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sprint 2016 2

Joe Wootton at the British Sprint Enduro Championship - 13/07/2016

 

"We arrived at the track Friday afternoon, sun was shining, conditions were perfect. Woke up Saturday morning and the rain came down and didn't stop for a good couple of hours. What was a fast flow dry track, turned into a slow slog through soaked ground. I was a little worried with the conditions because it's a little trickier riding the big 450 through the mud, but I enjoy these conditions despite that. There were 2 special tests where we would alternate between classes.

Day one and it was a very wet start. I put in some good times that placed me in 3rd and only a few seconds behind World riders Steve Holcombe and Danny Mccanney on the first test. It was tough conditions, mud made the bike heavier, but the rain did stop and the track started to flow better with ruts forming in the corners. In the morning we had to complete the MX test 6 times, then we would stop for lunch and go to the next test. I went into the lunch break in 3rd, only 6 seconds behind Danny. The next test was technical, it had a very rutted, tight woodland and a short extreme section, going over tires, logs and rocks. I struggled to keep with Steve and Danny in this test but I was still able to come away with a solid 3rd after day 1.

Day two and the track was a lot drier, but rough. The MX track was all in wood chip, and the woodland was very rutted. I was putting in good consistent times that were not far off Steve and Danny. The event was made into 1 big test which extended the test time to just under 7 minutes. They had got everyone to complete 8 tests in the day, it was tough both physically and mentally, having to get yourself pumped and ready, then have a 30 mins break and to repeat the cycle for each test. I was never too far from Danny and Steve, close enough that if they made a mistake then I would be on their heels. It was a good physical challenge chucking around the Husqvarna 450 through the rough track. I'm pleased with the direction my fitness is going, although I still want to get fitter and stronger. I finished the day in 3rd place and the came away from the weekend 3rd overall. I feel like I'm building up some good momentum with results and I'm keen on improving my riding anyway possible.

Thanks to all my sponsors for your time and help. Next event is the BEC at the Isle of man."

 

By Joe Wootton

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Joe Wootton at the Welsh 2 Day Enduro 2016 - 28/06/2016

Joe Wootton at the Welsh 2 Day Enduro 2016

"I didn't know what result to expect leading up to the W2D. I had not had a lot of bike time, but I know I'm fit, strong and I used the 2 weeks back on the bike prior to the event, in the most efficient way possible with riding. But there is a lot of quality in the championship class, including 2 riders who are leading their classes in the World Enduro scene. I tried not to put pressure on myself and just wanted to enjoy it and get a solid first ride back. Day 1 and the sunshine was out, the tests were in perfect condition and the bike was looking trick. Church farm was the first test, we usually do back to back tests but for Church farm we only did the one test. I felt like I didn't have my racing head on for this test, it didn't quite go together as well as I wanted it to, but it was a solid test with limited mistakes. I came out of that test with only a couple of seconds separating 6 riders. Second test was at Saints Wells. It had a fast motocross track and a tricky woodland in it. Getting better after each ride, the battle for 2nd place was heating up between David Knight, Jack Edmondson and me. I came out of the test 3rd and only a couple of seconds again between David, Jack and me. The last test was the Rhayader MX test. It was a flat out MX test with a little bit of grass field. Knighter made a mistake so it left the battle for second between Jack and I. I felt like I rode well, but Jack rode that little bit better and got me at the end of the day by 7 seconds.

Day 2 and although the test will be the same way round, the loop was in reverse for the second day. The clouds where holding back the sunshine and waiting all day for the rain to come. The first test was Rhayader MX test and I hit it with all I got, I put together a perfect ride and winning both back to back tests by 2 seconds each. Leading, going into the next test at Saints Wells was awesome, and at the start of the event I thought it would be a struggle to get a podium finish. I was riding great but at SW test, Steve Holcombe showed why he wins the World Championship races and put in some crazy times, but it was okay for me because although Steve had taken the lead from me, I was now in the hunt for 2nd on the day and 2nd overall with Jack in 3rd. As we made our dissent from the mountains and heading towards Church farm test, the heavens opened and where there was dust on top of the mountain, there's was sludge and puddles down at Church farm. Suddenly my 450 turned into a tank with all the wet and mud. It was no match for the littler 2 stroke machines, although I came 2nd on the day, I lost my 2rd overall to Jack Edmondson by only 2 seconds. I ended the W2D in 3rd place and I'm over the moon with the result, I'm very happy with my pace so soon after returning and I'm keener than ever to get back racing with the top boys again and show people what I'm really capable of. My next event will the British Sprint at Ashby in a couple of weeks time. Thanks to all my sponsors for all your time and effort."
welsh 2016 1

