Twisted Concepts Race Report – 2017 British BMX Series RD’s 7 & 8 | Manchester
Photo’s & text submitted by Team Manger Paul Hallett
Words by Miles Kirby
10th – 11th June
The latest stop for the team was at Platt Fields Manchester, or ‘The Outdoor’ as it’s also known. We arrived on Friday for practice in glorious sunshine, after most of us had sat in traffic jams on the M6 motorway for most of the afternoon.
The outdoor is a completely different beast to the gnarly unforgiving indoor facility we visited for rounds 1 & 2 of this year’s national series. The track is a great example of a classic BMX track, with a relatively shallow start hill by modern standards. There was talk from a fair few riders of the gate being slower than usual, and others saying the traffic lights didn’t sync perfectly with the ram and gate dropping and there was nothing wrong with the speed, then more riders were saying that there was no issue at all. One thing’s for sure though, more riders hit the gate than usual.
The first two jumps from the gate are standard not too lippy doubles, then the third and final jump of the first straight is a triple, which isn’t too deep. This gave us some seriously fast racing, the power mongers were pulling though and you could really see who had the horse power in the legs. The first berm is a pretty big 180, it’s relatively sharp and the moves came thick and fast, so did the spills. The second straight consists of a similar set up, two sets of doubles, then a step up step down, again giving plenty of track speed. Berm two saw the biggest crashes, the most moves and a lot of the action on both days of racing, lots of riders were going down under their own steam trying to carve it too tight, too quickly and plenty were put clean over the top. Some riders I spoke to said that the mud was really slippery where it had been dragged off of the straight and onto the tarmac in the less than ideal conditions on Saturday, which left it soft for Sunday too. A couple of riders told me they thought the exit for the berm wasn’t high enough or steep enough, so when someone came in fast underneath you at the exit you were left with nowhere to go and if you tried to ride a tight defensive line quickly your tyres would let go. The third straight in dry hard conditions is a treat, a pure ‘trails’ style straight with four sets of steep doubles increasing in size, in many ways reminiscent of the legendary third straight at Cheddar around 10 years ago, a real jumpers favourite. A tight steep last berm lead into last straight rhythm chaos, a seemingly endless sea of doubles and rollers to the line, when I asked some riders what they did, they just told me they jumped the first two, then did a manual, then just tried to hang on as they couldn’t remember how many rollers there were! The finish line got a fair bit of action too, not just the usual photo finishes, but quite a few riders went to double the last set up, but the track was sticky and they didn’t get the pop they wanted and nose bonked the last jump, so quite a few went over the bars and chaos ensued quite a few times with finish line pile ups.
The team’s three gazebos were again in prime position halfway down the final straight, giving the riders easy access to the pens and all of us great viewing for the racing. The weather however didn’t hold out and Saturday morning we awoke to pouring rain and totally different conditions to Friday’s sunny practice, so during racing a lot of time was spent by riders and parents frantically cleaning bikes between the motos and finals. I know I did a fair few trips to the stand pipes in the camp site to fill the hand pumps up, the grit from the track was getting everywhere, Harry was complaining about it getting in between his calliper and rotor and it needed washing out after every lap, but there was never an issue of the effectiveness of the brake, and with the majority of the team on disc brakes stopping and speed modulation was still on point all weekend.
On Sunday there was a moving tribute to the victims of the recent Manchester and London terror attacks, just to remind us all that there is more to life than BMX racing. Children from Manchester Club and the London BMX clubs came out into the middle of the track to a minutes silence released balloons into the air, then followed a minutes applause, which was all adhered to perfectly by the British BMX community.
It was a mixed bag of luck for the team over the weekend, but there’s never a dull moment in team Twisted Concepts, so here goes:
Elizabeth Bown was getting stuck in as usual in the pack in the 9-10 year old girls; our mini power house was her usual determined self. She dug deep in some stacked motos and pulled through into the semi-finals with 3rd, 2nd and 3rd place finishes. Pushing hard and never giving up in a real scrap of a race she got another 3rd and through to the A final. In the final things got a bit sideways for Maggie in the first berm, she held on and got it under control finishing sixth across the line. Sunday saw frantic action in the team gazebo during the motos with gearing changes from her Dad between every lap, but it didn’t bother her out on the track, she came 2nd, 3rd, using the best race craft we’ve seen from her yet. Maggie was on fire in her semi-final, trying to tear the tyres off of her bike with corner speed she managed a second place and another slot in the A final. Our European number 6 was hanging in fourth place down the first straight, but after getting bounced about in the first corner she was knocked back to fifth, which is where she would finish. Another fantastic weekend for Maggie and great points for the team.
Harry and Ben both seem to be lacking in confidence at the moment, both really struggled getting any kind of form over the weekend. Harry hit the gate a couple of times, then only managed to pull back a couple of places, then when he did get good gates he couldn’t get across onto the inside and kept loosing too many places in the first corner. Ben had a bit of bad luck too; a crash and he didn’t seem to get on with gate at all. With the team behind them, the best bikes going and a bit of luck we’re sure that the boys will grow in confidence and start getting better results soon. They might not have had the best time on the track, but they still had an amazing weekend, with the team, their families and their BMX buddies, so they spent a lot more time smiling and laughing than they do feeling down, which is the most important thing.
