British BMX Championships
Location: Perry Park BMX Track, Birmingham
Event: 23-25 August 2013
Report: Julian Allen
Images: Spencer Moret
The curtain was brought down on the British Cycling BMX Series summer season as 1085 entries took part in the British Championships or 'The Brits' as it is affectionately known.
The event was held at Perry Park in Birmingham and there was some great success for the British Cycling Olympic Development Academy team and some heartache along the way.
The elite men’s class is always a showstopper and it was no different at this event as the final eight took to the gate. As the gate dropped and the riders snapped into the action, the world champion Liam Phillips unclipped and was left standing. With Phillips out of the race the pack surged down the first straight and it was Kyle Evans who took the £300 holeshot prize for the first man into the berm by a whisker.
Disaster struck for Evans though as the riders jockeyed for position into the pro straight and he went down taking Academy teammate Tre Whyte with him. Out of the melee came Dan McBride and he was looking on form to continue his winning streak from the last national round at Gosport. McBride flowed through the rest of the track and took his first British Elite title in fine style.
Following the race McBride beamed: “This is going to take a while to sink in. My first British championship win. It means so much and to give something back to everyone that’s supported and believed in me over the years is a great feeling”.
Scott Waterhouse scored a super popular second place and his best result of the season with Calum Strickland solid in third, equalling his best result at the final national round. Earlier in the day, Billy Luckhurst was unfortunate to miss out on the qualifying rounds and decided to wow the crowds by back flipping the biggest jump on the track. As he hit the jump at warp speed he under rotated and crashed heavily breaking his handlebars in spectacular fashion.
Completing a massively successful year in the championship women’s class was Charlotte Green who not only won the national title but won the British title too. Green was unbeaten all day long and come the final she dominated the race from start to finish. In second place was Joey Gough who fought off a recent hand injury to show the younger ladies in the class a few moves and commented: “I’m really happy to finish the season with a good ride to second place at the Brits. Next year it’ll be 30 years since I first rode a BMX track and I’ve no plans to stop any time soon”. The youngest in the class was Bethany Shriever and she added to her first class win at the last national round to take the third step of the podium after a great battle with Ayesha Mclelland throughout the race.
The championship men’s class was all about one rider, Jacob Roberts. Roberts had missed the early part of the season through injury and his comeback was steady but progressive. Though the year his results have stepped up and up and he was favourite for the win after going unbeaten through the heats. As the gate dropped he was away and he showed a superb level of technical ability as he negotiated the unforgiving track.
Smoothly and untroubled he took the win from the class youngster Paddy Sharrock in second and Braden Bradford who had fought through the pack following a poor start to the race took a well deserved third place finish. Bradford was ecstatic with his result and commented: “To succeed my podium finish, hearing all entire Midlands crowd shouting for me was electric. It was great to make third place in the final on a challenging track.”
The challenge classes had shown some great potential for the future and the highlights included a great retention of the title by Tiverton’s Callum Chard-Maple who won the 7s without competing in a national level event all year. The Hutt sisters from the south both took wins with Lucy doing the business in the 6 and under's and big sister Emily Hutt retaining her title in the 9-10s. Rupert Twitchett did the double title win again the 8s for The North as did Ethan Craik for The South in the 10s.
Connor Hedges finished off his best ever season in fine style with the British title in the 11s for the south. Braintree’s Shane Redgewell won the 13-14 cruiser and picked up a new sponsor for 2014 in the shape of series sponsor Identiti. Wilfred Njuguna did the double in the 14 year olds for The Midlands as regional team mate Oliver Webley matched his performance in the 16s. Alesi Tye made a great comeback in the 15-16 girls as she came from behind to retain her title.
The 17-29s saw Jordan Smith back at the top after he broke his back in the event in 2012. Also back in winning ways following a broken leg in 2012 was The South’s Zoltan Buday in the Masters. Ian Sharp has been unstoppable all year in the veterans and added the British title crown to his list of achievements.
As the points were tallied for the top club it was Preston Pirates who came out on top with 314 points and retained the title as top club scorers. The Midlands were the top region with 997 points who pipped the south to the win by just 2.5 points and it was also a Midlands team with J&R Bicycles’ taking the top elite team awards with 256 points from Full Speed BMX/Doublecross by just half a point. The best supported region went to East Anglia who gave there all and showed the riders their appreciation all weekend long.
The event was a huge success for Birmingham BMX club who had pulled together a fantastic event for racers and spectators alike. British Cycling provided some great trophies for the winners of both national series and British Championships and the introduction of the national title jerseys for the victors was a great touch.