British BMX Series commentator Rich Eames talks us through the opening night’s action…
People talk about pivotal years for certain sports and how important those years can be but I've never used the words 'pivotal year' and 'BMX racing' in the same sentence until now.
Above: Richard Robotham's Images from Supercross and National Series Round 1
More pics - Team Identiti images
With the London Olympics upon us, the BMX World Championships in Birmingham and BMX racing going indoors at Manchester we have reached three major milestones in the UK. The first of these was round one of the national series held at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester.
On a tough and demanding track there were world championships qualification places at stake which brought a lot of old/retired/ex riders out of the woodwork. The knock on of this is that rider numbers increase! We had over 700 riders for the first race of the year and that is massive. So let's see what went down at the first race of the year.
The 6 and under boys had 17 riders and it was Dexter Phillips who took the win from Ryder Joyce and Louie Fernihough who both had birthdays in the days around the race making them BMX veterans at the ripe old age of six! Felix 'Micro' Twitchett was going well but a crash derailed him in the final. In the 7's there was another Twitchett and that was older brother Rupert aka 'Mini' Twitchett who took the win from club mate and current 01 Jacob Murray and Lucas
Craik of Gosport. These guys are the future of BMX racing in the UK and I love watching them, great racing guys!!
I'm not sure what Jamie Duffy gives his son Ethan for breakfast on race day but it obviously contains rocket fuel! Ethan just stormed it all day long but it wasn't without pressure from Crupi's Jack Hawkins and the ever consistent William Goode. Big shout out for Benjamin Perry who was desperately unlucky in his semi-final.
In the 9's Ethan Craik carried on his winning ways from Alex Brookes and Luke Shriever with 'Detective' Jack Nation coming in fourth for the Duchy massive. This class had, wait for it, 47 riders! Can you imagine how rad this class will be in a few years time? I have no idea who
Jamar Thomas is but he soon made himself known in the 10's by winning all his races and leaving established riders like Ryan Brookes and Matty Harman wondering what they have to do to beat him. A special shout out to Ashton Cross from Birmingham who made his first national final after three years of trying and Harvey Howard who was riding really well till he crashed in the semi-finals.
Lochlan Dudley took the 11's from Pure's Josh Peters and a fast improving Jacob Watkinson. Ted Dalleywater was rocking in the motos but couldn’t quite convert it come final time and ended up seventh. The 12's is rapidly becoming a must watch class with Euan Hunt, Shay Casey and Ross Cullen looking they should be in a Supercross final. They were all winning races through the day but it was Euan who made it happen in the final, but don't count out Lewis Locker and Owen Poulter if these guys ever slip up.
Harley Taylor came back from a bike malfunction on cruiser to win his 20 inch class (13's) Ethan Vernon and Eddie Moore were right in there though and this class is no cake walk by any means. I expect the wins to be split amongst them as the year goes on. I have no idea what happened to Gideon Orena who only did one moto. Most strange! The 14's contains some class riders in the form of Kye White, Josh Moore, Lee Golder, Aaron Dalleywater and Love not Money new boy
Scott 'Dad, get off Twitter' Dominguez. Lee Golder pulled a top move in the final to take the spoils with Kye second and Josh third. I predict lots of action as the year rolls on. The 15's saw Jake Power taking his new Identiti Krisis bike to the win from birthday boy Roy Jones and a very rapid Ross Sharp. If Ross gets as quick as his dad then there will be trouble in this class for sure....
The 16's saw Dialled Bikes rider Jordan Hatcher shredding the class up with the only person close enough being Paddy Sharrock and his truckload of skills. Unfortunately Paddy got stuck in the pack and try as he may he couldn't catch Jordan and ran out of real estate before he reached the line. The battles these two will have will be brilliant, mark my words! The 17-24 category has seen some elites dropping back down, guys like Billy Luckhurst and Ash Davey who made up two of the top three separated by Jordan Smith with Jack Hall being close by to. This class had 52 riders on the day, that's immense and the standard is sky high especially when the likes of Mark Maddox and Dom Skidmore don't make the main you know it’s tough.
Shaun Fry continued his impressive comeback by finally getting a new helmet to replace that bucket he'd been wearing since 1998 and keeping the likes of Rob Reed, Andy Little and John Lillingstone at bay in the final. Lee Baker has returned to BMX which was really good to see and demonstrated his impressive pick up manual skills on the second straight. Even Rikki Gunner is back on a track which is akin to Lord Lucan racing the Grand National on Shergar whilst simultaneously splitting the atom with his big toe. Will he last the season? Couldn't possibly say...!
Masters was just insane and for me is best described as 'elite men 1996' with the likes of Holmes, Reidy, Fleming, Clayton and Hill in the mix. Hilly didn't even make the main and Alex Dick rode an aluminium bike in full race kit which hasn't happened for a good ten years. The trail gods are preparing to throw lightening bolts as I write this! Come the main and Dale Holmes fought off jet lag to take a well planned win. Well planned? You could see Dale doing the bare minimum in the motos to preserve energy and he just turned it on when it counted in the semi and the final. He only really needed to win one lap and he won two including the semi-final.
