DANNY McCANNEY WINS THE FINAL BRITISH ENDURO CHAMPIONSHIP OF 2016

GH Mcs/G&B Finch Muntjac Enduro 20 November 2016

Sunday saw Diss MCC run the 9th and final round of the 2016 ACU British Enduro Championship with some 216 riders up for the challenge. The competition was always going to be strong but the threatened weather was also part of everyone’s pre-race discussion. 8 hours of heavy overnight rain drenched the course but the gale force winds didn’t materialise and the rain fortunately stopped as the action got underway.

The strong championship class started their day with back to back tests and faced a major challenge with a very wet and slimy test. First blood went to Jack Edmondson on his 125 Leisure Trail/KTM UK KTM with a stunning first test nearly 3.5 seconds clear of Danny McCanney on the Factory 300 Husqvarna with Brad Freeman on the 250 Colwyn Bay/KTM Stuff KTM 2 seconds further back. Stuart Edmonds on the 250 Electraction TM was using his MX experience to good effect and Jake Subachus on the MPS Sherco rounded out the top five. As soon as the last championship rider had finished they were back for test two. Jack continued to read the challenging conditions to perfection pulling a further four second advantage over Danny McCanney with Stuart Edmonds 2 seconds behind McCanney. Josh Gotts on the 250 TM UK TM was 5 seconds back in fourth with Alex Snow on the 300 MPS Sherco slotting into fifth. Brad Freeman struggled to restart after a fall on the slippery going and came out 41st overall almost 50 seconds down on Edmondson. The start of the second lap saw the championship class return to see a very changed test showing lots of ruts and berms – the rest of the entry had made their mark… McCanney increased his pace to win the next test by 3 seconds from Edmondson with Freeman a further 7 seconds back with Edmunds and Jamie Lewis 450 Off Road Experience Yamaha taking fourth and fifth. This meant Jack still had a 4.7 second lead from McCanney with Edmunds, Gotts and Lewis rounding out the overall top five. Brad Freeman was in a distant 11th overall but making up lost ground fast. The fourth test at the start of lap three saw McCanney and Brad Freeman run sub five minutes with McCanney at 4 minutes 55 and Freeman close behind with a 4:58 – helping his battle back up the leaderboard. Jack Eddy maintained strong pace with a five minute test with Lewis nine seconds back in fourth followed closely by Gotts. Edmunds had made a small mistake and his 5:13 run dropped him to seventh in the strong competition. McCanney had now edged in front in the overall standings by the smallest of margins some 0.27 seconds up on Edmondson with Edmunds still holding on to third from Gotts and Lewis and Freeman was on the move rising to sixth overall but still with a lot to do. Andy Waters the very experienced clerk of the course decided the championship and expert classes would only ride the test then return to the time control rather than complete lap three in response to the deteriorating conditions and to ensure all riders had a clear run through the test.

Experts then headed off for lap four and the championship class returned to the special test for a final back to back test challenge as their fourth lap. Test five saw McCanney up his game still further setting a blistering pace delivering a 4 minute 50 test nearly 9 seconds ahead of Freeman with Edmondson again third on 5:02 from Jamie Lewis and Josh Gotts. Ill fortune hit Edmunds on lap five and a further small mistake left him on 5:30 and in 14th on the test dropping him in the overall standings to sixth. McCanney had pulled out a twelve second gap from Edmondson from Lewis and Gotts sitting in third and fourth while Freeman’s sub five minute test pulled him up to fifth some 6 seconds behind Lewis. McCanney strengthened his grip on the win with a final solid 4:57 test but the win on this test went to Freeman with a 4:56. Edmondson was next with yet another rock solid third with 5:06 on the board with Edmunds and Lee Sealey 250 Off Road Experience Yamaha pushing Gotts and Lewis into sixth and seventh respectively. The overall test position was in no doubt – Danny McCanney had found his form and lead by nearly 21 seconds from Jack Edmondson who had ridden top three on every test. With Gotts and Lewis edged down the order Brad Freeman had finally pulled back to third and shown the speed that he has displayed this year. The battle for fourth and fifth couldn’t have been closer with Lewis just pipping Gotts by 0.66 seconds after over thirty minutes of test action. Waters had set the time schedule recognising the challenging weather but the championship class riders demonstrated their stunning pace with McCanney and Freeman finishing the gruelling final lap with over four minutes to spare – quipping to Waters that they could have found another minute if needed – a stunning finish to a tough day! With Thomas Elwood, 2016 expert champion trying his hand in the championship class runner up Dan Mundell on the JD Racing KTM UK took the expert overall second seconds clear of Brad Williams with Roger Holland less than a second down, in third place. In total 12 experts cleaned the course.

The clubman class saw Ryan Comer, ET James 125 KTM take an emphatic victory, nearly 19 seconds clear of Jack Ditchfield with Aaron Gordon less than half a second behind to round out the top three with Ditchfield unofficially taking the Clubman BEC title. In the woman’s class Rosie Rowett took a string win from Glesni Jones – some 38 seconds in front – with her final lap giving her the win. The ultra competitive over forty class saw just three riders stay clean- again pulling them clear – with Russ Millward on his Road an Track Yamaha finishing some 16 seconds clear of Karl Greenall with eastern centre Trials and Enduro ace Julian Harvey taking third after a mistake on his second test lost him any chance of the overall.

And finally in the over fifty class evergreen Mark Chapman riding for the host club on his 250 Bavin Yamaha took an emphatic victory, more than four minutes clear of Paul Armstrong with Darren Osborne rounding out the top three. Four clubman, cleaned the course and three over 40 riders indicating the timing was spot on for the conditions. Andy Waters and his trusty team worked hard to keep the event running and to deliver yet another successful end to the ACU British Enduro Championship in 2016. A big thank you to all helpers and to the riders for supporting Diss MCC through challenging conditions. All feedback during the event from riders and support crews was positive and appreciative of the efforts made. The racing couldn’t have been better – a fitting end to a great season for riders and our sport of Enduro in Great Britain – and here’s to an even better season in 2017.

Race Report Gemma James

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