Twisted Concepts Report – 2018 British BMX Series R1 & 2 | Manchester
Photo’s & text submitted by Team Manger Paul Hallett
Words by Miles Kirby
Photos by BMX Widow Photography
Twisted Concepts Report – 2018 British BMX Series R1 & 2 | Manchester
Photo’s & text submitted by Team Manger Paul Hallett
Words by Miles Kirby
Photos by BMX Widow Photography
There have been big changes over the winter at Twisted Concepts, with Sal Correa Racing (SCR) coming on board as the frame partner for the 2018 season and providing us with a fantastic hand built 6061-T6 alloy heart to our race machines. Sal is a legendary frame builder from America, with over 40 years’ experience in race frame manufacture. Sal started off many years ago welding SE PK Rippers in their heyday and has fabricated frames for countless brands since. You probably didn’t realise it, but if you’ve ridden a lot of handmade American alloy frames over the years, you’ve definitely ridden something welded by Sal.
There have been big squad changes over the winter too, with a few old faces moving on and fresh new talent coming in to strengthen the team and hopefully boost this year’s points score and push us up the elite team table. Every rider receives a custom-built race machine and Twisted Concepts are the first BMX team in the world with every rider using a disc brake. This is partly due to the fantastic support we receive from our hub sponsor Onyx Racing, who’ve provided us with full custom hub bodies to take disc rotors, and RideMisc BMX Disc Brake Systems for the brackets that bolt on to our hubs for mounting the calipers and allowing full precise chain adjustment. Feet will be firmly attached to the pedals with the continued support from our pedal sponsor Crank Brothers, who’ve been amazing partners and supported us into our third season. We also have had a great deal of help from Tangent Racing Products and Powers Bike Shop, the coolest BMX shop on earth and ENV Graphics and Signage giving our bikes and plates. the custom Factory finished look.
Rounds one and two of this year’s national series saw the team arrive at the Manchester National Cycling Centre for this season’s opening rounds. The indoor is a foreboding place to race with large grandstands and screaming crowds down the first straight and ‘factory row’, with all the big teams down the last straight, giving the feeling that you’re racing in a gladiator’s arena. The challenge track runs alongside the UCI Supercross track and is just a (slightly) tamed down version of the championship track. The 5-meter start hill is steep and fires you up to race speed in a fraction of a second, then into a flat out first straight, the first berm is huge and easy to get lost lost in, so you have to be forceful and pick a good race line. The second straight is tricky, with a step up first, but the take-off is pretty low, the jump long and the landing high, then a very steep set of doubles and a huge step up into the second berm. The third straight is a deep and tricky rhythm section which sees more than its fair share of injuries and crashes, the last berm is the smallest of the corners, but see more than its fair share of moves with a few lines opening up into the last straight. The final straight is pretty hard, again a rhythm straight, easy to get wrong and hard to race, I’ve heard it likened by some to racing across a Toblerone bar! To get the full effect of what I’ve just described make sure you check out our live streams of the team rider’s races on our Facebook page. We ran a double gazebo in the prime position halfway down the last straight, with a half open back, and full hospitality area, as well as plenty of room for our growing squad to relax in. The atmosphere in the tent was amazing and when you rode past on the way back from your races, all you could see were smiling faces and laughing families, showing the world what we’re really about: having fun at the sharpest end of national competition. The freshly acquired Nic-Nac Engineering bike rack was positioned on the back wall hanging our team bikes, the freshest and most progressive bikes on the UK scene. With an entire winter of preparation, an afternoon of practice, then two full days of racing things went really well, but who did what?
Ben Hallett was first up on his beautiful new baby blue bike, with cloud graphics inspired by Andy’s bedroom wallpaper in Toy Story. He had his first go in the 9-12-year-old cruiser and the bike suited him perfectly. Both days were complete success, Ben made his first ever national semi-finals both days and represented the team in the B finals both days. He was understandably a little nervous, but if he keeps racing like he did, making the knock out stages his young nerves will settle and he’ll start getting even better results as the year goes on. Ben left the 20″ at home this weekend to concentrate on the cruiser, but he’s thinking of trying two bikes at Leicester in the next round.
Harry Kirby was out in the 11-year-old boys, the sole team representative in the class for first time, as Ben was out on his big wheels. He’s loving his new SCR frame and finds it easy to control and better to jump than anything he’s had before. We dubbed his bike the flying pumpkin after it’s cool flat orange finish, and orange and gold parts. Harry rode well on Saturday, getting a couple of his best ever national moto results, but a mistake in the first berm in his second moto cost him places and ultimately his place in the quarters by one point, in a ridiculously hard age group. Sunday saw some solid laps, but super tough moto draws, getting mostly top 16 ranked riders in every race, so position wise he struggled, but the rides were not bad at all. He’s looking forward to the next rounds at Leicester on a track more suited to him. It’s taken a few years and many visits, but he’s finally looking really comfortable and enjoying it at the indoor, a track he really didn’t like riding at all not that long ago.
