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.
Its cold out there! -Be prepared - 17/01/2016
So the cold weather is upon us and now the snow is coming down. But that doesnt mean it has to spoil your fun!
If you prefer to snuggle up in front of the fire for a movie day no one is going to blame you. But if you want to take advantage of the conditions here are some tips to make sure you make the most of it!
1. Wrap up warm. As you can imagine the cold will feel unbearable to start with, but once your body gets going you will probably find yourself wanting to shed those extra layers. We recommend bringing a backpack with you to stowaway that jacket once you get too hot.
2. Your bike needs to be prepared too. The coolant that keeps your bike from overheating in the summer now needs to be anti-freeze. If your coolant doesnt have anti-freeze properties you'll need to change the fluid.
3. Studded tyres? There are 3 ways you can do this: Buy actual studded tyres, get special screws to screw into your existing tyres. Or go the rough-and-ready route and screw in screws you might already have in the shed. If you choose to do this, make sure they are not so long that they puncture the tube inside, and also nails and screws are not the same. Nails will be pushed further in and will most likely end up puncturing the tube. Once you have the right screws, they literally screw into the thick knob part of the tyre.
4. Gloves. Most people will wear gloves anyway but the cold air will make going anything more than 10mph almost intolerable on your hands. You may even want to consider heated grips as well as a balaclava to protect the areas of your face not covered by your helmet or goggles.
5. If your bike is left outside for a period of time while the snow is falling, beware of the snow accumulated on the radiator. Once the engine cools down and the freezing temperatures take over, this will freeze, and you wont get far the next day.
6. Snow is wet. Consider some water-proof clothing over the top of your riding gear. Once the dirt starts to fly or perhaps you hit the deck a couple of times you will be covered and that will soon melt into your clothes and you'll soon be regretting your decision to not stay indoors. We highly recommend the Klim Stowaway jacket which packs away neatly into its own pocket and is guaranteed to keep you dry.
7. Dont forget water. Hypothermia and dehydration can creep up on you in these conditions. Its important to bring water with you just as you would in hot weather and take breaks to get a feel of how you body is handling the cold.
8. Take 5. Before you ride off, allow your bike to warm up for 5 mins after you start it. Just like a car it sometimes needs to allow the heat to travel all through the machine so it can perform to its best ability.
9. If you want to get really extreme you can get conversion kits to attach a ski and tracks to your bike and transform it into even more fun. It takes a couple of hours to make the change over, but it is essentually replacing the front and rear wheels with snowmobile parts. They will cost you about as much as a new bike though, so if you have deep pockets and enjoy your snowdays maybe its for you!
Other than that go have fun! And send us lots of pictures of you all on your bikes to post to our social pages!
Joe Wootton practicing in Spain - 16/01/2016
Freestyle rider Joe Wootton has had a busy couple of weeks out in Spain practicing at the Red Sand track in Spain.
With some serious interval training amongst the Husqvarna Factory riders, he thinks he has improved his pace the coming season. "They are machines. Not quite up there with speed yet but I think I have closed the gap through the week!"
He was also witness to a Husqvarna photo shoot where the boys pulled out the big whips for the camera! Unfortunately he was too busy trying to copy to take pictures for us!
Ben Wibberley at the 1st Round of the Extreme British Championship! - 14/01/2016
"January 10th saw the 1st round of the Extreme British Championship, held by Fast Eddy Racing at Tong, near Bradford. My Dad, my girlfriend Steph and I set off early Saturday morning at 7.30am, as we needed to be there around lunch time in order to walk the track. It was yet again another miserable day of weather but luckily the rain held off for the track inspection. It was a long walk round and after three hours I had sorted my lines and was feeling excited for Sunday’s race.
Sunday morning came and just in case the rocky streams, the infamous waterfall and the muddy hills weren't quite hard enough, Saturday night it rained the entire night -just to make things a little more interesting! We watched the Veteran/Sportsman/Youth race at 10am and had a chilled out morning as my race didn’t start until 12.30pm.
