The British BMX Series 2015 ventured down south to the Cyclopark in Kent for rounds three and four, and despite the crazy winds that battered the track there was some awesome racing across all classes.
The elite men’s category was given a masterclass in speed and determination on day one by GET Racing’s Kelvin Batey. He was on fire from the go in Friday evening’s practice session and was the first rider to get the pro section conquered on his second lap of the track.
The eldest in the field at 33, Batey used all of his experience to go unbeaten on his way to winning the final and became the eldest elite final winner since Dale Holmes in 2005.
The battle ensued behind Batey as Haro’s Cal Strickland and Danger UK’s Ryan Stack went at it throughout the lap, Strickland just edging ahead at the end of the second straight to take the second step on the podium.
Day two’s racing was hampered by a constant 20mph wind blowing across the track, and with gusts of 30mph it was decided that the Elites would race the Challenge section of the track and not the Pro section.
This certainly changed the dynamics of the racing and made things much tighter through the first turn. Ryan Stack had looked comfortable all day and was clear favourite with an unbeaten streak to the final.
As the gate dropped, Stack sped out of gate one like a missile and hit the front from the first turn. As the pack bunched behind him day one’s winner Batey went down and Stack drew out an unassailable lead, taking the win with ease.
“I’m super happy with how this weekend’s racing has gone,” said Stack. “Two podiums for the weekend, a third place yesterday and then today getting the win. To make it better I didn't drop a lap today. I’m really pleased with how I rode, massive thanks to everyone that has helped me.”
Billy Luckhurst from the Identiti Bikes Factory Team gave chase from the first turn and was looking set for second, but GET Racing’s Paddy Sharrock had other ideas and as they headed down the last straight Sharrock used his trademark smooth style to overcome Luckhurst by the narrowest of margins.
The championship women’s class featured British Cycling’s up and coming Academy riders and it was Blaine Ridge-Davis who dominated the class throughout the first day’s competition.
Ridge-Davis went unbeaten through all of her heats, qualifiers and the final to put her on the top step of the podium where she said: “I had a good day’s racing. I put in some good laps, many thanks to my sponsors for their help and support.”
Second place went to her Peckham club mate Katurah Davidson and third was Haro’s Emily Green after a great duel with Identiti Bikes Factory Team rider Joey Gough.
On the second day of competition Davidson was firing on all cylinders and hit the front early on to lead out the final, taking the win with Joey Gough chasing her down all the way to the line. Ridge Davis fought hard from mid pack to take the third step of the podium.
We caught up with Joey after the final and she said: “As much as pumping through the entire third straight pains me both physically and mentally, I can't complain at second in severe cross winds. I’m stoked for my team mate Billy Luckhurst on third in Elite men too. I’ve got to thank Julian Allen and all the guys at Identiti Bikes for all their support.”
Throughout the amateur Challenge classes there were a number of great performances including Oliver Copping from Bristol BMX in the 6 and under class who took the win in the pocket rocket class both days.
Harry Tanner from Manchester in the under-8s, with his first national win, which was matched in the under-11s over the weekend by Braintree’s Seb Pantlin and Runnymede’s Ben Curling.
In the ten and under class Josh Barsby from Huncote Hornets was unstoppable and took to the top step of the podium both days.
Betsy Bax continued where she left off in Manchester and took two more clean sheets to keep her unbeaten in every lap of the year so far for Bristol in the 9-10 girls.
Luke Shriever made the home club fans go crazy on day one as he took the lead and the win in the 12 and under- category - his first national win after coming close many times.
Another very popular win went to Karys Richards from Merton Saints in the 15-16 girls as she came from behind both days to dominate the class. In the cruiser classes there were wins for the home club from Alec Munday in the 9-12s as he went unbeaten all weekend and Owen Baxter in the 17-29s looked stylish and confident on his way to the podium.
The series moves onto Cumbernauld Centurions’ track in Scotland for round five and six on 23-24 May.