Callum Clancy from Ireland is the new young addition to the team in the 12-year-old boys, the happy kid fitted in straight away finding it easy to make friends with the other kids around his age. Unfortunately, he has not got his new team race bike yet due to logistics, so he would have to carry on regardless on last season’s bike, but at least he was used to it and that was a good thing. Saturday’s motos went well and Callum welcomed the track repairs, saying they made it a lot smoother and were badly needed. Quarter up and good gate from trap two lead him into third place going into the first berm and he kept it like that to the line. Semi time, Callum picked gate two and found himself coming out of it in fourth and heading for the second berm on the inside, he defended the inside a little too much and his friend Milar Gonzales nipped in under him to put him fifth going down the third straight only for another rider high/low him coming out of the last berm but he couldn’t get him on the line, so had to settle for the B final. From gate five and not such a clean start he found himself going into turn one in seventh and only picked off the sixth-place rider before the last berm and drive to the line quite disappointed with a sixth-place finish. He then stayed to watch his team mates do battle, which he thought was mega, and was impressed with the talent on the twisted Concepts SCR team. He loved watching the Pro’s race, he’s a massive Paddy Sharrock fan and thought it was awesome to get to see him ride there. Sunday, Ding Dong and Round Two, here we go. Callum was feeling a lot better about himself and really looking forward to it. After solid riding the moto’s it was Quarter time and from gate two he got a sweet one, heading into turn one in third, on the exit he went under Casey Markley and held it to the line from Bradley Russell. Semi time, and he up for this! From the gate the whole field was bar to bar going into the turn one. He come out where in the position he went into it, in third and held it there. Coming down the third straight He bonked a manual and poor Oliver James from Milton Keynes ran up the back of him and fell heavily (sorry Dude) from the footage we’ve seen, then Milar Gonzales and other’s ran into him. third will do nicely. And into an ‘A’ final for the third year in a row at Manchester. Wooo Hooo! ‘A’ Final time and he was really up for it! The final clime up those lonely stairs and they were the last final before the Superclass. Callum chose lane five and was now quite nervous. He thought the call out of all 8-rider’s name and team’s was cool, proud to hear his name being called out ” from Ireland riding #17, Callum Clancy for, Twisted Concepts SCR BMX Team” and the big cheer! The gate dropped and he got a stinker of a gate, cresting the step-up he was last but dived in underneath Felix and Scary to sixth, coming out of the berm. Up the second straight and he was making no real inroads on the others, coming out onto the third straight he pushed really hard and started to reel in Jack Bowditch. He took a tighter line into the final berm, still thinking of the lad’s behind him. He was catching Jack all along the final straight and his team mates were hanging out of the Twisted gazebo willing him on as they threw their bikes to the line only for J.B. to get it by an inch, a pity, but a great race. He said “We all congratulated each other as we do and I couldn’t wait to see my Dad and all the Twisted team in the gazebo”, I think he loves being part of the Twisted Family … “A super weekend for ME and for Twisted Concepts SCR Team where my team mates had some mega result also… Thank everyone… It was great. “
Morgan Haslam kicked off her second season with Twisted Concepts in 13-14-year-old females and she was more than ready to hit the track with her purple glitter fade SCR! Manchester has always been one of her favourite tracks and she was looking forward to it, after a really successful winter at the RUTR series. Saturday went well with two firsts and a third in her motos, a good semi left her with second pick for the final – gate pick is crucial at Manchester and she took a gamble and went for gate 6. Unfortunately, it was close going into the first berm and she came out of the turn in sixth but managed to pull back a couple of places on the rest of the track finishing 4th. Sunday was a new day, Morgan came back refreshed for her first ever race on her Fluro pink custom SCR cruiser, complete with full custom doughnut graphics. Because of the UK weather, the race weekend was her first outing on the track riding the bike – She had so much fun racing the mixed 13-14 girls/ boy’s category, getting to battle the boys she would usually only get to race at regional and club level. She had good motos and was proud to be the only girl on the gate in the final and was buzzing to take 3rd! In the afternoon she was back on the 20″ and again had strong motos and a second-place finish in the semi left her with a good pick for the final. After trying an outside gate, the day before she decided to pick gate one, which enabled her to take a good line into the first berm. We were super happy to see her take a second-place finish in the final! She’s looking forward to heading to Zolder for the Euro round in April before the next National at Leicester.
