Location: National BMX Centre
Event: 1-2 December 2012
BMX racing history was made at the National BMX Centre in Manchester when the first British Cycling Inter Regional BMX Competition took place.
The South West Region celebrate victory after two days of competition
All the regions from across the country fielded teams in the event which was the first of its kind and the competition was open to girls and boys from 13-18 years old. The weekend was split into a day of skills tests compromising of wheelies, manuals, back hops, bunny hops, sprint slaloms and a team time trial followed by a full race day to find the most competent all round region in the UK.
“For several years now we have looked at how we can help the coaches which will in turn raise the standard of the riders,” explained event organiser Jeremy Hayes, British Cycling’s BMX Olympic Development Coach.
“We knew if we did a regional session it brings those better riders together, it gives the club riders something to aspire to and also it gets club coaches working together and learning off each other instead of working in isolation.
“What would be the reason to have a regional session? Knowing that in other disciplines they have inter-regional events - having a regional team, bringing the team together and working together. This is where the concept came from.
“If you look at the process, they go to a local club and through their attendance and hard work at the club sessions they should be picked to go to regional sessions. From there you’ve got the Inter-Regional champs, you’ve got something for the kids to aim for and something to motivate and push them on. It shows the pathway.”
Day 1- Riders are put their paces with a series of technical skill tests
The riders passed around the skills stations in their regional teams and pushed themselves to the limit to do the most hops, highest pops, fastest sprints and longest wheelies. The team sprint followed the off track section where the teams were split down into the respective age and gender categories to race as a team for the fastest time around the prestigious indoor track.
Many different approaches to the event were used, some tried to use slipstreamining, some sent the slower riders off first with encouragement from the faster guys at the rear and some just went all out to get round as fast as they can. The best team approach was the South West’s 13-14 girls who maintained a super close formation to cross the line virtually together on both timed laps.
Following the full day of riding, the riders were given another opportunity to get some more practice in for the looming race day and the amateur and pro sections of the track were sessioned heavily by all the riders. Some of the younger riders stepped up to get the pro sections under their belts with mixed results.
Day 1 - Team time-trials encouraged communication between colleagues
“We asked the regions to run a couple of sessions and that would qualify them to the Inter-Regional,” Hayes commented. “The regions got behind it, they got to Manchester and it was a great success - the comradery through the teams, the way the coaches worked together. Each team had 21 riders, three coaches and a team manager.
“The regions pay a registration fee, all the teams get two nights’ accommodation, their food from Friday to Sunday. It’s a big commitment from the regions and us, but it’s worth it.
“It’s an opportunity for the coaches to practice taking the team away to an event, someone to manage that team. And it gives the riders the opportunity to belong to a team, they might not be on talent team and it gives them something to aspire to.”
“We had 140 people, everything gelled. I don’t think we could have asked for a better event.”
Jeremy Hayes, British Cycling BMX Olympic Development Coach
The race day came around and it was time to battle it out on the track for the remaining points towards the final team scores. A five moto format was decided to push the boundaries of the riders' endurance as well as skills. The 13-14 girls’ class saw the aforementioned South West team of Joanna Kistle, Megan Hopgood and Emily Green take control from the first moto and took maximum points in the class.
The boy’s class had Robert Jesson under pressure from the gate by EA’s secret weapon Ryan Hutchinson. Hutchinson has been a late starter to BMX after trying out a bit of fourcross and his inexperience got the better of him in the final when he drifted out wide on the first turn allowing the pack to force him out.
He dug in down the second straight but couldn’t find a gap and went down hard. Meanwhile at the front, SW’s Josh Moore and The Midlands Ben Carnhill battled it out for the 2nd and 3rd spots with EA’s Aaron Dalleywater coming back from a slow start to the day in 4th.
The South West girls were out in force again in the 15-16s as Becky Davies and Katie Yeates went 1-2 at the front of the field. The North’s first podium went to Kim Baptista who was riding up from 2012’s 11-12 girls to battle amongst the older riders and claim 3rd, a great feat from the youngster.
The North came alive in the boys A final which was a super hard fought battle. Ross Sharpe hit the front and didn’t look back whilst EA’s Lee Golder and his team mate Nathan Hastings got in each other’s way and ended up on the pro section, crashing out of the running. Harry Stickley did the business for the small team from The South and smoothed his way to 2nd ahead of the super stylish Callum Dalby reinforcing the points for the North.
Day 2 - Racing action in the National BMX Centre
The junior girl’s class was dominated again by the South West with their trump card Charlotte Green winning laps left, right and centre for the top score. Behind Green was 14 year old Alesi Tye who stepped up to battle the older girls to great effect as she tailed her Championship women team mate to take 2nd and send out a big signal to the girls in her class for 2013.
Natasha Bradley completed the podium for SW in a dominant performance from the girls in green. The last class of the competition was the junior men and 14 year old Paddy Sharrock rose to the occasion for the North and threw down some super fast and stylish laps for the win. The sole East Anglian in the super tough class was Braintree’s Chris Potter who made some moves around the turns to finish with a great performance in 2nd followed home by Jake Cornforth in 3rd from the South West.
Running alongside the Inter Regional competition was the open Elite class race which gave the kids a chance for a breather and an opportunity to watch the top riders in action. Scott Waterhouse was the man in charge of the class as he won the main from the gate, chased down by Billy Luckhurst in 2nd and that man again Paddy Sharrock styling his way to a solid 3rd ahead of some pretty big hitters including Cal Strickland who spun on the gate.
The points were totted up and the riders gathered for the presentation and the announcements were made. In fifth was the South with 147 points, 4th went to EA with 260 who were just 5 points behind the Midlands in 3rd. Then the premier spots were announced and it was the South West who had surged ahead of The North with 383 to 292 to take the first Inter-Regional trophy.
“We had 140 people, everything gelled. I don’t think we could have asked for a better event,” said Hayes. “The riders were asking when the next one is. More importantly, the coaches have already started to organise regional sessions.
“From this event now we can start to plan the event, get some feedback and hopefully make an even better event next year."