Smart riding from the BMX podcast icon, take note kids!! We just need Matt Boyle in the place now and we've got ourselves a party!!
Veterans saw Pete Power racing in full race kit (more lightning bolts) and taking the win for Team Identiti followed by Tim Phelps, Kev Blackman and Clive Hawkins. Neil Stewart took sixth and Phil Charnley was on it for seventh. Darren O'Brien had a massive loop out which left him battered and sore and in eighth place.
Junior men saw the riders hitting the pro section for the first time with mixed results, Quillian Isidore made it look easy as he flowed to a win followed by Toby Bearne and Dan Pullen. Jordan Perry took his Meybo to a fourth place. Nathaniel Campbell had a massive off on the pro section which left him being treated by the medics and looking worse for wear. Jimmy Orena wrecked in his first moto after unclipping on the first straight and Jacob Roberts broke his collarbone on Friday whilst practicing. Junior men is no joke!
In the girls classes Isabella Hurry won the 6 and unders from Sienna Harvey and birthday girl Ella Foster. Emily Hutt won 7-8 girls from Emma Jeffers. Imogen Hill took the 9-10 class from Emily Brannan and Emily Ruth Orena with an improving Izzy Hines in the mix. Kim Baptista took the 11-12 class from Ellie Jo Chappell and Mary Johnson and Elena Stafford. Libby Smith took a harsh crash in the final, let's hope she's OK.
In 13-14 girls Alesi Tye was the winner with Beth Shriever jumping her way to second and Blaine Ridge Davies third in 15-16 girls it looked like Molly Dobson's day till Jenny Noble spoiled the party and the frustration was visible as she crossed the line. The 17-29 went to Amelia Silvestere and Nikki Spiers started her 28th consecutive season of racing (yes, 28th season) with a win in 30+ ladies. She makes Paul Scholes look like a pup in comparison!
Cruisers are getting more riders as the worlds approaches. Josh Coppin took the 9-12 class from Kim Baptista and Paddy Sharrock took the 13-14 class from Scott Dominguez. Roy 'the boy' Jones won a five rider 15-16 cruiser class. Jack Hall took the 17-29 class from Toby Bearne and Dan Pople. The 30-34 class saw Simon Homans overcoming an early scare to take the points. It’s the older cruiser classes where the interest lies! The 35-39 race saw a rejuvenated Martin Ogden up front with Glyn Cartwright and Paul Eccles in the two and three spots.
The 40-44 cruiser is nuts! Ian Sharp, Alan Hill, Karl Sanderson, Nigel Page, Sean Field, Posh Boy Christie, Pete Butler and Brett Archibald tore it up in the final. Who cares about the result when the action is hotter than a madras curry on a bonfire! If you must know, Sharpy won. It’s coming to something when world number five Clive Hawkins doesn't make the main. Is Jeremy Hayes 45? Really? I thought he was the Cliff Richard of BMX and sponsored by an anti-aging cream manufacturer. Keith Wilson might look like he had a hard paper round but was slick enough to squeeze past Jez/Cliff on the third straight and hold it to the line. Take that pretty boy!
And finally... the elite! The injured list was long before we even got going - Tom Palmer, Curtis Manaton, Jordan Hayes and Andy Clucas were all wrecked before racing even began with Sifiso Nhalapo only making it to turn one in his first moto and Nik Lausten from Denmark taking a beating in a crash too. By main time it was a mix of established elites and new boys. Liam Phillips made up for the disappointment of Saturday's Supercross by taking the win from Coach Bloomy and Kelvin Batey. Moreten Therklidsen was fourth and Euro stalwart Arnaud Dubois fifth.
GB young guns Dan McBride, Cal Strickland and Kyle Evans were sixth, seventh and eighth respectively in a rock hard class. You can see how much the younger GB guys have improved with the facility they have to train on and this can only mean good things for 2012 and beyond.
So that was it, round one of 2012 in the bag. We're back in Manchester for round two in a month's time. See you there!
Liam Phillips took second spot in the Elite Men’s category in the Supercross on the eve of the opening round of the 2012 National Series at the new indoor track at Manchester’s National Cycling Centre on Saturday.
Phillips, the 22-year-old from Manchester who rides for Burnham BMX Club, was only beaten by Jelle Van Gorkom of the Netherlands on the opening day, while South African Sifiso Nhlapo took third.
And over in the women’s category, the Dutch dominated the top three spots with riders first, second and third – although National Champion and Olympic Development Programme member Charlotte Green from Cornwall was not far behind in fourth.
A big crowd was present to witness the opening round at the new venue, which went down well with British and foreign riders alike and helped generate a great atmosphere.
Other highlights included a strong performance from GB’s Kyle Evans in the motos, while the track claimed a few victims in both men’s and women’s racing.
1 Jelle Van Gorkom (NED)
2 Liam Phillips (GB)
3 Sifiso Nhlapo (RSA)
1 Merle Van Bentham (NED)
2 Laura Smulders (NED)
3 Maartje Hereijgers (NED)
4 Charlotte Green (GB)
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.