Start time crept up and as expected I was nervous. After a quick riders briefing, we had the 1 minute warning before the flag dropped. This is when the adrenaline starts flowing as everyone knows a good start is important - especially when you are on a line of 40 other Experts, all of very good ability. The flag dropped and the Husky turned over first kick, which to be honest it normally does. I was 5th into the first corner and by corner 3 I was filled in with mud, the roll-offs were working overtime. I soon settled into a good rhythm and the waterfall was the first 'extreme' section. Being a trials rider I was up on the pegs and this didn’t bother me - I actually overtook someone going down it. The track continued all the way down a stream before a few steep rutty climbs which proved more and more difficult as the day progressed. The track was actually very fast-going and less technical than in previous years. There was more mud and water than can be imagined and I knew it would be a long slog of a race. I was lying in about 4th on the first lap but after a slight slip on a rock, my shoulder popped out. NOT ideal! I had to convince a marshal to man up and after a couple of minutes he popped it back in for me and I was away. Unfortunately I had lost a lot of places here and was now playing catch up. I felt good even after this and halfway round I made a quick pit stop, with Dad on fuel and Steph handing me dry, clean gloves. A few people were already beaten by this point with some retirements, but the harder the going gets the more I like it. Bit weird I know, but you need to feel the pain!! I had made up a lot of places throughout the day and finally finished 8th. I felt good even at the end of the race and think I could have done another half an hour.
Steady championship points and the next race is Alestrem on the 24th January in France. This will be televised on 30th January on Motors TV. Round 2 of Eddy’s Extreme is the 7th February.
A massive thanks to a great pit crew of Steph and Dad (best in the business), Freestyle and all of my other sponsors. The bike was mint and didn’t miss a beat."
By Ben Wibberley
What a Great 2015! - 31/12/2015
So it is the last day of 2015 and what a year it has been! There has been ups and downs, victories and injuries and so many delighted customers taking home their new bikes!
This year we have taken on a new brand of bike, Yamaha, which has proved already to be a huge success. In the last month we have even announced where the next store will be opening.
Our riders have had some fantastic wins as well as some devastating times. Both Joe Wootton and Rhian George have taken home British Enduro titles despite both having injuries which did not allow them to ride the final rounds. Joe had a terrible accident at the ISDE where he had been chosen as a Welsh team member, breaking his leg in multiple places. He was gutted he was not able to finish the event but having accumulated enough points in previous rounds of the BEC he still held the lead after missing the final round.
Rhian had a lot of misfortune this year with a number of injuries including concussion, disc damage in her neck and back, nose bleeds and finally a torn ligament in her knee which culminated in her unfortunately being unable to compete in the final round of the BEC at the Natterjack. Her biggest competition however finished second which was not enough for her to over take so Rhian took the title!
Our extreme rider Ben Wibberley had an unfortunate season as well when a horrific accident due to poor visability at the Erzberg Rodeo in Austria caused him to break his pelvis among other injuries. He spent a number of weeks in an Austrian hospital where they were unable to decide whether they wanted to operate or not. They eventually carried out the operation and he was then on a long road of physiotherapy. He has since healed and is back on the back getting himself fit again for a new season.
Mitch Lewis had an incredible season of racing, travelling the country, winning here there an everywhere in between nipping across the channel to practice at Dunkirk.
Many of our lesser known riders as well as our Trials riders have had some great successes this year and we will be releasing information on our riders for 2016 very soon. The newest addition of which will be Josh Peters who will be riding his 85 in motocross series across the country.
As for the Freetsyle brand, we have redesigned our website and added some new features. Our webstore has taken off and with the addition of Yamaha, bike sales are always through the roof. With the constant emphasis on quality and customer service, we ensure every customer walks away happy and enjoying their experience with us whether they are purchasing new gear or just looking for some advise on what oil to use or how to ride corners more effectively.
Our Wales branch is also taking off and continues the ethos of the brand up into the hills of the Welsh countryside where off-road motorcycling is such a huge sport. They conduct trail riding trips up and around the hills and valleys led by 9 times British Enduro Champion Wyn Hughes. Wyn also helps run th shop alongside his wife, Tracy so if you are ever in the area of Newtown, Powys, stop in there for a sandwich and a coffee and chat about bikes with the true enduro expert.
It is always onwards and upwards for Freestyle and with new ventures on the horizons all the time it is only going to get better.
We would like to thank all our sponsors, riders, customers and supporters who have been such a huge influence to our success in 2015 and we hope we will see you all very soon in the new year.
We hope you had a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for news and photos on our riders, updates about the stores and Freestyle in general, and offers on our webstore and online.
Theres a new Freestyle coming soon... - 29/12/2015
So its official.
A new Freestyle is in the making in Chichester. Taking over the previous premises of Chichester Honda, we will be dealing in both road and off-road motorcycles, parts, accessories, clothing and everything else. There will be top spec workshop facilities, a professional sales team and the whole operation will continue the ethos of the Freestyle lifestyle. With the hopes of opening by the middle of Febuary, it is all hands on deck to get the premises rebranded and a new coffee shop built.
We will also be looking for staff in the New Year so if you have experience in sales, admin and/or mechanics and have a passion for bikes get in touch with our HQ in Sussex with your CV.
