“Steve Ireland provided yet another Extreme Enduro special last weekend at the Iconic Nantmawr Quarry in Oswestry. The famous quarry is Iconic because of the Superb Extreme Enduros that Ireland has produced there over the last decade or so that created and opened the door for Extreme Enduro’s to exist and grow in the UK…A spin off of the World Famous Michelin Tough One Enduro is its little brother, The TOLB ..(Tough One’s Little Brother) It is a sell-out brilliant event in its own right and the entry list was packed with riders from all over the entire country making it a truly national event in every way.
Speaking of a Tough Little Brother’s…. That’s what Joe Wootton is… The likeable young man from Welshpool is one… Having cut his teeth on dirt bikes as a youngster with Steve Ireland and the WOR Events, riding as a Young boy with his Older Brother Ben, the two riders went on to become superb Expert Riders with Joe going onto surpass his big brother and become a “world” Level Enduro rider. One of the best in Britain and a rider that is improving in the international world of Enduro with every ride he does, now under the wing of Wyn Hughes and riding a Freestyle Husqvarna, the 350f of Wootton played a sensible game in the Tolb and steadily hunted down the early leaders and made a last lap dash to the front to take the win. Joe was his usually super smooth self and looked every inch a worthy winner as he took the honours from Runner Up, Will Hoare and Owain Humphreys. Will Hoare was in superb form on the 2t Husky and was the leader for most of the race with a superb feet up style and looked so smooth in the more technical sections. Come the end of the 2hrs Extreme Sprint Enduro it was only 13 seconds that separated the two front runners. Matching the 13 laps of the top 2 was 3rd placed Owain Humphreys albeit 4 and a half mins down on the top two. A failed front brake early on halted Humphreys progress as he is usually right up there pushing for the front spot. Gav Houson completed the PRO top 4 on 13 laps with a strong ride.
Expert Class victory belonged to Jack Barwick. The Essex based rider always supports Steve Ireland’s WOR Extreme events and makes the long journey up for the Tolb, Sucker Punch, Tough One etc. Barwick (KTM) was rewarded with a start to finish winning ride that gave him 44 seconds advantage over Runner Up, Will Stansbie. Stansbie (Yam) always does well at the TOLB and has gone right through the ranks from Youth to Expert. 3rd spot on the Expert podium went to Connor Bolsover a further 35 seconds down on Stansbie. Nice to see Bolsover back in the podium swing of things on his 300 2t.
The Only rider in the Expert Vets to complete 12 laps was the fine wine that is Grant Churchward… The Captain as he is affectionally known just gets better as he gets older through the Over 40’s. Strong, smooth and determined, the KTM 2t Mounted Churchward uses his tall frame to negotiate the tougher terrain with plenty of speed. Runner Up to Grant was GasGas UK Importer, John Shirt. Shirt was a clear lap down but was having a real hoot as he blasted the awesome sounding 300 2t round the majestic quarry.3rd placed Expert Vet went to local hero, Stephen Ethelston on his KTM 2t albeit 6 minutes adrift of Shirty.
Dawson Marriott in the Clubman class is outstaying his welcome and that’s said in a nice way… The Young Gas Gas Rider has simply outgrown it and his class winning 12 lap ride last Sunday showed that again as he dominated the group with a superb ride on his 250 2t… Standing out not only by riding something different to the Norm but also with a skill and speed that will soon be rocking the Expert class. Playing second fiddle to Dawson with a Brilliant 11 lap score was Lewis Gigg, making the long trip from Devon worthwhile with a Silver podium. The bronze placed Clubman was Chris Brown on the Beta 2t as he made his just as long Journey from Middlesbrough worthwhile with podium recognition.
The final class that made up the A level race at the TOLB was the Clubman Vets and taking a superb win was one of Shrewsbury’s finest ever Riders, the evergreen Gary Benniman. A WOR stalwart from the early days, riding with new hips and a massive heart, the Beta Mounted Benniman managed to take the class win by 23 seconds even riding with a completely flat rear tyre for the final 3 laps. No mean feat indeed. Second placed Clubman Vet was Surrey based Titus Blackwell. Titus doing superb to get this well-deserved podium for his huge commitment to the sport. Andy Harvey did superb in the 3rd place matching the front two’s lap score but was 4 minutes adrift of Blackwell.
