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The final rounds of the British BMX Series heralded more success for Great Britain's Olympic Academy Programme riders as they took the top spots in both the male and female elite and championship classes.
The series final stop was in Gosport, Hampshire where the elite men’s field featured 27 riders from the 620 entries. The first day’s competition saw Dan McBride on superb form and he took his first win of the year as he lead the race from start to finish with his customary smooth style.
The battle raged behind McBride as the elder statesman of the pack Laurence Mapp from Royston Rocket’s slipped into second around the first turn. As they headed toward the last couple of straights, the series point’s leader Curtis Manaton turned on the pressure and overcame Mapp to take second and secured the title.
Come day two’s main event and it was time for another first time winner for the year to come alive. Tre Whyte had struggled for a podium result all year and was looking hungry to close the season on a high. Off the gate Whyte made a fantastic start and got into his stride immediately, pulling a couple of bike lengths clear into the first berm. He sailed around the rest of the track with Ryan Stack in tow.
Stack closed down the gap toward the last straight but it was too late to catch Whyte. Rounding out the podium was Manchester’s Calum Strickland as he landed his best result of the year. “I didn't think I'd get my best result of the year at Gosport so I was happy to get third today! I enjoyed the track this year more than I thought I would,” Strickland said.
Also making the elite men’s final for the first time ever was Braintree’s Taylor Andrews who put in a valiant effort. “My first elite men’s final...best weekend for ages. Roll on the British Championships!”
The championship women’s class finals continued the “year’s best result” theme as two girls shared the top step of the podium for the first time in 2013. Bethany Shriever had stepped into the class at just 13 years old at the start of the year and has grown as a rider throughout the season.
Coming out of a second place finish at the previous round she was looking to make waves in the absence of the series winner Charlotte Green and on day one she lead from the gate to take her first win in the Championship class.
“Wow! First Championship women final win! Thanks for all the support from the people who believed in me.” Shriver said.
The second day’s racing saw the ‘hometown hero’ Ayesha McClelland take her first class win of the year in an epic battle with Shriever. As the drag-raced down the first straight, Shriever hit the front and looked in control of the pack.
McClelland though, was right on Shriever’s wheel and rode some technical lines through the penultimate straight to close the gap. As they hit the last turn McClelland saw a gap on the inside and banked the bike over hard through the corner to steal the spot in determined fashion. After the race Mclelland said “I was stoked yesterday but today has been one of the best days of my life!”
Jimmy Orena has had an unlucky season with mixed results in the championship men’s class that was won by Ash Davey. In the first day’s racing, Orena was dominant to remind the class of what he is capable of. Braden Bradford from Nottingham Outlaws put in a smooth lap for second with Peckham Challenger’s Dean Reeves in third.
Bradford was involved in all of the action again on day two. The class’ young gun Paddy Sharrock took the lead from the start, but Bradford was after him like a rocket. When Sharrock left a gap mid race, Bradford was on him and rode a strong corner to leave Sharrock struggling. Into the final corner, Sharrock made his move back to the front like he was on rails to astound Bradford in second and Mark Maddox from Wrekin in third.
Some of the highlights from the Challenge classes included Ethan Craik from Gosport completing a season’s clean sheet and remained unbeaten to retain his number one plate in the 10s.
The Hutt family taking a trio of national titles with Lucy in the 6 and under girls, Emily in the 9-10 girls and Matt in the 11 year old boys.
The 12s saw the home club’s Rhys Deans take his first national win on his local track in his first year of national competition. Norwich Flyer’s Alan Hill won the battle but lost the war in the Masters class as he took the win both days to lose out on the title by just 3.5 points to Gosport’s Simon Homans. The 30-39 cruiser class saw Bath’s Damien Mead take his first career win to round out his season with a solid second place in the class’ overall standings.
The Gosport club worked tirelessly to lay on a fine closing national event with an alternative track layout and great facilities. The British Championships will bring the curtain down on the season on 23-24 August at Perry Park, Birmingham.