One of our new recruits over the winter was super stylish Fin Clarke, a natural jumper, skilful ride and all round nice kid. To say Finley had a great weekend is an understatement, he admitted he had lots of anxiety with a new team and especially a complete new set up with Twisted Concepts SCR, but that’s only natural. Round 1 kicked off with positive motos, 4th, 2nd 1st place finishes. The quarters were a great confidence boost coming first, on to the semi-final and Fin stormed home with a 3rd … The boy did it, hit the big time and made a national A final. The pressure was off, he just had to go and enjoyed it and he did just that coming a highly respectable 5th, happy days. Sunday round 2 and the smile was still there on his face from the previous day’s racing and again started with positive motos, coming 1st, 1st, 3rd. The quarters were a repeat from round one with another 1st place, but the pressure was now on. Semi-final time and Fin was in a comfortable 4th and on for a place in the final until Harrison Gee / Alex Brookes went under him in the 2nd berm, so it was race on, the 3rd straight was interesting with all 3 riders wanting that spot, but it was Finn who held on and came out the 3rd berm and booked his place in the A Final. It was his first ever double A final weekend and he enjoyed this one just as much. He was in the mix for the whole race crossing the line in 5th. The best debut he and us (the whole team) could have wished for, now the pressure is off slightly and he’s more relaxed we’re sure he can go from strength to strength.
The next new recruit to team was Nathan Kongatong from Hackney. Nathan is one of the most technically gifted riders currently on the British BMX scene, his Instagram posts are legendary, showcasing jump and manual techniques most of us can only dream of pulling, so make sure you give him a follow @nathanbmx19. It’s Nathan’s first season after moving up into the hardest class of them all, 17-29 the age group of death. There’s no pressure on him to win, we just want our super star from Thailand to do what he does best, give the crowd a skill showcase and leave them open mouthed, like he does us. He said he had good start to the season, enjoyed racing at Manchester for only his third ever visit to the foreboding track. He said “it was hard but I still enjoyed myself racing, on Saturday, but I didn’t get a very good result”, We all thought he did fine, he just needed to relax a little. On Sunday he came 3rd, 6th, 2nd in his motos, and he was much happier with those results, looking much more at home on the track and had much looser body language, looking much more like the Nathan we know. His quarter final was hard, he was trying my best to get into the semi, but it wasn’t to be. He’s promised us more training between now and the next National in April at Leicester. We know he can make the semi’s there and break into the top 16.
One of our biggest signings over the winter was Martin ‘Smiley’ Brown, 17-29 cruiser specialist, elite 4X rider and one-time roller skater. He arrived early to the indoor on Friday to help set up the team area and try and get used to the bike a bit before practice. After an early start from work he was already tired before going onto the track but he needed to get some practice in. Practice was very busy and he only managed about 5 laps before he called it a day. He said he was too tired and after not being on a Cruiser for about six months and felt very sketchy. Saturday morning, he woke up in a completely different frame of mind, saying “today was going to be a good day”. Practice went very well compared to the previous night. The motos went very well, with a second and two firsts. The Semi-final he finished second, securing him a place in the final and a good gate pick. Before the event he was watching who was registered and it was a very tough field, all he wanted to do was make the final, so it was mission accomplished! In the final he managed to pick gate one, but he didn’t get the snap he wanted and ended up following into the inside of the first corner, emerged in fifth position where he stayed for the whole race. All in all, he was very happy with this result. Sunday, he woke up in just as good a frame of mind but that little bit more confident. The motos went very well again, with a 3rd and 2 firsts. In the Semi he managed a 3rd. Another day, another final, so at this point he was very happy. With fifth pick he was expecting an outside gate but managed to get lane one again. After a solid lap the outcome was same result as Saturday and he finished 5th. He said he had an awesome weekend, after struggling being back on a Cruiser he very quickly got used to it. The bike felt absolutely solid and thanks to Paul, set up perfect for his riding. He said “the whole team made me feel so welcome for my first race with them you can’t say thank you enough”. Looking forward to Birmingham regional now in a few weeks’ time.
After a break last season to start up his own business Richard Ayles is back on the team. Giving the 20″ a rest at Manchester, Rich entered the 30-39 cruiser category. It had been 3 years since he last rode a cruiser but fancied a new challenge. After building up the SCR only a few weeks prior to the race he was surprised to feel right at home on it straight away. He said “these bikes ride amazingly. It was my first ever race at the indoor. I usually avoid the place like the plague but it was a “case” (literally) of getting on with the job”. He thinks he definitely didn’t ride to his best and he didn’t think he even put one decent lap together all weekend, but I could definitely see some improvements in areas of his riding which is positive. We thought he was being too critical of himself, winning motos for fun and only being beaten by one rider all weekend, getting seconds in the final both days, racking up a great points score for the team. All in all, though he said “it was a great weekend away with the team and still managed 2nd place on both days. I’m really looking forward to the next rounds at a more conventional track and back on my preferred 20”. Who knows, the cruiser may make an appearance as well!