Joe Wootton Wins the BEC despite broken leg! - 14/10/2015
"It has been an awesome year, especially as it was my first year in Championship class. I became E3 Champion and battled with the top 5 Championship class riders throughout the year, which was great. The year started off with an injury, where I dislocated my shoulder training on the bike, which meant I was out for 6 weeks resting it. I was given the OK by the doctors just 2 weeks before the season started, so after the slow start, I scored just outside the top 10 at the opening rounds of BEC. I wasn't expecting a great result because of so little time on the bike leading up to it, but through the year I upped my pace and I continually improved my results. Round 3 and 4 of the European Enduro, in Croatia, was my greatest highlight of the year. The track was dry, dusty, soil based and had a good variation of woodland, rocky hillsides, fields and jumps. I came 1st on both days, which was fantastic. It was a great bit of racing with the pressure on, where I won by only 1 second on the first day and 10 seconds on day two. This years Welsh 2 day was the driest seen for a while, where the grass was slippery and hard packed, the forest roads were dusty and the sun was shining, on occasion. The result for me was awesome. I had a 2nd on the first day, but on day two I was leading by 2 seconds over Steve Holcombe, going into the last test. It was the most pressure I had to deal with all year. I did the best lap I could, no mistakes, smooth and fast and in the last test I beat Steve by 1 second, which meant I had won the day by as little as 3 seconds. After a long break of races in July, it all kicked off again at round 5 and 6 of the British Enduro at Knighton. This was my best British result of 2015, because I finished 4th on both days, and on day one I was only 2 tenths of a second behind David Knight, who was in 3rd. This was the first British Enduro event of the year that both tests were on grass, which I feel most comfortable on and love to ride. After a good run of results this year, I was chosen to ride for the British Trophy Enduro team in the ISDE. It was a great privilege to be able to ride for my country and in a sport I enjoy so much. We were there as a team walking all the tracks for a week leading up to the race and everyone was very helpful to one another, if they were struggling with anything. It was a great, new experience, where all through the year you're competing against the other riders, but at the ISDE you work as a team instead of an individual. But starting day one, on the first test, I made a small mistake and collided with a tree and I broke both my tibia and fibula. I was gutted that I couldn't complete the race, but I really appreciated the support from my fellow riders, everyone at the ACU and my family. After deciding to have surgery back in the UK, I flew home the next morning, which was an experience I never want to repeat. The surgery went well and they have pinned and screwed my tibia and with no cast I am hoping to be back riding by the end of the year. I am going to miss the remaining round this year but fortunately, I had gathered enough points through the year to come away with the E3 title in Championship class. Thank you to all my sponsors throughout 2015, I am grateful for your support and I look forward to a successful year in 2016."
By Joe Wootton
Mitch Lewis at Fat Cats - 06/10/2015
We pulled up to Fat Cats Saturday morning after delays in setting off thanks to Joe the mechanic! The sun was out though and the setup was looking good for Sunday so all was well.
I did not have the best of sleeps that night probably due to a bit of excitement and anticipation but hay ho!
Practice and qualifying came and I was slightly disappointed with my qualifying position but never the less it had to do. In the first race I didnt get the best of starts but made hay while the sun shone in the first couple of laps and put myself in 19th. In the last couple of laps I pulled up to 18th but then I think I must have moved awkwardly and pulled something in my back which had me in pain for the remainder of the race.
Race 2 I had another bad start. Managed to pull back some places with my speed but my back would not settle and got worse as the race went on.
By the time it came to race 3 the track had got a couple of burns in and the odd rut. I had an ok start and was in a middle position however I had to make the call no racer wants to make. I made the decision to pull in due to my back and went back to the truck disheartened. Not the best of ends to the year but made it back in one piece! Ill be looking now towards a bit of TLC for my body as I would not want to go through that disappointing end again.
I would like to say a huge thanks to all the people who are installing time in me and helping me along the way! Onwards and Upwards!
Rhian George wins the BEC Ladies Championship! - 20/09/2015
"I began my pre-season preparations, training with my coach Wyn Hughes and my team mate Joe Wootton. We focused a lot on motocross tracks and sand as the first round of the British championship was to be held in Elgin, Scotland and is notoriously sandy. It was great to be practising with two extremely fast and skilled riders. After a disastrous 2013/14 season due to knee ligament injuries I wanted to come back strong for the 2015 season. My speed started to come good and so did my technique although there was still a lot of work to do I was feeling confident. We then went to Doncaster Motor Park for another training session and there was a really woopie section which I found quite difficult. I hit it wrong and I was thrown over the front of the bike. I landed on my head and knocked unconscious while continuing to cartwheel down the track. Wyn was following me and said it was one of the nastiest crashes he had seen! (spectacular). When I came I didn’t know where I was or who Wyn was, it was terrifying. I was taken to hospital and spent the night there with bulging discs in my neck and my lower back from the impact of hitting the track. Between this and the amnesia, it was not a nice way to start my 2015 season.