It was a superb Top-level race that excited the spectators and pit crews as the Wootton, Hoare show went right to the wire. A massive well done to all the riders in that race.
Earlier in the day the 2 Hour Sportsman, Over 50 and Novice race took place with a 10.30am start and a course that was only different to the Pro track in two small sections… The packed start line was awash with colour and vibes as they warmed up to go on the flag of Mr Ireland. Sportsman where first away and blasted into the Shropshire countryside, it was however an Over 50 rider that took the Overall win in the 2hr race. Mark Houson was in fine form as always as took the Over 50 class as the Only rider to complete 10 Laps in the entire event. Runner Up was the super smooth Allan Price taking a fine 3rd Overall too in the overall standings. 3rd placed Over 50 was D3 Boss, Neil Crayston doing his usual “full commitment” display of riding to deserve a podium visit.
Top Sportsman and a brilliant 2nd Overall was Dan Williams from North Wales on 9 laps and over 3 minutes ahead of his nearest Rival, Paul Raine from North Yorks, Raine in turn rode superb to keep 10 seconds ahead of third placed Josh Terry. 10 seconds after over two hours of racing is close stuff indeed.
In the Sporstman Vets it was a very rare Reiju Bike that was out in front. Jason Welland, a late entry, a trials rider and doing his first ever Extreme and WOR Event was unstoppable, Feet up with no problems on the 450 4t the Super smooth riding skills deserve the class win by 58 seconds over Runner Up Michael Reece. 3rd spot went to an exhausted but determined Nigel Lynn with another Spirited and committed ride to the podium.
Steve Horgan Topped the Novice group from Stuart Bell and Matt Blackburn with Lola Stacey Jones the best Lady from Izzy Skillin. Jacob Wilson did a fantastic 9 laps to win the Youth class with Hayden Rainford as the Runner Up.
Even Earlier in the day another first from Steve Ireland was the introduction of a Kiddies TOLB with 18 brave kids taking to the start line for the 1 hour Junior Extreme special. Steve is really investing in the kids at WOR recently and future is bright with a very healthy Kids scene at the events in the Normal HARE SCRMABLES and Enduro events. The Extreme for kids is another natural progression and this course was a neat and totally accessible track for parents and marshals to get around, yet it offered the riders the chance to do some proper extreme sections that these kids have seen their heroes like David Knight and Graham Jarvis do over the past Tough One’s etc. All of the kids did superb with stand out rides from the podium winners.
Sam Hughes is a superb little rider coming through the WOR ranks and just like his dad, Paul did back in the day. Sam’s getting on that podium. Topping the event and the 12/13 group with a brilliant, skilful ride that had him in front of Lewis Taylor and Jack Williams.
Top 10/11 was Kit Zazbo with a brilliant ride and a superb 2nd place overall, making his early 3.30am start to get to the event well worthwhile. Kit topped the group on 11 laps from Harvey Jackson and Jake Willis.
Jayden Jones was loving it in the 7/8’s and topped the group on 10laps … Jack Brooks was a superb 2nd place and George Sheldon topped out the group in 3rd place. Sheldon was only rider on an auto 50 too.
Each and every kid did superb and all got a massive pat on the back in congratulations as they took the chequered flag.
Summing up the entire event can only be said in one word, INCREDIBLE. Superb safe Extreme Enduro challenges for kids right through to some of the best riders in the World. Steve Ireland and his WOR team really do set the standards and benchmarks for the others to follow in the sport. A massive well done to all involved.
Steve as always would like to pass on his massive thanksto all the fantastic staff, medics, Sponsors, Landowners but most of all the RIDERS that sign up for and support his events and make these WOR weekends so special.
Race Report: K Williams