In the 45-49 cruiser category we had two riders out, the unmistakable Spencer ‘Bernie Clifton’ Cremin and Myles ‘General Banta’ Gault. Big Spencer leaving his usual 20″ and opting to have a crack on the big wheels. He wasn’t a fan of the early start for Saturday’s block racing and he doesn’t find black racing the best, like many other older riders. In the motos his gates got better with each race, getting some cracking straights in the end, had a great gate in his semi and hung on to make the main and finished 7th on the day, so was really happy with the start of the national series. Sunday went the same way through his moto’s, he was looking good in his semi too, but got pipped on the line so had to end the last day in the B with a 4th. He enjoyed the weekend on a tough track came away safe. The highlights for the team and fans of our muscle man had to be the shapes his was throwing down the second straight, proving the SCR frame was as strong as anything he’d ridden and just as easy to ride. He was pleased meeting up with the new team, who he thought all rode amazingly and got on well. He’s now looking forward to Leicester.
Myles Gault”s rounds 1 & 2 at the indoor arena were admittedly never going to be more than a shakedown run for him. 5 months of injuries and only one test session on the SCR meant he was far from race fit, but he still went for a roll round and had lots of fun doing it. He was pleased the rest of the Twisted team made up for his short comings on the track. Myles was a huge asset in the team tent, helping lift riders and instill confidence in them, which is also a major part of being in a team. His bike dubbed the ‘Unicorn’ is the only 23″ SCR cruiser in the world, a real mythical beast in reflection copper, with antifreeze Onyx hubs. He finds it an awesome bit of kit, and says it handles like a far smaller bike and is super responsive. The Crank Bros pedals kept him firmly glued to the bike without any near-death experiences, which is a first on that track, he has made mentions of there being sharks hidden in the jumps there before! The conventional Leicester track should allow him to ‘unleash the true potential’ and regain some confidence. Reactions to the bike far exceeded what we hoped for, everybody loved it. Now it’s time for him to ride the unicorn, instead of marveling at how pretty it is!
The final addition to the team was Miles ‘The Flying Fox’ Kirby in Vets. Miles, father of Harry Kirby had taken an 8 year break from racing nationals to support his son, but had been lured out of semi-retirement to test out a 20″ SCR from an older rider’s point of view. Miles, a highly experienced rider, who started racing in the early 1980’s, only picked up his awesome new ride just before Friday’s practice and immediately gelled with it, finding it stiff, very fast and super stable on the treacherous track. He’d done the last round of the RUTR on his skatepark bike, just to get used to the track and felt as comfortable on the track as any slightly sketchy 44-year-old could on a 20″. Race day one’s moto’s went well in a stacked field including former world champions and the current W4, finishing solid 4th’s in every race, so made the semi’s, which was his goal for the weekend. With an outside gate lined up with two old adversary’s Warlock and Jool’s the trio would manage to steer clear of the carnage that ensued on the inside and roll though to a slot in the A final where he lost out on 7th place in a photo finish on the line. The crash saw some of the best Vet’s riders go down and unfortunately get some bad injuries and would lead to some gaps in the field for Sunday’s action. Miles motos on Sunday went brilliantly with the highlight being a 2nd place and respectable draw in the semi. More carnage in the semi, this time seeing the W4’s bike coming flaying at his in turn two, Miles lost some speed and desperately tried to hang onto the 4th place over two straights, but was just pipped for the 4th place on the line, so Miles had to settle for a spot in the ‘B’ final where he had a close run race for the second spot, but again got pipped and ended up in 3rd, but still a great result leaving him currently in 9th place in the overall standings. With more race laps to get used to his new bike and better fitness Miles hopes to consolidate on his current ranking at Leicester!
So, it was a job well done at Manchester, great results all round, leaving us currently 11th in the Elite Team Standings. If you want to come and have a look at the trickest rides in BMX please pop by and see us at Leicester, or have a chat to any of us, you may bump into at numerous tracks around the country over the next few weeks and see what we could do for you.
Twisted Concepts specialise in high end bespoke race builds and can offer your dreams on two wheels and make them a reality with custom finishes, custom ENV graphics and themes on SCR frames. We offer full custom colour combinations on Onyx hubs and free laser etching. We can provide a full disc brake set up and support with RideMisc brackets, making your braking responsive and constant in all weather conditions. Twisted Concepts are the European service and warranty centre for Onyx hubs, so we can help keep you rolling smooth at all times. We would like to also thank our team sponsors and partners who help keep us at the top of our game, Crank Brothers pedals, Powers Bike Shop (the coolest BMX shop on the planet), Tangent Racing Products and Lead Racewear.