With British Cycling’s Olympic programme riders absent as they prepare for the opening round of the UCI World Cup, the latest rounds of the British BMX Series at the Cyclopark in Kent proved to be wide open in the elite men’s class.
Utter carnage reigned from the start of round two’s final with half the field blowing up on the first jump. As the riders piled down the first straight, Kelvin Batey was in a no nonsense mood and was heading for the front when disaster struck and he collided with Scott Waterhouse, taking down Jordan Hayes and Jordan Perry in the process.
On the inside gate the 2013 British Champion Dan McBride was already ahead of the pack and rode a flawless lap to take the win from Jacob Roberts and Manchester’s Calum Strickland in his first race back after some horrific injuries had seen him sidelined for a few months. Also in the final was Braden Bradford who finished fourth in his first main event in the class. Bradford commented “I made my first elite main, I couldn’t be happier.”
On the second day’s competition in round three it was Quillan Isidore from British Cycling’s Olympic Development Programme (ODP) who took not only the win on the day, but his first Elite class win in his first national race since breaking his leg in an awful crash in Birmingham last year that saw him out of action for months.
Dan McBride led from the gate again but Isidore hunted him down through the first half of the race and when they hit the technical third straight Isidore showed pure skill and swooped through in the last turn to steal victory. Ryan Stack also got underneath under McBride to take second.
After the race 17-year-old Isidore said: “It feels great to get my first Elite Men win especially after a poor ride yesterday. It's good to be back mixing it up with everyone at nationals.”
Calum Strickland rode a great lap to fourth with British Cycling ODP rider Paddy Sharrock pressing hard in fifth. Kelvin Batey was well in the mix again, but had to settle for sixth with Dean Reeves in his first Elite main seventh and Identiti’s Billy Luckhurst in eighth.
In the Championship women’s class there was more success for British Cycling’s ODP as Peckham’s Blaine Davis doubled up the wins in the class for the weekend. But the 14-year-old didn’t have things all her own way though as she had to work through the field both days.
On day one, fellow ODP rider Valerie Zebrokova lead the pack until the last turn when Davis struck with a double inside move that saw her romp home for the win. In third was the ex-World Champion Joey Gough who held Gosport’s Ayesha Mclelland at bay.
Come day two, and Joey Gough showed the younger ladies a few moves of her own. At 33, Gough was the eldest in the field but that didn’t stop her jumping her way into the lead. Gough lead and was looking on course for the win, when Davis made a carbon copy move in the last corner to hit the front and head for home.
When the dust settled, Davis said “I was feeling strong going into my final as I performed well in my Motos. When it came to the final, I had in my head I was going to win and had my mind set on getting to the first corner in first but I didn't have such a good gate. However, I made a good move in the first corner and went into second. I had a good run on the third straight and done a good swoop on Joey in the last berm like I did on Valerie on the first day. I still can't believe I won both days!”
The Championship Men’s class was won on day one by GET Racing’s Dom Skidmore as he saw off the field in fine style. Team Hard’s Dean Reeve’s rode a solid lap to take second and Oli Cutmore lunged for the line to take a strong third place finish from Kieron McAvoy.
Day two’s race was all about Ultimate BMX’s Jimmy Orena as he dominated the race from an inside gate to take the win by 10 bike lengths. Behind Orena there was a battle royale between day one’s winner Dom Skidmore and Braintree and Aggro Racing’s Oli Cutmore. Skidmore made the move in the second turn but Cutmore wasn’t finished and as they duelled it out through the last two straight Cutmore kept on the pressure to take second by a whisker in a lunge for the line.
Other standout performances came from one of the youngest in the competition; Norwich’s Jared Hill who won his first national in the under-6 category on day two, Nick Oaten in the 9-12 cruiser took his first national win for Dagenham, Gosport’s Ethan Craik took a second on day one and a win on day two as he rode up in the 12s. Hayes Hawks’ Gideon Orena doubled up in the 15s, and British Cycling Talent Team and Braintree’s Ryan Hutchinson - who had his best weekend’s racing of his short career - took his first national win on day one in the 16 years olds.
Rounds four and five of the British BMX Series will be held in Preston on 24-25 May.