ross Cullen of the Sharp Full-Speed BMX squad. EA Pure's Josh Peters who bagged 3rd will be in the mix too.
A pair of Peckham riders snared the top two spots in 11-12 Girls as Blaine Ridge-Davis and Katurah Davidson finished 1-2 with Bethany Shriever 3rd.
EA Pure's Ethan Vernon took the win in 11's ahead of Euan Hunt and Myles Fisher, but keep an eye on Love Not Money - RSD Sports rider Shay Casey who got 4th and Redman Rockstar's Gideon Orena who finished 5th; both have the talent to be contenders.
Aaron Dalleywater didn't lose a lap all day and added to EA Pure's win total in 12 Boys. Intense Route 55's Robert Jesson was top dog in 13 Boys but it's stacked so should be an exciting one to watch this year. EA Pure have an embarrassment of riches in the younger age classes with Paddy Sharrock emulating team-mate Aaron's results by taking the win and not losing a lap all day. He has always had sublime skills honed by trails but as he gets a little older he's starting to get more powerful. Rivals be warned!
Redline's Valerie Zebrokova showed a lot of promise last season and was in with a shot at winning the overall. This year she's returned stronger and dominated on the way to a fine win ahead of EA Pure's Lauren Stack on Saturday in 13-14 Girls. Bethany Campbell rides for the Phantoms and knows the track well, something she used to edge out Redman Rockstar's Angelica-Arena Orena for the win in 14-15 Girls.
In 15 Boys there's one rider who set the trackside ablaze with his riding; Jimmy Orena riding for Redman Rockstar was a revelation. He's always been fast but he took the win with blistering pace and riding up a class to boot. He went round Peterborough's long first berm like he was a rocket on rail tracks. Team Bunneys/O'Neal rider Reece Hoggatt got the win in 16 Boys, ahead of Redman Rockstar team-mates Cameron Howard and George Warner. This is a lightning quick class and the guys tore down the first straight like their lives depended on it.
17-24 is seen by many as a developing ground for future Elite riders, it proved so last year with Ash Davey and Billy Luckhurst both doing well then making the transition. Andy Clucas was 3rd overall last year and got picked up by Redline in the offseason. With a factory ride comes pressure, but Andy delivered and took the win ahead of Carlos Vasquez and Adam Turner. 25-29 is as physical as they come, with elbow to elbow racing in both rounds. Honours on Saturday went to Simon Homans with J&R Bicycles rider Ben Martinez 2nd and T&J's Michael Smart 3rd.
Masters has more talent than a Saturday night TV show as any class won by a former multiple World Champion proves. Dale Holmes got the win for Free Agent ahead of Redline's Alan Hill and Redman Rockstar's Zoltan Buday. Veterans is proving to be fast, exciting and hard to predict. Pete Power was tipped for the win but was the only rider to not snap when a call to hold the gate came too late to halt his semi final. After a discussion the race was re-run and Pete lived up to his surname with a commanding win.
Junior Men is a fertile breeding ground of talent, realistically any one of the finalists can be looked at as a solid future Elite prospect. The closely fought win went to Intense Route 55's Dom Skidmore, with One Bicycles rider Jack Hall 2nd and Jordan Perry of Team Bunneys/O'Neal 3rd. Championship Women saw Abbie Taylor resume her duel with EA Pure's Charlotte Green. Abbie delayed the start of the final complaining of a headset problem, it was dealt with and didn't seem to distract her, or indeed her rivals, as she took a close win from Charlotte whose team-mate Ria Goodman finished 3rd.
The line up for the main event was Kyle Evans, Ea Pure's Dan McBride, Intense Route 55's Kelvin Batey, Cal "Slick" Strickland (Free Agent), Scott Waterhouse (Clark & Kent Contractors), Haro's Grant Hill and Ultimate Pro BMX team-mates Marcus "Bloomy" Bloomfield and Curtis Manaton.
The gate dropped and the eight finalists blasted down the first straight, Bloomy had the lead with Dan and Cal in close attendance, Kelvin looked to have unclipped over the double and went left sending other riders flying like skittles as he went down. Kyle somehow avoided the carnage and hit the first berm right up there with Bloomy, Dan and Cal. Grant and Curtis recovered and gave chase but the lead four were gone and fought it out amongst themselves with Bloomy taking the win ahead of Cal, with Dan 3rd, Kyle 4th, Grant netting 5th and Curtis 6th. Scott Waterhouse took 7th and Kelvin 8th.
ROUND 2: SUNDAY
Leaving little time for recovery from the excitement and exertion of the previous day, Sunday started early with motos from 10am.
Rupert Twitchett did the double with a win on Sunday in 6 & Under boys with Jack Hawkins doing the same in 7's.
Ethan Craik went one better than his Round 1 performance with a win in 8 Boys on Sunday. In 6 & Under Girls Isabella Hurry lived up to her name with a fine win and in 7-8's Emily Hutt once again beat Molly O'Loughlin to the win. Kobi Joyce was yet another rider to double up in 9 Boys whilst Josh Peters was best of the bunch in 10 Boys. Gideon Orena relegated Round 1 winner Ethan Vernon to 2nd in 11 Boys. Aaron Dalleywater was in winning form again and added his name to the list of riders who left Peterborough with two wins, a list that also included Eleana Stafford who was in pro form again with the Round 2 win in 9-10 girls and Blaine Ridge-Davis and Valerie Zebrokova with wins in 11-12's and 13-14's respectively. In fact doubling up was a recurring theme at Peterborough; every male class from 12 Boys to Veterans and every female class from 7-8's to Championship featured the same winner as Round 1, with the exception of Junior Men which saw One Bicycles team rider Jack Hall breakthrough for a win and 15-16 Girls where Angelica-Arena Orena bettered her 2nd from Saturday.
On the big rigs, Cam Howard and Kieron Mcavoy bucked the trend with wins in 15-16 and 17-29, whilst Dave Ives did the double, again ahead of Roy Sutton who'd had a big off in his second moto which saw him lose a tooth. Alan Hill made it a weekend to remember with his second win in 35-39, to go with two 2nd places in Masters. Ian Sharp returned to the honour roll of National Series round winners with a fine win in 40-44 whilst Nic Preece got the victory in 45+.
The Elite Men final line up mirrored Saturday's apart from Ultimate Pro's Tre Whyte who was in the main ahead of Scott Waterhouse. Bloomy once again got out in front and stayed there across the line, with Dan McBride a fantastic 2nd and Kelvin salvaging something from the weekend with 3rd. Kyle took 4th again, with Cal 5th, Curtis 6th, Tre 7th and Grant 8th. Marcus now has 20 Elite wins at Nationals from 35 rounds entered, a tally that makes him the most prolific winner in recent years.
As the dust settled the feeling was of a fantastic start to the season; a great track, turnout and weekend of racing certainly sent the majority home looking forward to the next rounds which are at Dagenham on May 20th-22nd.
British Cycling would like to thank the organising team, officials and everyone else who helped promote this event. Our sport could not exist without the hundreds of people, many of them unpaid volunteers, who put in many hours of hard work running events, activities and clubs.