McCanney storms to British Enduro Champs opener win! Race Report
Report by Gemma James – Images courtesy of Andrew Ridge
The Witley Enduro proved to be an enjoyable but challenging event, with the club setting out an 18-mile lap weaving its way through the local sandy based forest at Warren Heath using two physical special tests per lap. With a mix of weather conditions throughout the weekend and with check times spot on, the enduro proved to be a very well organised event by the hard working and experienced Witley Motorcycle Club.
With the previous days rain clearing up and temperatures close to freezing, it was set up to be another great day of action in all classes. After completing 5 laps and 10 special tests Manxman Danny McCanney proved too hot to handle in the series opener. McCanney recovering from a recent broken wrist put in a commanding display winning 7 tests with Billy Bolt, Tom Sagar and Joe Wootton all taking wins in the other 3 remaining tests. By the end of play McCanney had just over a minute in hand over runner-up Tom Sagar, with Joe Wootton back to his best in 3rd trailing Sagar by 26 seconds. Sagar making a comeback to the series after missing most of last season was looking super smooth and will surely pose a threat in the future rounds. Extreme pro rider Billy Bolt was a welcoming addition to the entry list and put in a strong gutsy ride finishing just 5 seconds behind Wootton. Daryl Bolter showed that he still hasn’t lost any of his speed since hanging up his boots, coming out of retirement and claiming 5th place! Flying Cornishman Josh Gotts brought home 6th, while Alex Snow 7th and Tom Ellwood with his best performance to date in 8th. Youngsters Jack Edmondson and Dan Mundell both looking good early on for podium places both had mixed days, with a dislodged chain resulting in Edmondson losing valuable time on the one test while Mundell struggling with a sudden lack of energy from lap 4 spoiling his day too.
Dylan Baynton topped off a brilliant days riding by taking the Expert class win narrowly beating the impressive Max Ditchfield by a single second. Jon Hunt was next up, with mixed fortunes during the day with a combination of some rapid test times spoilt by mistakes on other tests saw Hunt having to settle for 3rd. Ben Murphy started the day off slow but quickly got into the groove finishing the day with a fine 4th. Ex-Championship class rider Luke Flack, on-form Richard Tucker and Richard Ely all finished within a few hundredths of a second of each other for a very respectable 5th =, 6th & 7th places, while Ricky Wiggins rounded off the top 8.
In the biggest class of the day, youngster Lewis Ranger took a well-deserved Clubman overall win from Harry Houghton. Ranger tipped as one of the favourite for this year’s title had a scorcher of a 1st test and held on to his advantage for the rest of the day over Houghton. Third saw the ever-improving Luke Thomas put in a strong performance just holding off Josh Player in 4th by 8 seconds.
The ladies class saw a close battle between Nieve Holmes and 2017 Ladies British Enduro Champion Rosie Rowett. After battling it out over 3 laps and 6 special tests Rowett had to accept the runner-up spot this time as Holmes took the premier award by a narrow margin of 3 seconds. Taking up the final podium spot was Chloe Richards taking home a fine third.
Andrew Edwards started the season where he left off from last year; the current Over 40’s British Champion is simply unstoppable at the moment and took the class win beating nearest rival Russell Millward by 1½ minutes. Season campaigner Andrew Reeves a further 56 seconds took 3rd spot with Karl Greenall in 4th just 21 seconds adrift.
The Over 50’s saw Julian Oakes take an impressive win pipping Jason Rees by close on 2 minutes. The battle for runner-up was a lot tighter though with Rees beating Jack Twentyman by just one hundredths of a second. Last year’s Over 50’s champion Paul “Elvis” Davies started his campaign off scoring some good points back in 4th.
All in all, it was a superb event put on by Witley club, a great addition to the BEC series!