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BMX European Championships Rounds 9 & 10
Perry Park, Birmingham
18 & 19 June 2011 | Report: James Tresman Images: Richard Robotham
The brand new Perry Park track in Birmingham hosted the ninth and tenth rounds of the 2011 European BMX Championships. Richard Robotham was on hand both days to capture the action in images. Full report from James Tresman below with video from Corrine Walder.
Day 2 | 9-10 Boys | 11-12 Boys | 13-14 Boys | 13-14 Girls | 15+ Female | 15-16 Boys | 17-24 Men | 25-29 Men | 30+ Men | 40-44 Cruiser | Elite Men Semi 1 | Elite Men Semi 2 | Elite Women Final | Junior Men Semi 1 | Junior Men Semi 2 | Junior Men Final | Junior Women Final |
The fabulous new facility at Perry Park played host to Rounds 9 and 10 of the UEC European BMX Series this weekend, with riders from across Europe making the trip. The track, built by the UK's Clark and Kent Contractors, is part of major investment in the sport and is an important aspect of the legacy of Birmingham's hosting of the 2012 UCI World Championships.
Having already taken in rounds in Belgium, France, The Czech Republic and Switzerland, the action in Birmingham was the penultimate rounds for the Elite riders and gave those in the Challenge classes the chance to test their mettle against a higher level of competition than in domestic racing.
Intermittent rain showers didn't dampen the enthusiasm of riders and spectators and the track shrugged off the rain. With a 5 metre start hill and pro section option on the second straight, the track lived up to its billing as truly top class.
Highlights of Round 9's Challenge action included the tight racing in the 40+ Cruiser class which was stacked with Brett Archibald and Tony Fleming looking good in motos but edged out in the final by Dutchman Gerben Doorland who made a great move on "Flemdog" in the second berm after the British rider got the holeshot.
Elena Stafford in 9/10 Girls impressed with her win as did club and team-mate Ross Cullen who came out on top in a tough 9/10 Boys class, trailing Latvian rider Eduards Glazers all the way until smooth manuals down the last straight took allowed the Preston rider to pass his rival just before the line.
11/12 Boys was another tough class, with riders from Germany, Holland, Latvia, France and the UK all represented. Victory went to Germany's Axel Webster with our own Harley Taylor a well earned second. 13/14 Girls featured a very international field too with victory going to Switzerland's Christelle Boivin. The UK's Valerie Zebrokova took 4th, with Antonia Rickett 6th, Jenny Noble 7th and Lauren Stack 8th. Racing such tough competition will undoubtedly bring out the best in our riders.
Paddy Sharrock got an excellent 2nd in 13/14 Boys, behind Dutch rider Harrie Lavreysen. Jack Clarke and Oliver Webley acquitted themselves well and also made the main finishing 7th and 8th respectively. Quillan Isidore rides up in Junior Men at National level and has top three places to his credit, in the Euro's he rode in 15/16 Boys and finished a credible 5th in the main, which was won by Denmark's Chris Christensen. The standard of riders in the rest of Europe is incredibly high!
17/24 is a fast class at Nationals and at Euro level it gets even faster. Three UK riders made the final, with Tom Palmer the best of the bunch in 4th closely followed by team-mate Adam Brazil in 5th with Shaun Issitt in 8th. The victory went to Norway's Joakim Haarr.
A measure of how tough 25/29 was is the fact that winner Rick Van Den Dikkenberg from Holland rode Elite at last year's British Championships! Actual Brits Shaun Fry, Danny Heath and Mike Pinnock finished 6th, 7th and 8th in the main. The level of competition in 30+ was boosted by World Masters Champion Marco Dell'Isola who took the win, followed by Hungary's Zoltan Buday who is UK based and competes in Masters at Nationals.
In Junior Women the UK had two riders used to having things all their own way in domestic racing; Charlotte Green and Abbie Taylor. Abbie looked on fine form in motos, leading the pack and getting a couple of wins. Charlotte was in the mix but was having a harder time of it as were Ayesha McLelland and Amelia Silvestre, but both Abbie and Charlotte made the main. Holland's Laure Smulders who competes on the Supercross circuit took the win, with Charlotte a determined 7th and Abbie 8th. From her form in motos this was a disappointing result for Abbie but she certainly showed she has the potential to lead this pack.
