Report: K. Williams

” Baden Hall was the setting for WOR Events latest enduro offering last weekend as the Michelin XCE series Rd 2 took place in the very popular Staffordshire venue. Simply biblical proportions of rain came down on the Saturday night and left the place soaked through and although the sun shone for all of the Race duration the conditions underfoot were slippery to say the least. The 2 hour race was flagged away at bang on 11am as planned and a very healthy line up of riders took on the mud fest that lay ahead of them. As always though the Baden Hall venue, if ridden with commitment, will run in any conditions as proved by the hardy riders that battled through to see the chequered flag.

Early race leaders were Craig Reynolds (Yamaha) and Neil Chatham (Honda) with Derek Bawn (KTM) not far away. Reynolds lost his front brake and had to stop and lose a couple of laps as he fixed it before getting back out there and putting in some impressive lap times to gain a steady finish. Chatam had his first DNF in 5 years as a mechanical on his booming 450f left him with a very long drive back to Scotland with no reward after looking like a certain win or podium at least with 7 laps under his belt till disaster struck. Derek Bawn took control of the race around lap 3 and never looked back, Riding very smoothly through the tricky conditions and securing an eventual 8 and a half minute advantage at the sharp end of the results. Bawn looked d very much at home in the challenging terrain with some very impressive speed in the many woodland sections that this superb venue offers up. Runner Up in class was Will Emery on his Dad’s booming 501 Husky. Emery taking the big bike through the mud in slick style. 3rd placed Expert was Arron Coopland. Matt Silvester on his Husky 250 2t was the only Expert B rider to finish and he had a great ride with 3rd place overall too.

Andy Reeves is an old friend of WOR from yesteryear and after recently becoming a First Time father he was out on his Beta 300 for the first time in ages. The Super skillfull ex trials rider and Extreme Enduro Expert showed he has lost none of his ability as he shrugged off the challenge of Chris Wagstaff (Yamaha) in the Expert Vets to take a very well deserved class win by 2 minutes from Runner Up Waggy and also a very impressive 2nd place Overall in the race. The Bronze award in class going to the committed Darren Skillin on his Husky 4t matching the 9 laps target.

Josh Haith celebrated his 17th Birthday in fine style as he moved himself up to Clubman and took a first time win in class with total domination as he had previously done when moving from Youth to Sportsman. Haith on his little 85cc Husky was unstoppable as he completed 9 laps and took a fine 9th Overall even beating his Expert Vet Dad, David in the mix. Runner Up Clubman was KTM Mounted Jamie Carroll with a fine ride. Third Place went to another very good upa nd coming Youngster, Dawson Marriott on his KTM as he matched Carroll’s 8 laps and was only 20 seconds down.

Lee Parry was the man in top form in the Clubman Vets class as he secured the win from Runner Up John Jones with both riders being the only ones in class to complete 8 laps each. The 3rd spot on the podium went to the hard charging Jeremy Mold with 7 laps to his credit.

Matt Verrin on his Husky 300 was in top form in the competitive Sportsman Class as he took a narrow in from another up and coming Youngster, Rob Francom. Both riders doing 8 laps and just under a minute separating them at the top in Verrins favour. 3rd place went to Ben Hurley and was well deserved after voluntarily moving himself up to the Sportsman group on the day of the event after serving his time in the Novice class.

Top Sportsman Veteran was Mark James Cockfield with a 2 minute advantage over Lee Sephton as Runner Up and Shane Marriott less than a minute down in a solid third place with all 3 riders doing 7 laps of the tricky circuit each.

WOR Stalwart Colin Jones on his Yamaha was in great form and won the Over 50 class by 2.5 minutes from Runner Up Colin Griffiths (KTM). Jones has not topped the podium for a while and deserved his top spot as he battled the mud with gritty determination. 3rd place went to Stephen Parry on his KTM as he was another rider showing true grit..

Young Mitch Parkes was brilliant on his little 85cc as he topped that group on 7 laps with a superb ride as did Runner Up Dan Leadbetter and 3rd placed Haydn Tyrer, in fact all the kids did brilliantly in the testing conditions with their small wheeled machines. James Palmer was the victor and only finisher in the Bigger Youth category.

Rounding out the classes was the Novice group and its 3 podium visitors were Winner Liam Belfield on his Beta with Runner Up Ben Martindale on his KTM and 3rd placed Tom Brazier (KTM) all completing a well earned 7 laps each.

The Baden Hall venue once again offered a superb blast even if a tad tougher than WOR would have liked and the general feedback as the riders took Steve Ireland’s congratulated handshake as they passed the Chequered flag was 100% positive as the achievement and enjoyment factors kicked in.

As always WOR would like to send out a massive thank you to the Land Owners, Sponsors, Medics, Staff, Caterers, behind the scenes folk and most importantly the riders that flock to the events and support them and make them happen. WOR now go into a very busy Month of July with a whole host of new venues and exciting events planned.