I spent some time off the bike resting after that, knowing that the first round was fast approaching. We weren’t sure if we was going to be there as the injuries were quite bad. However I was determined and was ready to give it my best shot to secure points for the Championship. Along the epic journey we decided to take a slight short cut (which I am sure was a detour) through Glen Shee. There was about 4 feet of snow along the road sides, it was incredible like we had stumbled into Narnia of something. Being the big kid that I am of course I needed to get my feet soaking wet for a photo. When I finished playing in the snow we continued our journey.
The track was incredibly rough and the special test was right on the beach. Riding injured, my goal was to stay on the bike as it was so easy to make a mistake in that sand test. My fitness was good and I was able to manage the lead both days on what was a very physically demanding track. It was a hard race mentally there was some doubt whether or not my back and neck could take two days of continuous woops and sand however we left Scotland with two wins and the points lead. It was too soon to think about the Championship but to win when injured was a massive confident boost.
The third and fourth round was held at Helmsley. It’s fair to say I do not like this track however the special tests are always a challenge and a lot of fun. Day one was an absolute nightmare, I got lost on the going and ended up reaching the check a different way to everyone else. I was pointed in the right direction to ride what I had missed, only to miss the arrow and ride all of what I had already ridden again. Turns out the piece I had missed would have taken 2 minutes I spent more than 20 minutes re doing what I had already done along with this tiny piece. I dropped 8 minutes. I was frustrated, angry and heart broken.
To me winning was out of the question now. I did my best to put it behind me and focus on pulling time back in the tests. Having ridden here many times I knew the girls in my class would drop time too, I just needed to make sure that I dropped less than they did to claw back some points. I caught one girl up on the going and soon caught the other on the same minute. I knew now that I was no longer in last place and continued to hunt down the rest of my class.
Helmsley is a hard track for everyone but more so I feel for girls, mistakes started to happen in front of me. One poor girl crashed and tore a ligament in her knee and the other had major bike problems which caused her to DNF. By some miracle I won that day. I was incredibly angry that I had missed the arrow on the going, but speaking to friends and organisers I was by no means the only one. Day 2 I’m sad to say was no better I had a good lead after lap one. I was relaxed and having fun but when I got to the long enduro test, a plug fouled on the first corner. With my tools at the start of the test, I ran with my bike to the start. The engine was so hot and it was a nightmare to change the plug under so much pressure and panic. I lost a total of 7-8 minutes on that test due to the combination of frustration and the inability to get the old plug out. At this point I had enough of Helmsley, it just didn’t go well for me. Although annoyed and frustrated I continued to race hoping for some points. A repeat of the Saturday then happened when I caught the two girls in front of me and with a better mind set I started to ride well again. I was approaching the end of the lap when I heard shouting, looked down and my friend and main competitor was stuck at the bottom of the ravine. She told me she slid on the root in front of me and fell to the bottom. I got off my bike and man handled it over this root. I finished the day in first place as a result of the misfortune of others and pure determination to finish Helmsley. I now extended the points lead and although still not a fan of Helmsley a really bad weekend turned into a really good one for me and my team.
There was a bit of a gap before the next British and the next big event for me was the Welsh Two Day. I did this riding with fellow Freestyle rider Simon Bird. After a fake tan went wrong there was much to laugh about in the Freestyle awning, namely me and my orange body! Once I saw the entry list for the Clubman class I was a bit annoyed as many expert riders had dropped down to Clubman for this event. Being the ladies class I was automatically on Clubman schedule. We didn’t let this get to us and we had a great weekend. Simon and I walked the tests together and rode on the same minute. It was great to be riding with the whole team. I was having so much fun that I almost forgot it was a race, it was one big chilled out atmosphere all weekend and I loved it. I put in good test times and won both days in the Ladies class. Winning my third W2D. However I had another goal in mind I wanted top 10 in Clubman and with 126 rider in the class it wasn’t going to be easy. My tests were all so consistent and with no crashes or dramas, I DID IT! I finished 8th in clubman outright and to date this is my biggest achievement of the year. Simon had a great result too and Joe won day 2 outright so there was a lot to celebrate for Freestyle!
Round 5 and 6 took us to Knighton, an event I love. Lots of family and friends came to support me here and I wanted so badly to ride well. I walked the tests and I loved them, I had a really good feeling for this weekend. I had recently moved up to a new 2016 Husqvarna TE250 and having only ran it in, it was fair to say I was lacking some experience on it.