Junior Men drew a large contingent of riders and featured the best of our young talent. Kyle Evans, Grant Hill, Dan McBride, Jordan Hayes and Curtis Manaton were all impressing in motos with Kyle and Dan taking wins and Curtis, Grant and Jordan all looking solid. Tre Whyte was leading a moto but went over the bars in the pro section and ended his challenge for the day. Other Brits Jack Smallpiece, Toby Bearne, Ben Clarkson, Michael Cummins, Jack Hall and Dom Skidmore were also getting a taste of the tough competition at this level but couldn't get out of motos.
Jordan got the dreaded 5th in his quarter, Kyle unclipped on the first straight but didn't panic and a virtuoso performance on the pro section got him back into 4th place and into the semis. From there, only Dan made it to the main, the level of competition is that high! Unfortunately he went sideways in the air over the last jump on the pro section and had a hard landing; thankfully he walked off the track under his own steam. The final was all about Australian sensation Darryn Goodwin.
Smooth, fast and with superb set of bike handling skills, Darryn had the crowd enthralled as he cruised through motos and into the final. He didn't have it all his own way though as Switzerland's Romain Tanniger and Norwegian Fredrik Olsen weren't about to let him ride away with an easy win. In the final Darryn looked well out of it until a textbook swoop in the final berm took him past his rivals to the win and the delight of the crowd. Sheer talent.
Elite Women saw the UK's Shanaze Reade resplendent in the rainbow jersey of the current World Champion; she did the jersey proud taking a win in her first moto. Lithuanian rider Vilma Rimsaite looked strong but French duo Manon Valentino and Magalie Pottier were looking in ominously good form; Pottier was hard on Shanaze's heels in motos, even putting a move on her in the wide open second berm to take a moto win. Czech riders Jana Horakova and Romana Labounkova were also in the mix, and with Valentino and Labounkova showing their pedigree on the Supercross circuit this season, the final, at least on paper, seemed open.
When the gate dropped it was immediately clear that Shanaze wasn't going to let the win be in doubt; she stormed down the first straight moving over to the inside to cut off her rivals and had established a comfortable lead by mid-point of the second straight and it was all over. The World Champion took the win, with Horakova and Labounkova 2nd and 3rd respectively.
The Elite Men's field featured the very best European riders, many of whom are at the top level of the sport at World level. France's Joris Daudet came into the weekend having claimed victory in every previous round. What's more, he hadn't even lost a lap in the UEC Series heading into Birmingham. Dominant sums his performance up nicely.
Brits Cal Strickland, Scott Waterhouse, Billy Luckhurst and Dan Whyte stepped up to the highest level of competition but despite some determined riding none made it out of motos. Scott came closest with some aggressive moves but they shouldn't feel downhearted about it as they were joined on the sidelines by riders of the calibre of Damien Godet, a contender at World Cup level.
Kelvin Batey may now ride in Irish colours but he still is a British favourite and no matter which flag he was flying had support in the crowd. He achieved his best result in some time by making the main. Dutch rider Jelle van Gorkom was coming off a 2nd place at the recent Supercross in Papendal and looked to be riding at the top of his game.
Latvian Edzus Treimanis is his country's top contender whilst World Champ Maris Strombergs recovers from a serious injury; he was also flying at Birmingham. Frenchman Moana Moo-Caille may not have been a familiar face to many before this weekend but he should be after it with some brilliant riding on a very nice carbon fibre frame. Fellow Frenchman Thomas Hamon was another rider in obvious form.
Through motos, Joris continued his utter dominance of the men's racing this season. It cannot be stressed how impressive this is, with different tracks, sometimes difficult weather to contend with and the skill of dozens of the World's best riders all to contend with and yet Joris keeps winning. Every lap.
Saturday's final saw him take the win ahead of van Gorkom, with Moo-Caille 3rd, Hamon 4th Jordy van der Heijden 5th and Treimanis 6th. Kelvin got a well deserved 7th and Luis Brethauer showed Germany's growing presence at the top level with 8th.
Wind replaced rain as Mother Nature's choice of way to test the riders, but the sun had come out and bathed the grateful spectators for most of the day.
In 40+ Cruiser, Tony Fleming turned the tables on Dutch rival Gerben Doorland and took the win. Eleana Stafford and Ross Cullen made it a double for the weekend with fine wins. Harley Taylor was again bested by German Axel Webster in 11/12 Boys but all the Brits in the field raised their game to compete in the Euros. Ethan Vernon got an excellent 4th, with Eddie Moore 6th and Kye Whyte 7th.