Morgan Haslam in the 13-14 year old girls has had a brilliant first season on the team consistently making A finals all year and she was really looking forward to this weekend. Saturday saw her start with a slide out in her first moto, but she came back with a couple of good results, seeing her though to the semis. After getting a pretty good start she was given a fair bit of room on the inside and managed to force her way across into 4th, she had a bit of a challenge out of the first berm, but she pulled clear and crossed the line in that position to get into the A, where she would finish sixth. Sunday started well enough with fair moto results, but things all went pear shaped after getting caught up and coming the dreaded fifth in her semi. She went down in the B final after being ridden into on the first straight and couldn’t finish the race because of a mechanical that occurred because of the crash. So Sunday turned into a round that can be safely dropped and forgotten about. all in all Morgan enjoyed the weekend and she’s looking forward to Braintree for the next rounds.
Ethan Cremin also had a testing weekend. He was let down on a lift to the race on Saturday, so missed the day completely and had to get a lift up on Sunday morning. That meant he only got a short warm up time on the Sunday morning and not anything that you could call proper practice. Lack of track time and the early start and long journey took its toll and Ethan was relegated to getting moto’d in the massive 17-24 men category. He’ll be back at Braintree hoping to better on a track he knows really well.
Spencer Cremin had to work hundreds of miles away in Cornwall on Saturday, so he had to travel up on Sunday morning to take part in the Vets class on one day only. Spencer did really well, more or less learning the track as he went along. Super fit Spencer threw down some crazy shapes in some memorable laps around the track, only our muscle bound gym kitten could hold onto those impossible moves. There is now a theory that physics itself is actually scared of the big man, so it doesn’t bother correcting him when he breaks its rules. Keeping the crowd on its toes Spencer progressed onto the quarter finals, but made a mistake on the third straight whilst in a transfer spot and slipped back though the field to finish in an agonising fifth. We’re looking forward to more of Spencer’s crazy antics in Braintree; they’ve just had their track beautifully reworked, so we hope he doesn’t damage it!
Charlotte Green was on fire in Championship women, putting great lap in after great lap. Her first straight was consistently the fastest of all the women on both days. Saturday’s final saw a fantastic first straight battle, after getting the inside line through the first berm she squeezed into lead and she held it all the way round only to be passed on line, disappointing for her, but still a great result an exciting race and fantastic points for the team. Sunday saw the sun shine and a bit more of her style start to shine too; she was looking amazing, smoothly jumping through everything with effortless grace. Great moto results again and a slot at the top in the final, but it was to be another place, another great result, but not the win she wanted. What I wanted was to see her do a moto in her welly boots that she was wearing on the rollers warming up and down between races, in some motos in the rain on Saturday her riding was so strong she could have probably won a lap in them and pulled someone footed table tops on the way round!
Rhys Wood had a rough time in Superclass Men over the weekend on a track he usually gets on well with. Big Billy Luckhurst however was on a mission, getting it right time after time in the top class, so completely contrasting weekends for our big guns. On Saturday Rhys hit the gate in his first moto, pushed over the berm in his second moto, so his day was pretty much done before he even went out for his final moto. The Butcher however said he felt flat before racing, but it certainly didn’t show, it must have been all the I Love Billy stickers he was giving out to the kids! Billy came out strong in his first moto from lane 8, then had a great battle with Identity Bike’s Oli Cutmore for the fourth place slot, followed by a strong second place and a chilled forth in the final moto, transferring him through to the semi-final, then after a good transfer got through to the final. Saturday’s Superclass final was in absolute torrential rain, Billy lined up in lane 8, which was probably a good move, he got a super powerful first straight, but couldn’t cut across to the inside so had to slot in and rail the first berm coming out in 4th place, after a smooth solid lap that’s where he would finish. Sunday saw much of the same, Rhys was out of luck, and Billy kept storming on, coming 5th, 2nd and 4th in his motos, then getting 4rd in the semi Billy made the Final again. Billy came out of lane six with a good gate, but got really close to Kye Whyte through the second double and both riders had to back off a slight amount, this let another rider underneath him, but it was enough for a consistent fifth, leaving him in 3rd overall in the national standings.
The team are all looking forward to the next round, it’s going to be awesome, and team boss Paul Hallett will be back after working abroad and missing loads of races. It’s a the fantastic Braintree BMX track , which has been looking and racing on point in the lead up and the hosts Braintree BMX club are one of the biggest and friendliest clubs in the country. So make sure you pop by and say hi, we should have a fantastic set up and it will be great see to you all. Come see the fantastic team bikes built from the high end products imported from Doublecross, RideMisc, Onyx, Turn3, Epik Carbon. We’d also like to thank our team partners Powers Bike Shop, CranksBros, Racer Concepts and RWB Bespoke Builders. Also remember that if you want your Onyx serviced we are the European warranty centre.