Twisted Concepts Race Report – 2017 British BMX Series RD’s 3 & 4 | Birmingham
Photo’s & text submitted by Team Manger Paul Hallett
Words by Miles Kirby
22nd – 23rd April
Birmingham Bike Park would see the team take part in rounds 3 & 4 of the British Cycling National Series. It was a welcome return to outdoor national racing after the winter had seen us spend a lot of time indoors at Manchester. The team gazebos had been aired, cleaned, tested and we’re ready to go, and a great spot for them had been secured at the top of the second and last corner. The team area had been assembled in the preferred L shape, we had an amazing panoramic view over the track, the only slight issue was the slope on the hill, the rollers had to be positioned carefully, otherwise riders warming up and cooling down would be flying off into the side of the tent! We were next to our friends Team Identiti too, they’re some of the funniest people to watch the racing with, so we knew a fun time was guaranteed. The weather for the weekend was looking good, a bit of wind, a bit of cloud, but mostly glorious spring sunshine was forecast. The only missing part was team owner/manager Paul Hallett, who was working away, so we were determined to show him that we could get it right and do things to his exacting high standards without him there.
Birmingham Bike Park is one of, if not, Britain’s best racing facility, situated next to the Alexandra Sports Stadium in England’s ‘second city’. It’s a large fenced off complex with a European standard race track in the middle. The track has a covered start gate with enough room behind for covered pens, so no getting sun stroke or soaking wet waiting for your race. The 5 meter start hill gives you plenty of speed for the recently tweaked first jump, a step up into table, then there’s a roller before a set up/step down into the big first berm. The track then splits on the second straight, the amateur section is a slowing line of step ups and doubles, where as the pro side consists of a massive jump in jump out section into a huge step up double, which tests the very best riders at race speed especially with all the moves thrown down in the first berm. After a deep bowled out second berm the track then goes into a tight deep roller section with a fair sized double at the end, a favourite for the jumpers and tricksters, but the double had been found too deep by a lot of riders and had recently been filled in a little, then the people who couldn’t jump it wouldn’t be thrown into the face of the landing trying to manual the jump. The last berm is pretty tight, inviting all the moves and action especially when it comes to the knockout stages and finals. Finishing the track off is a super flowing rhythm straight, giving plenty of options for the older riders, with multiple ways of getting through it in the drag race to the finish.
First out as always was Elizabeth ‘Maggie’ Bown, determined to keep up her A final streak from Manchester, a tough ask as she is one of the smallest and youngest in 9-10 year old girls double age group, but with Maggie you can guarantee that what she lacks in size against some of the other bigger and older girls she more than makes up for in determination. The weekend didn’t start to plan for her with a disappointing 5th in a difficult first moto, but she dug deep and responded with a 2nd and a 3rd in the following races seeing her though to the semi final where she pulled out a fantastic 3rd place. She’d done the hard part, made the A final and had a great mid-pack fight to get a 5th over the line. Maggie managed to beat the very fast Elsa Rendall Todd too in one race, which gave her a massive boost. Day two she took the pressure off by winning her first moto, then with a satisfactory couple of mid pack finishes she went through to the semi and pulled out a gallant 4th place, getting the job done and making another successive A final and beating Lucy Simpson in one race along the way, another rider she had finished in front of for quite a while. Maggie got shut down in lane 7 from the gate, but she kept the pressure on and power down, especially in the berms and doggedly fort though to take a 5th on the line. Job done.
Harry Kirby and Ben Hallett were out in the 10 year old boys, both are nervous of the start hill and both have had big crashes on the first jump before, so this weekend was going to be a confidence builder hopefully, we just wanted to see them both through the meeting with no crashes or dramas and hopefully they could beat a few riders along the way. Harry was out on his awesome new works machine, complete with Onyx disc hub, RideMisc bracket and Hope Tech brake, which he was still getting used to the awesome stopping power of, in his words ‘you only have to look at it and it stops you’, so on a track he’s a little scared of we were hoping he didn’t have a twitch and accidental skid to a halt! Harry however did have a bit of a mechanical drama and had to have his forks swapped between final practice and racing, this changed the feel of his bike completely and didn’t bode too well for his racing, so he used the meeting to get used to his new set up. Ben didn’t have any bike dramas, his all took place on the track, getting in the mix he ended up being brought down at the end of the first straight in one race and had plenty of other issues along the way too. Neither of the lads came bottom of the pile, but they didn’t make the cut to the quarters and are looking forward to Scotland on a track they both like. The highlight of their weekend was probably most of their free time sledging down a really steep grass bank in cardboard boxes with their friends, like all proper 10 year old boys should! Harry Kirby got to meet one of his favourite skatepark riders and You Tubers too, Harry Main, who was there doing a Vlog for his channel and being constantly bombarded by kids wanting selfies and autographs.
Our new recruit Morgan Haslam in the 13-14 girls was taking things more seriously than the boys and she had another fantastic weekend on the track. Like Maggie she’s in the younger half of her double age group, but she looked as quick as any rider out there. She said that her favourite part of the weekend was getting the nerve up to send the first jump in racing mid pack, something she’d never done before. Both days she got great results in her motos, but on the Saturday she got caught up and shuffled to the back of the pack, but Morgan dug deep and pulled a 6th place across the line. Sunday’s final went a bit better, Morgan got a flying start and shot into third place down the first straight, she held it all the way round, but just got her pocket picked in the last corner when she was taken up the berm and moved back to 5th, our girl dug deep and managed to smooth out the rhythm section and take one place back to finish in 4th across the line. More great results and the podium is looking ever closer, we can’t wait to see what she can pull off in Scotland.