13/14 Girls was again a very tough class, with a large international field of quality riders. Lauren Stack was the best of the home riders with 4th behind Dutch rider Merel Smulders, Saturday's winner Christelle Boivin and Belgium's Karo Vertessen. Valerie Zebrokova was 6th with Jenny Noble 7th. All fantastic experience for our young stars.
Paddy Sharrock will benefit just as much from being pushed at this level as the girls, he grabbed 2nd in 13/14 Boys which was taken by Harrie Lavreysen. Paddy was one of eight Brits to make semis, but Jordan Hatcher, Oli Webley, Harry Gray-Blest, Jake Power, Liam Brown, Roy Jones and Tom Novis all fell at this final hurdle.
15/16 Boys was just as difficult but we had two riders make the final. Ryan Stack finished a fantastic 5th with Quillan Isidore 8th. Holland got 1st and 3rd, with Italy's Nicholas Okoh splitting Mark Link and Jordi Schippers.
Norway had the podium sewn up with the top three spots in 17/24 going to Joakim Haarr, Snorre Floysvik and Tommy Kolnes. Shaun Issitt got an excellent 6th with Sean McGlade 7th.
Junior Women once again proved a real challenge for our home riders, with Ayesha McLelland, Amelia Silvestre and Charlotte Green all moto'd. Abbie Taylor once again looked strong in motos but couldn't get it together in the final, finishing 7th. The class was won by Elis Ligtlee, with Saturday's winner Laura Smulders 2nd.
Junior Men was intense! Crashes took down several riders in the first turn in a couple of motos, Jack Hall was hurt but Grant Hill escaped unscathed in his race.
Kyle Evans looked dominant in his motos, Grant put a fantastic lap together and holeshotted his 3rd moto for the win. Tre Whyte was trailing heading into the second berm in his 3rd moto but pulled off a great move in the second berm to take the lead which he held to the line. Curtis Manaton got a shoulder inside Darryn Goodwin entering the pro section and looked to take the lead but couldn't make it stick. This kind of racing from our Juniors had the crowd buzzing and shows the riders belong at this level.
Ben Clarkson was 7th in his last moto as the pack headed into the pro section, in an incredible display of skill and courage he attacked the straight with abandon and moved up to second, railing the berm on his back wheel to stay on track. Breathtaking.
Quarter finals saw Tre, Ben and Grant safely through, with Kyle battling on the 4th/5th place bubble but turning on the turbos to make it to the semi. Jordan was one of three riders to crash in his quarter but got up, got it together and got through.
In the semi's Kyle had gate 8 and was battling for 4th in the first turn when he got squeezed out, with no room to attack the pro section he had to roll the last part and his day was done. Curtis, Tre, Ben and Jordan were also out, leaving Grant to represent in the final. Darryn Goodwin was once again the rider leaving everyone else standing, with a fantastic ride to take the win. France had the rest of the podium with Thomas Doucet 2nd and Benjamin Janssens 3rd. Grant finished a fantastic 5th.
Elite Women was Shanaze's to lose, with more dominance she stamped her authority on the race and took the win. Her rivals must be left thinking what they can do to beat her, as on her day she has a blend of power and skill few seem able to match. It will be interesting to see how she fares against riders like New Zealander Sarah Walker who's been in great form and won the latest Supercross round in Papendal. French duo Manon Valentino and Magalie Pottier rounded out the podium.
It was another tough day at the office for the home Elite riders, Scott Waterhouse had been his battling self but was involved in a crash in the third moto that saw Kelvin Batey. Vincent Pelluard and Damien Godet all go down hard.
The others remounted and continued but Scott's day was over thanks to a damaged bike. He joined Cal Strickland, Dan Whyte and Billy Luckhurst as Elite's watching their class final from trackside. Credit our riders for competing at this level, but they're up against riders with factory team support or the backing of powerful national federations. The experience will doubtless raise their game.
Kelvin Batey aired slightly better but couldn't repeat Saturday's performance and went out in the quarters. The story of Sunday was much like Saturday; Joris Daudet dominates, others play chase the leader. The Frenchman was in a class of his own as he took the win, with countryman Moana Moo-Caille a fine 2nd and Edzus Treimanis 3rd.
With the racing done it was time for riders and spectators alike to pack up and leave, some with much further to go than others. It had been a brilliant event and firmly establishes Birmingham's place on the BMX map.