It’s impossible to rely on the British weather. In the week prior to the BSEC in Saints Well good auld Blighty was in the midst of an unseasonal heat wave. However, just when it seemed that everyone was set for an early summer the heavens opened but instead of rain came snow. Yes, snow at Easter. With approximately four inches of snow falling in Wales, rounds five and six of the series almost resembled the scene competitors faced at rounds one and two. Luckily the cold snap was short lived and by early Friday morning the majority of the white stuff had melted.
Slipping & Sliding
Keeping on the topic of weather, the conditions faced in Wales were constantly changing. Dry one minute and wet the next – but never a torrential downpour – the Welsh weather kept everyone on their toes. Many riders remarked at how fast the conditions changed. Fighting for grip in one corner and almost kicking up dust in the next, Saints Well was a real challenge.
After his disappointing results at the Enduro World Championship in South America just one week previous, Husaberg’s Alex Rockwell arrived at the BSEC armed with a new weapon. Switching back to the two-stroke TE 250 that saw him on top form at the season opener in Aldershot, Rockwell was back on the gas. With no chance to practice prior to the event, and still shrugging off some jetlag, Rockwell instantly set the fastest time on the opening test of round five. Challenging eventual Under 23 winner Gas Gas’ Danny McCanney, Rockwell narrowly missed out winning round five by two seconds. Returning to round six determined to come out on top, the Manxman blitzed his way to a 20-second victory.
New 125 Youth Cup Winner
Up until now Husaberg’s Jamie McCanney had been the runaway victor of the 125 Youth Cup. But with the young Manxman absent due to injury it opened the door for a new winner to emerge. Stepping up, Edmondson Racing KTM’s Brad Freeman gladly inherited the top step of the podium. Showing impressive speed, the KTM rider claimed two convincing wins in Wales.
The Brraapp Is Back
It’s official – two strokes are back on top. The fifth and sixth rounds of the BSEC were victorious ones for riders of the pre-mix faith. Claiming double wins in the Elite (Jordan Rose), Under 23 (McCanney & Rockwell), Under 19 (Steve Holcombe), 125 Youth Cup (Brad Freeman), Expert (Maytom Jones & Hart), Clubman (Gethin Francombe) and Womens (Jane Daniels), two-stroke machinery won every class in Saints Well. Long live the two-smoke!
Fionn Griffiths was a notable absence from round six. Catching her leg in a rut and severely twisting her knee, Griffiths gritted out a third place finish in the Women’s class at round five but was unable to start round six.
Going Old School
Injured before he even got going, KTM’s Tom Church was a non-starter at round five. Competing in a local Evo motocross race on the Friday afternoon before the event, Church parted company with his 1996 Honda CR 500 in fine style. Injuring his finger in the crash, Church had to wait until round six to compete before the swelling in his finger reduced and possibly also until his arms returned to normal length. He regrouped adequately to finish second in Elite.
What Happened Dietrich?
After his stunning win at round four of the series in Llangrove, Husqvarna’s Ricky Dietrich was a non-finisher in Saints Well. Struggling to find a comfortable pace on the unfamiliar slick and greasy conditions during the early part of round five, Dietrich crashed hard on test four and suffered a slight concussion. He wisely sat out the rest of the weekend.
Based on his double victory at rounds three and four, Saints Well was a track that many had KTM’s Jonny Walker tipped for the win. Walker himself also felt that it was a course that should have suited him. Second fastest after the opening two tests, the Cumbrian got some loose wire caught around his foot peg that stopped him in his tracks. Losing almost 30 seconds to fix the problem, he also lost his shot at a win.
If there were an award going for hardest grafter, AJP’s lady competitor Stephanie Rowe would have won it hands down. Finding the tricky conditions a real test of ability – Rowe dug deep and gutted it out to finish each day. Fourth at round six in the Women’s class was her reward.