Ethan Cremin was looking to improve in Birmingham after his torrid time in Manchester in the huge 17-24 class. Ethan looked much better on a track he prefers, the Quality Street bike was running perfectly, but he still lacked a bit of pace and some aggression down the first straight, so both days he failed to transfer out of the motos. He’s got plenty of positives to take from the event, like he got his girlfriend to come to a BMX race, and he knows what he needs to work on for Scotland. Hope fully Ethan can find that extra gear at the top level that we know he’s got.
Richard Ayles was back in Masters after missing the first couple of rounds at Manchester due to work commitments, which was a big boost for the team. The Masters class was combined with 25-29 year old men’s class, which Rich welcomed, he said ‘it’s a good thing, some of them are very quick and it helped push me’. Rich rides Birmingham bike park quite frequently and it showed in racing, all weekend he looked very quick and smooth, managing a 5th on Saturday, but his best result was making the combined A final, taking a 4th on Sunday in class after the results were broken down. He had some really good close racing, his gates were powerful and showed all the gym work was paying off with lots of changing of position and moves being made, he put that down to the great weather and having big track with plenty of lines opening up opportunity for passing.
The walking muscle that is Spencer Cremin was out worrying the track maintenance staff in the Vets this weekend. Spencer rode well in his motos on Saturday and was looking good with high hopes in a strong Vets category, which is starting to increasingly look like Vet Pro UK! Quarter final time in one of largest classes and things didn’t go quite to plan and Spencer ended up crossing the line in 5th, disappointed, but not down heartened the big man took the positives, like he didn’t break the track, only by the laws of physics and would come back firing on Sunday. Spencer’s first straight was looking on point all day, pulling some really good riders down into the first berm and getting good moto results. He was through to the quarters and believed he had a 4th on the cards looking at the competition, he got the snap, a great gate, everything was going to plan as he slotted 3rd round the first corner and down the second straight, but Neil ‘Warlock’ Stewart of Pure Factory had other ideas and rode the big man up the berm pushing him out of his qualifying spot and try as he might Spencer could only get back to 5th. Disappointment again, but it’s a war out there in Vets and our man mountain will be back for Scotland with his own unique style.
After taking care of business at Manchester Charlotte Green was looking to keep the momentum going in Championship women. Saturday she won her first moto, then easily cruised through the next motos transferring to the final in second seed. The final saw her get an awesome snap and she powered into the hole shot, leading the lap all the way to the last straight where Beth Shriever, who’d been chasing her down the whole lap, railed the corner and pulled up next to Charlotte and after a great drag race to the finish our girl was taken on the line and pushed back into the two spot. Sunday went pretty much the same way as Saturday, with Charlotte going about things in her usual business like fashion, her gate and fist straight power was untouchable, her winter training was paying off dividends seeing her progressing out of the motos easily. The final ran in a pretty similar way too, Charlotte leading things out, only to be passed by Beth again before the line. A win is coming soon and we’re pretty sure it’s going to be in Scotland on a track that suits her down to the ground.
Our Superclass duo of Rhys Wood and Billy ‘the Butcher’ Luckhurst were out in action and facing the big pro section. Rhys didn’t have the best Saturday, he got some great first straights, but he was getting caught in the first corner and shut down, or caught in cross winds, so he just couldn’t get the pro straight done cleanly. Sunday was a great improvement for Rhys though, he was looking far more assertive in the first berm, combined with his great first straight he was pulling to the front of the pack and getting cleanly though the pro section, this saw him through to the semi finals. Unfortunately his luck ran out there, things got busy in turn one and he lost a little bit of speed, but he went for the big gaps anyway, he didn’t make it and struggled to get out of his clips sending him crashing down hard. His ribs were still sore days later, but he’s got a few weeks to recover before he has to race Cumbernauld. Big Billy was on fire all weekend, he loves Birmingham, and the fans and photographers love Billy, he was sending it to the moon in practice and occasionally in racing, getting the T bogs, turn downs and X ups out, check out social media from the event it’s all there! In racing Billy was on it too, in his first moto of the day on Saturday he managed to pull clear of the pack chasing GB team rider Paddy Sharrock round to finish in a great 2nd place, the second moto was the complete opposite though, Billy slid out in third place and hip checked the tarmac, luckily there was no harm done, but he did enough in his 3rd moto to make it through to the semis. Bill had the last gate pick and ended up in 8, but he rode a sensible race, railing the first berm, then sneaking down the inside of the pro section past 3 riders, putting him into 4th place and a qualifying spot for the final, which he held to the line. A rider flipped the gate in the final putting Billy off, he couldn’t get across despite all his efforts and came away with a 7th. Sunday saw Billy full of confidence, he smashed his first moto leaving everyone in his wake, so the pressure was off, then rounding the motos off with a 3rd and 2nd. The semi went pretty well for Bill, he slotted into 3rd place and the fight for the final qualifying sport behind him allowed him room enough to cruise it through safely to the main event. Billy, proving he is just as big kid as the children on the team went cardboard box sledging (and Instagrammed it) to warm up for the final, but his luck ran out, he crashed out down the first straight, but making the final both days in the top class was good points for the team and his overall ranking.
The next stop is Cumbernauld, Scotland, please pop by and see our amazing bikes in the trader and team area, have a look at disc brake options and set ups on the team bikes and see what we can do for you. Twisted Concepts are the European service and warranty centre for Onyx racing hubs, we also import Doublecoss frames, Turn3 frames and cranks, RideMisc disc brackets and Epik carbon rims. We would also like to thank our team partners Doublecross Bikes, Oynx Racing products ,Powers Bike Shop, Racer Concepts, CranksBrothers, RWB Builders.