The British BMX Championships rolled into Cyclopark in Kent and the fans were treated to some spectacular racing throughout the weekend.
The team at Cyclopark had prepared the track to an awesome standard and despite the wind and a little rain the technically challenging raceway was running hard and fast.
Burnham BMX Club’s Curtis Manaton was on top form in the Elite Men’s class as he put in an inspired performance to take the win. Manaton lead from the gate and headed for home with Kelvin Batey on his tail around the first turn and British Cycling’s Academy rider Quillan Isidore in third.
In the second turn the pack bunched and Paddy Sharrock’s front tyre blew out as he carved under the field. As Sharrock fell there was a domino effect which saw Batey and Manchester’s Callum Strickland go flying over the berm, taking photographer Suzanne McHugh with them.
Out of the melee emerged the 2013 Champ Dan McBride who had sliced through the chaos to put himself into third place. Out front though, Manaton was away and looked super pleased as he crossed the line saying: “The British champs was a great weekend for me. I was enjoying riding my bike and having fun off the track with my Ultimate BMX Team mates. I had some good laps all day and managed to hold it together in the final to take the win.”
Quillan Isidore secured second place as he continues his comeback from the broken leg he sustained at 2013’s British Champs in Birmingham and he added: “I’m thrilled to finish second behind Curtis today. This is the best I’ve felt since I’ve come back from injury, so it’s a massive confidence boost. Onwards and Upwards from here!”
In the Championship women’s class, the scene was set for a great showdown between Abbie Taylor and Joey Gough as they had both been unbeaten all day through the qualifiers. Taylor jumped her way through the first straight and took the running from the first turn with Gough in hot pursuit.
The pair streaked ahead of the pack and Identiti bikes Joey Gough closed the gap through the latter stages of the race but it was too late and Taylor went home the British Champion. Taylor was elated after the race and said: “I had an amazing time and result at the Brits. Thanks to Haro, Bike Track, Ellie and Lauren from GO BMX, Mum, Dad and everyone else that has supported the #ridelikeagirl campaign. The standard of riders in every class was high, and all riders should be proud.”
Back in third was British Cycling’s Academy rider Blaine Ridge-Davis who has come on strong through the year and she added: “The British Championships was great. I was feeling good going into it and my aim was to get top three but there was no pressure for me as I had nothing to lose. From my previous wins at Cyclopark I was feeling confident. I had an inside gate in the final and knew I had an advantage. I put in a good lap and am pleased to have finished third. Many thanks to my friends and sponsors for their support.”
There’s always a nail biting finish in the Championship men and The British final was no different. Off the gate Jordan Smith from the Midlands lead into the first turn and looked comfortable with the North’s Liam Brown in pursuit. Out of the turn Scotland’s Josh Hanlon slotted into 3rd and the pack barrelled down the straight after him.
The leaders were side by side down the third straight rhythm section and as they entered the last turn, Brown saw a gap on the inside and dived into it, to lead out down the last straight and take the win. Hanlon also found enough space to squeeze through and took 2nd with Smith hanging on to take third.
There were some great scenes of emotion and elation across all age groups and some standout performances came from The South’s Elsa Rendall Todd and East Anglia’s Freia Challis as they duked it out in the six and under girls with Todd just taking the win.
Making it five British titles in a row was the South’s Emily Hutt as she annihilated the nine to 10 girls field. Harley Taylor took a popular win in the 15-16 cruiser as he pressured club-mate Jay Talbott through the first half of the race to jump past on the third straight for the win. Paul Maidment in the 45+ and Kelsey Dixon in the 17-29 Cruiser both took wins for East Anglia.
In the 12’s Connor Hedges not only retained his title from 2013 but added the 9-12 Cruiser title to his list of accomplishments for the South. East Anglia’s Ollie Rowe showed great determination in the 13s to overtake The Midlands Tyrell Cooper Nelson down the last straight for the win.
One of the smoothest riders in the 16s has been looking for a win all year and Josh Moore was the guy who made it count for the South-West. Adding to his World title, East Anglia’s Alan Hill took the 40-44 cruiser title and the Vets class win to bring the curtain down on a hard season.