With 1179 entries, this year’s British Championships in Manchester was the biggest race in the UK since the UCI BMX World Championships were held in Birmingham in 2012 - a real indicator of the hard work being done by the clubs all around the country.
The Manchester club had pulled out all the stops to get everything just right for the event and their efforts were rewarded with some top class racing in all categories.
The elite men’s class was low on numbers, but high on talent as British Cycling Olympic Podium Programme athlete Tre Whyte swept the competition aside to take the win. The Peckham Challenger’s rider really did look to be back on top form after his injuries in May and he went unbeaten through the heat races to take his place as top qualifier in the final.
Out of the gate in the final, Whyte had the drop on the pack and took the holeshot through the first turn. Fellow British Cycling athlete Paddy Sharrock tucked in tight behind Whyte and was on his wheel as the hit the second straight.
Into turn two and the pair were clear as Curtis Manaton from the South West found a bit of space in third - and that’s how they went to the line. The rest of the pack freight-trained on behind the leaders, headed up by the National Champion Ryan Stack in fourth for the South West.
Sharrock was happy with his second place finish, saying: “I just hung in there and hoped for the best in that final and it worked out. I’ve been training hard this year and I’ve had great support from my team, coaches and my family. I’ve loved every bit of it.”
In the Championship Men’s class finals there was a great duel for the win between the National Champ Bailey Ridge-Davis from Peckham and the defending British Champ Adam Brazil.
Ridge-Davis got the gate and had to shut Brazil down a little on the first straight to lead into the first turn. The pack closed down on Brazil, be he regained composure to set off after Ridge-Davis.
Down the third straight they were inseparable until Brazil dived on the inside of the last corner to make a surgical pass for the lead. Ridge-Davis was unable to counter and Brazil was clear for the win.
Ridge-Davis held on for second and Wilfred Njuguna was the best of the rest in third.
“I couldn't be happier with the weekend!” said the champ. “Picking myself back up from a disappointing time in Zolder at the Worlds to retain the 01 this year, but in championship men was a great way to finish the season.
“It's my third title but feels the sweetest as the lap didn't go all my way and I had to fight to the end to take the win. I'll take a couple of weeks off and then get focused again for a full season in championship/elite and of course Columbia.
“I want to thank my team, J&R Bicycles and Sean Bowditch for all the support, it's time for a new chapter but they will always be part of my BMX family. See you all next year!”
British Cycling Academy athlete Charlotte Green from Cornwall was the cream of the crop as she put in a great display to take the win in the Championship Women’s class.
She didn’t have it all her own way though as the front runners were five abreast down the first straight, but something has always got to give. On the exit to the first turn, Green was just ahead of fellow academy riders Beth Shriever and Blaine Ridge-Davis when the South-Wests Emily Green came in hot and took Shriever’s line slotting into second. Shriever had nowhere else to go and went momentarily off the track.
Out front it was Green leading Green, flying the flag for the green army down in the South West and they went 1-2 across the line with Ridge-Davis charging hard in third.
Following the podium presentations, Green commented: “The overall weekend was a great one! So good to see so many battles and so many riders putting everything on the line. It’s great to take back the title after moto 1 crashing last year at Cyclopark! Massive thanks to Andy from Northwest MTB Centre and the magical Team Blevs family for looking after us. See everyone on the flip side!”
The Brits, as it’s affectionately known, is a great event that showcases the regional talent from around the country. There were 30 class titles up for grabs, the youngest going to the South region and Mathilda Leak in the 6 and under girls and the eldest, Jon Moore also for the South in the 45+ cruisers.
In between there were some familiar names taking the British title to add to their National titles including Myles Wildbore from The Midlands in the 7s, Taylor Hunt in the 8s, Betsy Bax in the 9-10 girls and Callum Chard-Maple all from the South-West, Alec Munday in the 9-12 cruisers for the South and Seb Pantlin in the 11s from East Anglia.
Lauren Anyon for the North won the 11-12 girls, Libby Smith for the Midlands took victory in the 13-14 girls, Luke Shriever in the 12s from the South, the 17-29 cruiser champions in both the men's and women’s classes Oli Cutmore from East Anglia and Joanna Kistle from the South-West, Ben Martinez from the Midlands in Masters, Louise Abbott for the North in 30+ women and lastly Alan Hill who won not just both titles in the Veterans class but the 40-44 cruiser title too.
The Midlands region claimed the Regional points win with a massive tally and in the club points rankings, Braintree Bullets completed their dream season by adding the British champions trophy to their National Champions title claimed just two weeks ago.
Their club coach Julian Allen said: “I’m absolutely elated with what the club have achieved this year. It’s great to see our riders doing what they do week in, week out at the front of British Championship finals. All of the riders and volunteers can be proud of their efforts and we will be celebrating together at our club presentation November.”
That wraps up another great season of British BMX racing. With numbers growing and a healthy club base operating around the country, things are looking good for the future.