Joe Wootton at the Welsh 2 Day Enduro 2016 - 28/06/2016

Joe Wootton at the Welsh 2 Day Enduro 2016

"I didn't know what result to expect leading up to the W2D. I had not had a lot of bike time, but I know I'm fit, strong and I used the 2 weeks back on the bike prior to the event, in the most efficient way possible with riding. But there is a lot of quality in the championship class, including 2 riders who are leading their classes in the World Enduro scene. I tried not to put pressure on myself and just wanted to enjoy it and get a solid first ride back. Day 1 and the sunshine was out, the tests were in perfect condition and the bike was looking trick. Church farm was the first test, we usually do back to back tests but for Church farm we only did the one test. I felt like I didn't have my racing head on for this test, it didn't quite go together as well as I wanted it to, but it was a solid test with limited mistakes. I came out of that test with only a couple of seconds separating 6 riders. Second test was at Saints Wells. It had a fast motocross track and a tricky woodland in it. Getting better after each ride, the battle for 2nd place was heating up between David Knight, Jack Edmondson and me. I came out of the test 3rd and only a couple of seconds again between David, Jack and me. The last test was the Rhayader MX test. It was a flat out MX test with a little bit of grass field. Knighter made a mistake so it left the battle for second between Jack and I. I felt like I rode well, but Jack rode that little bit better and got me at the end of the day by 7 seconds.

Day 2 and although the test will be the same way round, the loop was in reverse for the second day. The clouds where holding back the sunshine and waiting all day for the rain to come. The first test was Rhayader MX test and I hit it with all I got, I put together a perfect ride and winning both back to back tests by 2 seconds each. Leading, going into the next test at Saints Wells was awesome, and at the start of the event I thought it would be a struggle to get a podium finish. I was riding great but at SW test, Steve Holcombe showed why he wins the World Championship races and put in some crazy times, but it was okay for me because although Steve had taken the lead from me, I was now in the hunt for 2nd on the day and 2nd overall with Jack in 3rd. As we made our dissent from the mountains and heading towards Church farm test, the heavens opened and where there was dust on top of the mountain, there's was sludge and puddles down at Church farm. Suddenly my 450 turned into a tank with all the wet and mud. It was no match for the littler 2 stroke machines, although I came 2nd on the day, I lost my 2rd overall to Jack Edmondson by only 2 seconds. I ended the W2D in 3rd place and I'm over the moon with the result, I'm very happy with my pace so soon after returning and I'm keener than ever to get back racing with the top boys again and show people what I'm really capable of. My next event will the British Sprint at Ashby in a couple of weeks time. Thanks to all my sponsors for all your time and effort."
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Josh Peters at Round 2 of the Dutch Masters MX in Holland - 29/04/2016

I had been really looking forward to round 2 in Holland and had gone some good practice in the week before. I had some bike troubles in qualifying, and after changing bikes so that could be sorted in the pits I qualified 29th after never really getting going. 

First race and I got a mid-pack start but there was a massive pile-up on the third corner. Everyones bikes were tangled together but I managed to be one of the first to get unstuck. The pack was long gone though so I had to push hard to catch up. Two or three laps in and I hear the bike making a sound, I didnt think much of it until I noticed it getting worse. Having pulled into the pits to check it out we found the sprockets had been completely rounded off. I put in one more lap to finish the race but only in 38th place. On the bright side my lap times were up in the top ten so I was happy with that!

Race two and I got another mid-pack start and fought my way into the first group, unfortunately I had a small crash and even though I got up and going again quickly I lost quite a lot of places and had to fight to get back to 15th which is where I finished. 

Overall a good weekend and I cant wait for next round! Thanks to all at Freestyle for the help!

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Mitch Lewis at Canada Heights British Motocross Championship Rnd 2 - 26/04/2016

"This was a weekend I was looking forward to, as it was our local race which makes the weekend that much better from the start. The Freestyle team were all set up and ready for the day which kicked off with qualifying. This went ok and it left me with 18th place but the top 20 was covered by 3 seconds so it was a very packed field.

Race one was up and I was feeling ready to race after a pre race warm up with James from the Body Clinic. The gate dropped and I had to double clutch after the gate which lost me a bike length, which then lead to a first corner pileup. This made it a long race through the field and I managed to get back to 21st. Race two started much better as I was around 14th in a battle with a couple of good riders. We were making good progress until about 4 laps in and I came together with another rider in the woods. This left me with a nice twisted bike to finish the race with, in 25th.

