Twisted Concepts Race Report – 2017 British BMX Series RD’s 1 & 2 | Manchester
Photo’s & text submitted by Team Manger Paul Hallett
Words by Miles Kirby
25th – 26th March
After a reasonably successful rookie season, the Twisted Concepts team are entering our second season on the British Cycling BMX national series. Last year we took national wins (thanks to Billy Luckhurst), podiums, and even a European Championships top 8 finish (thanks to Elizabeth “Maggie” Bown). We learnt a lot from the season and had a clear idea of where we wanted to go. The team riders knew what they needed to work on over the winter; the Cremins and Rich Ayles went global and raced at the ‘Greatest Race on Earth’, the Grands. The youngsters trained at Runnymede BMX track with Billy quite a bit, working on skills and gates. They were getting as many races in as they could on as many different tracks as possible, to bring variation and keep things fresh.
All the kids raced the Racing Under a Roof series at Manchester indoor. The boys especially were quite nervous of that track in the beginning and it helped them to confront their fears. Maggie had a fantastic series, making every final and coming 4th overall. Harry Kirby also raced the Deep South series, getting to go to some new tracks against new riders, making a few B finals in a massive 9-10 year old group and progressing well against some really tough opposition.
Billy Luckhurst, trained, raced, coached, sessioned and vlogged his way through the winter for all to see on YouTube along with Charlotte Green, who also became a full team rider. Rhys Wood got the variation in, racing BMX, as well as enduro mountain bike and mini downhill, which was a great stamina builder, as well as adding to his already amazing skill set on bikes.
We had another new member join the team, the lovely Morgan Haslam, who will be racing in the 13/14 year old girls’ category for us this year. We were super impressed with her podium performances over the winter at the Indoor series, taking the overall series title, and we’re sure she’s going to shine on the team this season
We were pleased to continue our partnership with a majority of the team’s partners from the previous season, with Doublecross, Onyx Racing, Turn3 and Cranks Bros. We even had some new partners on board and the technical side is starting to look off the hook, with some of the new team new bikes going onto disc brakes thanks to Ride Misc. brackets and carbon rotors. A new shop deal was also agreed State side with Powers Bike Shop coming on-board for all our parts and spares.
Manchester Indoor is a scary place to race, no doubt about it, its two tracks in one, a full UCI supercross track and a national standard challenge track. Our riders would be competing on the challenge track for rounds 1 and 2 of the 2017 national series, but it’s still a serious and foreboding prospect for most. The 5 meter hill is next to a grandstand, which is usually packed and pretty noisy. Even the little kids are hitting the first jump with some serious speed and have no choice but to ‘send it’. The pro/supercross first straight runs on the inside parallel with the challenge first straight, in places it’s like racing next to a concrete wall where the huge supercross jumps spread out before and after the challenge ones, so if you’re coming from the inside gates and you don’t hit the front you’ll get squeezed out.
The first berm, is massive, easily big enough to find yourself giving too much room in, moves can come from any direction, all at once. The second straight is a long step up, followed by a steep set of doubles, then a steep step up into the second berm, again running next to a supercross straight, so if you get your lines wrong or your pushed out you can end up quite easily on the wrong section of track. The final two straights are super technical rhythm sections which see many riders getting caught out and a lot of crashes, quite often serious ones, the indoor takes no prisoners and is probably the most daunting track in Britain for almost everyone. It was built as an elite training facility for Olympians and it still is, there’s just an every man side to it.
This season the team had a great setup in the team area on the last straight, with a big two gazebo set up half way down the last straight, giving us all a great view of the action and some calm away from the chaos of the grandstand. It was good to get everything up again and test it out before the first outdoor rounds of the national series next month.
So with two full days of race action to come, how would the team get on?
Elizabeth ‘Maggie’ Bown had an amazing rookie season on the national circuit making final after final and finishing in an astounding 4th place. This year she would move up into the 9 to 10 year old girls, making her one of the younger riders in a double age group, so things would be much tougher for her, just making the A final will be a massive challenge. Day one Maggie fought her way through the motos transferring through to the semi’s, so she made it through to the A, mission accomplished. Day 2 saw her get though some tough motos and transfer successfully through to the semi, she got another solid to make the A main. Coming from the outside, she went for a high/low in the first corner, it didn’t work out and she got stuck at the back of the pack, but it was still a great success making the A final on both days and no crashes or dramas, a solid weekend’s work.
Ben Hallett and Harry Kirby were out in the 10 year old boys, Ben was on his super bling carbon disc braked team bike, looking cooler than ice. The decision was made to keep Harry on last year’s bike as his new one wouldn’t have been ready until the weekend of the event. His bike was looking a little on the small side, but we didn’t think it would be fair to expect him to get used to a disc brake on a BMX and a bigger frame at practice before the season opener. Both boys had raced the winter series at the indoor and that had helped them a fair bit, they both looked much more comfortable on the track, a big contrast to 12 months ago. They both had some good motos and a couple of disappointments, so in a field of nearly 50 riders they didn’t get out of the motos, but they kept smiling and are looking forward to getting outdoors at the next rounds.
