BMX: Manaton on form at British Cycling BMX Series Rounds 2 and 3

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Location: Cyclopark, Gravesend, Kent
Event: 27-28 April 2013
Report: Julian Allen
Photos: Spencer Moret
Video: Corinne Walder


The British Cycling Olympic Development Academy team rider Curtis Manaton put in dominant performances at Cyclopark, Kent this weekend at rounds two and three of the British Cycling BMX Series.

Controversy reigned at the start of Saturday’s race when Manaton sat his bike on the concrete aside the pad on the gate through fear of a wheel spin after an earlier rainstorm and the start Marshall had to check with the Chief Commissaire that the situation was legal.

Once it was decided it was, the start sequence commenced and Manaton was away from the gate like a rocket with team mate Kyle Evans hot on his wheel throughout the track.

Down the last straight Evans was working hard to make up ground, but Manaton had the super technical track well under control as he went manual to hop on the last couple of jumps to make the big lunge for line and take the win from Evans. The third step of the podium went to Dan McBride who had to contend with Team Irelands Kelvin Batey in his first show of the year.

It was Manaton and Evans again who hit the front for Sunday’s race, this time Evans had a five bike lead by the halfway point but Manaton was on fire, making ground every inch of the way to take the win by half a wheel after nose diving off the last jump and nearly throwing it all away.

After racing, Manaton tweeted: “Nice to pick up two wins at Cyclopark national. Great weekend’s racing with all the academy guys and the other elites. Enjoyed the sun today!”

Fellow Academy rider Grant Hill made up for missing out on the final on day one, to take third in Sunday’s main event just ahead of the young gun of the team Quillan Isidore who was checking his track position and changing direction whilst in the air in the semi final to get the best line for the last corner on his way to the main event.

The Championship Women’s class was just as exciting with the two Olympic Development Programme riders going head to head on both days.

Day one was all about Charlotte Green who rides for series sponsor Identiti BMX race team. Green was in a class of her own as she flew over the jumps on the first straight, taking a commanding position in the first berm and not looking back as she took her first win of the year in the class. Abbie Taylor was up with Green to the first berm but lost momentum and a place to the Talent teams’ young gun Bethany Shriever.

Shriever who is riding up in the class at only 14 years old put in an amazing performance in only her second race at this level and lead Taylor all the way to the last straight when Taylor was just too strong and made second her own with Shriever in third and a well-deserved podium.

Shriever said: “I’m over the moon, can't put it in to words how I feel!”

Come day two and Taylor was hungry for a win, but Green was the leader through turn one and pulled a lead down the second straight. Through the last turn Taylor started to line up a charge to the line and when Green bobbled on the penultimate roller Taylor smoothed her way past for round three’s win from Green in 2nd and Valerie Zebrokova doing the business in third.

The Championship men class hit the track and Mark Maddox hit the front of the pack. He led from the gate, dominating Saturday’s race ahead of Ash Davey who had to work some magic in the turns to overcome local rider Dean Reeves.

Come Sunday’s race and Davey was not in the mood for anything but a win, and he led the field from the start and pulling away to sit atop the current points standings in the class.

Cameron Jeffers did all the hard work to finish second after making a peach of a move on Maddox in the second berm and Dean Reeves wrapped up his weekend with another fourth saying: “Good results over the weekend with a lot of positives to take away ... not happy with today’s final but, ah well back to training for the next one!!”

Some of the highlights from the Challenge classes included eleven year old World Champ Ross Cullen taking two wins in the under-13s after coming back from last place on the first straight on day one.

Brixton’s Nic Preece came back from a crash that caused him a punctured lung only eight weeks ago to win both days in the 45+ cruisers.

Doing a double-double was Gosport’s Simon Homans who won both the 30-39 cruiser class and Masters in a great display of both powerful and technical riding.

Jordan Smith back in his winning ways in round three in the 17-29s after recovering from a broken back sustained at the 2012 British Championships and Libby Smith from Redditch in the 11-12 girls who won both days from Mid Lancs Ellie Jo-Chappell.

It was a great weekend’s racing at the newest venue on the calendar and a huge “pat on the back” must go to the event team who worked hard all weekend to make the race happen through sun, wind and even a hail storm.

The British Cycling BMX Series rounds 4 & 5 will be held at Perry Park, Birmingham on 25-26th May 2013. For more information, please visit the BMX series homepage.

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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.