However I have taken some good positives this weekend, from the racing and the team and I have made some good steps! I can't thank everyone enough at Freestyle and all of our sponsors for making it happen including Husqvarna, Klim and Putoline. Big thanks to James from Body clinic for being there this weekend and getting a solid routine warm up in place, and John Mitchell sports therapy for also being there and getting me ready during the week. Can't wait for round 3!"

by Mitch Lewis

Joe Wootton at The European Enduro Championships: Round 1-Italy - 17/03/2016

"I first want to say congratulations to the event organisers for putting on such an enjoyable and well run event, it had the right amount of difficult sections mixed with easy flowing sections. It was not a typical Italian Enduro, where normally you would have hard packed ground and you where riding over rocks most of the way round, Instead it was a more softer soil based ground with less rocks and more ruts that you could really cary some speed round. 
The first test was the extreme test, although it wasn't very extreme, it did have a couple of nasty climbs that if you didn't get right you could lose a lot of time. The second test was the enduro test, it was just over the 9 minute mark, and was fast and flowing. The last test was a stubble field with a deep rut in every corner.

I started the day with a good safe pace, I was lying second when disaster struck. I was mid way through the check when something caught the chain and snapped a link off! Luckily I carry a spare split link in a bum bag and was able to put the chain back together but it wasn't quick enough and I was 2 minutes late for the next check. I pushed hard for the rest of the day and clawed my way back to 5th in class, which I was happy with considering my 2 minute penalty at the start of the day. 

Day 2 and the course was in reverse, so that meant we started with the cross test and ended with the extreme test each lap. I was loosing a lot of time on the cross test, so I knew if I wanted to win I had to shorten that gap and make up all the time on the enduro and extreme tests. I had a good pace on, and was battling Brad Freeman for the overall and class lead. He would extend the lead on the cross test but i would pull back the time on the enduro and extreme test. I was riding my best on the enduro test and even the one lap posting a time of 8:59 which nobody got within 10 seconds of throughout the day. 
With only 20 seconds splitting me and Brad, there was only the enduro and extreme test left. I was feeling confident I could do it. I went into the enduro test the strongest I've ever felt, chucking the 450 where I wanted to. I knew nobody would be able to match my pace the way I was going, so I wasn't rushing the last part of the test. I was just 30 seconds from the finish of the test and was going down the last decent, I bounced wrong off a few stones and cross rutted! I couldn't slow down in time and ditched it into a small clump of trees. Somehow my leg that had just mended 6months ago got tangled in the crash and I felt the most intense pain in my leg. There was a marshall that got my bike out of the trees and I was able, with one foot hanging out, to roll to the finish. The pain was too much and I was not able to ride the final test. Devastated wouldn't even touch on how I felt, but I can take a lot of positives from the weekend. The bike was awesome as expected and I'm very happy with my speed and fitness. I am having to ice and rest my leg for a couple of days but will be back on the bike soon. 

Special thanks to Freestyle, Wyn and all my sponsors for your time and support."

By Joe Wootton
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Mitch Lewis wins at Margate Beach Race - 07/03/2016

 Arrived at Margate, perched perfectly on the promenade overlooking the beach and the race venue, had a seaside stroll down to Wetherspoons where signing on was taking place. After signing on I was conned into having an omelette whilst watching Dad and my brother pig out on their full English. With full stomachs we returned to the truck to prepare for the first Moto. Practice/qualifying was up where I took poll position. Race 1 was approaching and the rain started to follow. The flag went up and I got an OK start, I was sitting 2nd when I unfortunately crashed. I managed to fight back to third but was a little disappointed. Race 2 was unfortunate where a series of crashes resulted in retirement . Following this race 3, I pulled out a moderate start and managed to bring home a steady third.


Not happy with the suspension and trying to work out what was going wrong! We took the following gamble, As of Sunday morning we dropped the motocross world converted rear shock onto the bike to try and fix some problems which affected my racing on Saturday.
Sunday I qualified 1st, the shock had made a big improvement to the bike and we were ready to race. Race 1 and my 450 Husqvarna racing machine charged down the long beach straight along the seafront to pull the hole shot out of the bag, this set me up for the race and I led start to finish, taking the chequered flag.
After refuelling the bike and myself, we tuned the adjusters on the shock with some settings from MXW. Race 2 saw in another good start, after trying to charge to the lead I accidentally stalled the bike resulting in third position. I kept pushing hard and overtook the leader on the last lap to take the chequered flag for a second time that day. The bike was feeling better and better, although not the best time to be trying changes we had nothing to loose after Saturday's performance and the gamble was paying off,
Race 3 and I got another good start and was into the lead on the first corner. I then lead from start to finish with a big smile within!
Im looking forward to testing the bike during the weeks ahead and hopefully get it even better!
Ready for the opening round of the British Maxxis Championship at Lyng in a couple of weekends time.
Thanks for everything, Mitch

