After the very successful opening rounds of this year’s ACU British Timecard Enduro Championship taking place in Scotland and Yorkshire, the series headed to the picturesque old market town of Llanidloes, Mid Wales, for last weekend’s Metzeler/John Paul Transport Ltd sponsored Hafren 2 Day Enduro.
Clerk of the Course Rowan Jones along with his hard working and experienced club members had spent the past several months preparing to make this another well organised top quality event.
With constant rain during the Fridays build up to the event, course conditions were always going to prove a challenge to the full entry, and with a full 8 hours riding planned for both the Championship and Experts classes on the Saturday it was definitely going to sort the men out from the boys!
The day started at 9am with riders making the short distance to the motocross test at Morfodion. This was a slick grass field test that weaved its way around the natural slightly banked fields, plus a few log hazards and an uphill jump which is always a crowd favourite. For the Championship class this was a “back to back” with riders being timed on two separate laps. Taking the lead on the 1st timed lap was Brad Freeman, four seconds up on Danny McCanney and a further 8 seconds ahead of current World Enduro GP class leader Steve Holcombe. On the second run, it was Holcombe who secured the quickest time and gaining 6 seconds on runaway leader freeman. From here riders headed up the rendezvous point at Glynhafren farm which was also the base for the Enduro test and refuelling area.
The enduro test was a 5-mile forest based test which proved to be fast flowing and challenging throughout the day. Steve Holcombe took another test win gaining another 4 seconds on Freeman bringing them level within a few hundredths of a second! This set up the day perfectly for an eye catching performance from both these world class riders.
After completing the long enduro test, riders were treated to some typical old school type checks in the Hafren Forest that had been heavily soaked from the previous day’s rain. This proved to be hard going and taking its toll on several bikes including Danny McCanney who experienced a loss of power and losing two minutes. Three gruelling 30-mile laps were in store that also included four timed enduro tests before heading back to Llanidloes for their final back to back motocross tests.
Every test during the day saw both Steve Holcombe and Brad Freeman pushing each other to their limits, but it was Freeman who came away with maximum points on the Saturday with a narrow 1 second margin. Flying Welshman Jamie Lewis revelled in the tough conditions and came home in a well deserved 3rd place, while fit again Jack Edmondson on a 250f for a change took 4th. Local rider Tom Sagar back after a 6 month absence and making an appearance before he heads over to France with team Wales was 5th and newly promoted team GB Trophy rider Josh Gotts 6th.
In the hotly contested Expert class it was young Welshman Alex Walton taking his 2nd Expert overall day win of the series putting his recent European Enduro Championship experience to good use. The experienced Bradley King took the runner-up spot, Jay Thomas 3rd and another good performance from Andrew Bissett in 4th, with only 8 seconds splitting all 4 riders.
Series leader Fred Adams took another fine win in the Clubman class, again fighting off challenges from youngster Harry Hillier-Rees, Allan Taylor and Tom James all finishing in that order.
All three lady riders finished what was a super tough day for them; coming out on top was Rosie Rowett beating nearest rivals Ellie Cooke and Chloe Richards.
Ex British Enduro Champion Juan Knight made a rare appearance and saw off Andrew Edwards to take the Over 40’s class win. Grant Churchward and Russel Millward closely followed with a respectable 3rd and 4th in this strongly supported class.
Runaway leader in the Over 50’s class this year saw Paul Davies take another win from a well improved ride from Colin Blunt, with Phil George holding off Darren Osbourne for 3rd.
With heavy rain forecast for early afternoon and with the several routes badly deteriorated, Hafren club took the wise decision to cut a lap off most classes for the Sunday.
Brad Freeman and Steve Holcombe again commenced battle, but it was Freeman who took a well deserved victory beating off Holcombe by 10 seconds come the end of play. Jamie Lewis held off Danny McCanney for 4th, while Joe Wootton had a much improved performance in 5th and Tom Sagar 6th.
Experts class Jay Thomas took the class win with a 21 second margin over Alex Walton. Jordan Ridgway improved on his day 1 performance lifting himself to 3rd place just 3 seconds behind Walton and hard charging Brad Williams finishing 4th and Kevin Murray in 5th.
It was Harry Hillier-Rees turn to take the win in the Clubman, Fred Adams had to settle for 2nd while Allan Taylor pipped Max Ditchfield for 3rd.
Rosie Rowett took the double win in the Ladies with only other finisher Ellie Cook taking 2nd.
Juan Knight showing no signs of slowing down took maximum points in the Over 40’s from series leader Andrew Edwards, again Grant Churchward and Russell Millward taking a very respectable 3rd and 4th.
Paul Davies finished off with another fine in the Over 50’s ahead of Darren Osbourne who in turn head off Paul Armstrong for the final place on the podium.
The overall view from riders and supporters was this was a very well organised and enjoyable event, another classic from Hafren Dirt Bike Club.
Photos: Gemma James & Ashleigh Blunt