New girl to the team Morgan Haslam is another rider who’s in the younger half of a double age group, the 13-14 girls. Morgan had done amazingly over the winter at the indoor, taking the overall series title, so she had high hopes for the weekend. She said the on the whole she thought she had a great weekend, we thought so too. She felt strong in her motos and semis both days, but unfortunately the finals didn’t go her way, getting caught high and wide in the first berm on day one, then her wheel slipped on the gate in the final on Sunday. She still got highly respectable results with a couple of 7th’s. She loves the way her new team bike feels and she’s sure her Onyx Racing hubs made a huge difference helping her to gain speed in the rhythm section. She can’t wait to get to the next rounds at Birmingham Bike Park and we can’t wait to see what she can do on a track she knows well and races on regionally.
Ethan Cremin had a bit of a disappointing weekend in the massive and absolutely stacked 17-24 year olds class. With riders dropping down from Elite/Superclass and other amazing talents returning to the sport after breaks. Ethan admitted he didn’t feel comfortable on the track and he should have had more practice really. He didn’t make it out of the motos either day, not making the cut was gutting for him, but he’s going to work hard before Birmingham to raise his game and get back on pace.
Charlotte Green was a Twisted Concepts supported rider last year and has moved onto the full team this season. Her experience will be a huge asset, bringing a huge talent as well as a great professional attitude. Her business-like approach paid dividends over the weekend, she was our hardest working rider, effectively racing 3 meetings in one weekend. Day 1 saw her take moto victories and second places, get some very solid laps under her belt, getting a great points scoring second place in the final. Saturday night saw the supercross show race take place, Charlotte was down for some action in that too, showing superb fitness levels and recovery she kept on putting in consistent laps again against solid opposition and taking another second place. Sunday was another similar day, with Charlotte looking comfortable on the track and not showing any real signs of fatigue from the previous long day’s exhaustion, she cruised through her motos, getting a great first straight in her final she had to slot in round the first berm, dropping into second place behind the leader, both rode clean faultless laps and she crossed the line on the back wheel of the winner clear of the rest of the chasing pack. All in all a great weekend in the office.
Our Superclass guys Billy ‘the Butcher’ Luckhurst and Rhys Woods were in action as well. Rhys was on his new bike, running a disc break thanks to Ridemisc and he was loving it and looking good in practice. Both day’s in racing he was getting great gates and some solid first straights, he just seemed to get caught out in the first berm, or as he put it ‘I got mugged’, so he failed to make the main both days. He’s another rider who doesn’t consider the Indoor one of his best tracks and he’s looking forward to Birmingham and racing outside on a track that he’s much more comfortable with a races more regularly than Manchester.
It was a different story for Billy though, he was looking super smooth out there, super stylish, throwing down slick t-bogs and invert tables on the big jumps for the cameras in practice and giving his fans something to cheer about, it’s no wonder he’s a firm favourite with the fans. Saturday’s racing saw big Bill though to the final after some exciting motos, he nearly avoided collecting Identity’s Oli Cuttmore who crashed in the last berm in his first moto, then the same thing happened again with some three man chaos in his third moto. In the main Bill rode a solid first corner mid pack, he smoothed out the second straight, pulling into 4th place, and he kept his lap clean, no mistakes on the rhythm sections and crossed the line with a 4th. Sunday saw him leading the first moto out, only to make a mistake on the third straight and end up scrapping for 3rd place on the line, but it was a good sign that he was up for the fight. The second moto was much smoother and very quick, he took a clear second place, and everything was starting to take shape. His third moto got a bit wild at the end of the second straight and in the second berm, but he settled it all down and crossed the line with a 3rd place, nice transfer through to the main. Coming from a middle gate he had to fight for his place in the first berm, things were really tight, as they were down the second straight, but he got the inside line through turn two and pulled clear into a solid podium slot, keeping it solid and straight he crossed the line in 3rd for his first top class podium of the year, so things are looking good already for this season.
With the notorious Indoor round out of the way the team can get on with training and tuning their bikes ready for the next rounds at Birmingham Bike Park. Rich Ayles will be back in action in Masters after business kept him away from Manchester. Harry Kirby will be on his new works race bike, complete with disc brake, Billy will be all disc’d up on his new machine. So they’ll be plenty of high end bling for you all to come and check out at the Twisted Concepts gazebos which should be situated in a prime position. Pop by, say hi and see what Twisted Concepts could do for you.
We are the European warranty and service centre for Onyx racing hubs; we are the importers of Doublecross frames, Turn3 cranks and frames, Ridemisc disc brackets as well as other high end components and accessories. We would also like to thank our team partners CranksBros, Racer Concepts, Bownburr builders and Box.