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Mitch Lewis wins at Margate Beach Race - 07/03/2016

 Arrived at Margate, perched perfectly on the promenade overlooking the beach and the race venue, had a seaside stroll down to Wetherspoons where signing on was taking place. After signing on I was conned into having an omelette whilst watching Dad and my brother pig out on their full English. With full stomachs we returned to the truck to prepare for the first Moto. Practice/qualifying was up where I took poll position. Race 1 was approaching and the rain started to follow. The flag went up and I got an OK start, I was sitting 2nd when I unfortunately crashed. I managed to fight back to third but was a little disappointed. Race 2 was unfortunate where a series of crashes resulted in retirement . Following this race 3, I pulled out a moderate start and managed to bring home a steady third.


Not happy with the suspension and trying to work out what was going wrong! We took the following gamble, As of Sunday morning we dropped the motocross world converted rear shock onto the bike to try and fix some problems which affected my racing on Saturday.
Sunday I qualified 1st, the shock had made a big improvement to the bike and we were ready to race. Race 1 and my 450 Husqvarna racing machine charged down the long beach straight along the seafront to pull the hole shot out of the bag, this set me up for the race and I led start to finish, taking the chequered flag.
After refuelling the bike and myself, we tuned the adjusters on the shock with some settings from MXW. Race 2 saw in another good start, after trying to charge to the lead I accidentally stalled the bike resulting in third position. I kept pushing hard and overtook the leader on the last lap to take the chequered flag for a second time that day. The bike was feeling better and better, although not the best time to be trying changes we had nothing to loose after Saturday's performance and the gamble was paying off,
Race 3 and I got another good start and was into the lead on the first corner. I then lead from start to finish with a big smile within!
Im looking forward to testing the bike during the weeks ahead and hopefully get it even better!
Ready for the opening round of the British Maxxis Championship at Lyng in a couple of weekends time.
Thanks for everything, Mitch

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Mitch Lewis wins first time out!- Weymouth Beach Race - 28/02/2016

All set and ready for the journey to Weymouth beach cross with the Husqvarna FC450. A pleasant journey with some lovely scenery on route. The weather was dry, if a little windy.
The set up of the event was impressive and a good job done by the promotors. I couldn't wait to ride the big girl in race conditions!

Did not have the best of starts in race 1. This made a hard race but was fun riding on the fluffy sand. I finished with a second which I was pleased with as I was just getting into my rhythm.

Race 2 was a better start. By lap three I was on the leader and ready to set up the pass when a rookie mistake by me in stalling the engine!
Very frustrated but gained on the leader by the end of the race, we were back and forth on the last lap but his line choice just piped mine and I finished 2nd.

Race 3 and I got a 4th place start. I went to the lead by lap 4 taking my time. Not wanting to make life hard for myself again as had eaten enough sand already today! Went to the lead and stayed there for the victory, it was a close finish with traffic and a bit of bad luck, but I had won and taken overall 1st, and first time out on the standard Husqvarna FC450. What a machine!
Loving the new Klim kit colours and the Pro Grip rip and roll goggle system worked faultlessly, even down the fast straight while getting blown of the rear of the bike pulling a roll of. Think I would like to try a step seat!
Big thanks to Freestyle and everybody who is helping to make my dreams coming true.

Margate Beach Cross next week, keep you posted!

alestrum

Ben Wibberley at Alestrem, Extreme Enduro - 31/01/2016

The 23rd-24th January was the date of my first international Extreme Enduro of 2016, at Alestrem in Alès, South of France. This was only Alestrem’s second year of running and after the huge success of 2015 and the good feedback I had heard, I thought it would be a good event to participate in. 

My dad couldn’t make this event so I joined Mark Kirby who is a regular SE expert rider and has ridden most of the extreme events on the calander. Together with his wife Kirsty, we caught a boat on Thursday afternoon, followed by 700 miles of driving across France. Driving through the night, we only stopped for a few hours sleep and arrived in a sunny Alès at about 10am on Friday morning. Although still a bit cold, it was a nice change not to be in the English rain!

Friday was the day of technical control and the paddock was at the race track, Pôle Méchanique. A few track cars and some Caterhams were testing on the Friday which was pretty good to watch. Seeing as we had no idea what was going on and didn’t know what time to sign on/scrutineer, we set off to walk the prologue. This was just a special test with a few small extreme bits in, but nothing too severe - ending over big tractor tyres, logs and concrete steps. However, the next day this proved difficult to a lot of the entry. At about 3pm we signed on and were sorted for the next day, although the process did seem very thorough and there was no room for leniency. If you didn’t have all your paperwork, driving licence, medical, insurance and V5 then they weren’t letting you through! In the end, not too much drama and the bike was in the paddock ready for Saturday. We went off to find the hotel, a quick steak and an early night as we were all shattered from the travelling.

Saturday and we were up early as the first rider was away for the 1st of 2 runs in the prologue. A steady 1st run saw me complete it in 15 minutes after I got tangled on a hill and lost a good minute or so. Mark also lost a lot of time on the tyres and was about 17 minutes so we both needed a better second run. Thankfully, that happened and I had an improvement of 12.46. This left me lying 43rd out of the 400 entrants, with Mark at about 15 minutes. This was only the first part of qualifying though! Stage 2 was a long obstacle course of more logs, tyres and pretty much what you see on the TV in Endurocross, but in Alès town. As there were so many riders to get through, the races started at 3pm with 20 riders per race. I wasn't due to set off until 6pm at which point it was dark - brilliant!! There were two rows of 10 riders and I was on the front row, with drop gates MX-style. I was a little nervous as I have never started like this with proper gates and when the 15-second board was up, the adrenaline was pumping. After a great start, I got the holeshot. A nice steady race, feet up trials-style and I won the heat. This now promoted me to the Amateur Final. The final was not for at least two hours, with other riders still doing their heats. This is where the organisers hadn't thought of what is very important (especially to me): when do we eat!?! I had been planning on having a steak in a restaurant by this time! Feeling some sort of food was a necessity and it being close by, we had to have a kebab... Hardly race food, filled with carbs like pasta, but it had to do!! I then had my final at about 8.30pm. The gates dropped again and the standard was much higher. I was 2nd into the first set of tyres, battling with a French guy on a Sherco. We chopped and changed several times in the race. On the final stretch back, he was just ahead. My arms were screaming but I went for it with only a couple of turns left and four logs. He had no reply and I won the final. Just when I thought the night had finished, I now had to race in a 'Super Final' along with the top 10 pros. Jonny Walker, Jarvis, Mario Roman and Gómez among the top flight and I lined up for one last race at 9.30pm!!! The final wasn't great. A good start but someone fell off in the tyres in front of me and it killed me. You couldn't stop in the tyres and get going very easily and it was very slippery with so much oil and fuel on the ground from previous races where people had crashed. In the end, I finished 10th, so mid-pack and I was pretty happy with this. This put me 19th away for the main race day, so after finally getting back to parc fermé at half 10 at night it was definitely time for bed.

Race day and the start was at 10am, in rows of 10 and at two-minute intervals. It was a 10 metre Le Mans-type start but unfortunately my bike didn't want to start straight away. This never happens and the Husky is normally awesome, but being out in the cold all night it was just one of those things. I had a bit of ground to make up now. The race was scheduled for 4 laps with each lap getting harder and harder. The theory behind it is that 80% finish lap one, 50% do 2 laps and only a small percentage do the next lap, with the elite making it all the way to the end.

Lap 1 was quite a fast pace and although there were technical bits in, nothing was majorly extreme. The second lap was much tougher with a slightly longer loop and several bits that were just put in to grind you down and drain your energy. I completed 2 laps in about 4 hrs and headed out onto lap 3. I still felt fit and I knew this is where I could make up some time and the trials experience would come in handy.

The first extreme section was a massive step up from lap 2 and this proved the same for the rest of the lap. It was brutal and the toughest race I have done to date. Huge rock gardens and long ravines that seem to go on forever. Put in a few long steep climbs and you are half way there to imagining what it was like. I overtook about 8 riders in the boulder section that was similar to Karl’s Diner in Erzberg and pulled away from them. I had huge cramp in my arm come the end of it and luckily I finished just before dark at 5pm. Seven hours on the bike but it felt awesome to finish and I came 2nd in class and 18th overall. Mark Kirby unfortunately ran out of fuel on the last lap after completing all the hard parts and had to come back by road, being pushed by two swiss guys, but an awesome effort and he finished 14th in class and in the top 50.

A great event even if it doesn't sound like it but a good start to the extreme year. Next race is Eddy’s Extreme for Round 2 of the British on the 7th Feb. Big thank you to Mark Kirby for an awesome trip and to all my sponsors. The bike was mint all day and no problems at all.


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