Day one was incredible, I had a good lead on the tests and came within 3 seconds of a Ladies World Championship rider. I was so happy after two hard rounds, I was finally able to show everyone what I could do. I won day one and was ecstatic. I was so happy with how I rode and with my new bike. I was so excited to get some practise on it and improve. Day two went something similar I had great test times. I was carrying a head cold which kept causing nose bleeds for me and on one check the officials kindly cleaned me up and rammed tissue up my nose as I looked like something from a horror movie. I made it to the next check and took my helmet off only to have a load of clubman riders looking at me strangely, the blood in my nose had dried to the tissue and the had absorbed most of it causing my nostril look massive, there was blood all in my teeth on my seat down my shirt all over my face and on the parts of the bike. My cousin was there and kindly cleaned me up so I didn’t look such a mess for my parents and Wyn. I got to the cross test and despite looking better than I had earlier, a few people asked had I had a fight with a tree. This was the last test of the day and I wanted to leave on a high. I went in and rode my heart out, everything was going great until I came into the last field only to drop the bike on the camber. With this crash I still put in a great time and won. I had a good points lead now and was feeling confident in my ability to race the 250.
Rounds 7 and 8 were nice and close to home at the Hafren. Having walked the tests with Joe (Wootton) and picking his brains about lines I felt really excited to race, because the cross test just looked awesome! Saturday morning many riders, my self-included, lost a minute on the check after the enduro test, due to confusion as to how far away the check was from the pits.
A couple of little mistakes, mainly trying to ride the 250 like a 125 had me on the ground several times however the cross test was so much fun and I set some decent times on it.
After a talking to from Dad I decided that racing the enduro test wasn’t the best idea. So I rode slower and sure enough was riding faster until the second to last corner. I put my left leg out to corner, my foot caught the rut and my boot was stuck. The bike fell on my knee forcing it to twist. I heard my knee POP and sure enough I screamed the test down. Kindly my competitor’s dad lifted the bike off from my knee and I scrambled back on to finished the test.
In an extreme amount of pain I dropped the bike against a fence and Colin from Freestyle and the paramedics came over to see what had happened. Funnily enough the paramedic knew me from past mishaps with my knee and so I ended up sat track side stripped down to my under shorts where they examined my knee. Colin tried to distract me from the pain by making jokes about the holes in my socks.
The examination led to suspicion of knee ligament injuries specifically my MCL and ACL. I had worked so hard all day that I was not prepared to hand over my result so I got dressed and with some help got back on the bike and rode to the pits. My uncle who also races kindly followed me back to the cross test where I would need to do my final test. I was struggling to lift my knee to change gear and found that I could only change gear through standing. The minute penalty from the check had been scrapped for everyone so I knew I didn’t need to be a hero in this test to win but after the crash there was nothing between myself and 2nd place and time wasn’t on my side so I couldn’t hang about too much. I kept telling myself it’s this test then its over, whatever happens in 10 minutes time I will be back at the awning finished for the day. My turn came to go into the test, I felt nervous and apprehensive I didn’t want to lose but the same time I didn’t want to make my injury worse. I set off and immediately went into a left sweeping corner the pain was unreal but I could get the balance to push on. There was a big step up after a few more corners, adrenaline took over and I hit the face of the jump flat in 4th I flew through the air dreading the landing thinking I’d made a silly mistake. I landed and my knee was fine with the impact, the tight left corners were almost impossible so I kept my foot on the peg to corner.
I pushed hard into every right hander I knew I had too, the step down was fast approaching and before I could think about it I was already in the air having not shut off. I landed deep into the next corner. I did my best were I could and finally finished. There was just the wait to see the times, after all of that I needed to know if I had won. I had done it, I was 10 seconds faster.
After taking my knee brace off we knew it wasn’t good as my knee began to swell up. Regardless I went to watch the Championship class through the test and after a quick chat with Saint Johns there, Dad decided it was time to go to A and E. We weren’t long until we were seen. The doctor said he didn’t think it was anything major perhaps a twisting of a ligament but nothing more. With this in mind we decided that we would race day two.
I was in a lot of pain day two but with the okay from the Dr we decided to race with my knee strapped up. I was coping okay with the tests although I was riding very cautious and the check times were quite slack, which meant I didn’t need to push on the going. A lap was taken off for day two which worked in my favour. We used our heads and we managed to win day two.
With 8 wins all I needed to win the Championship was another 3 points out of the total 60 available. My main competitior needed to win all three of these rounds to win the Championship. At the Natterjack she finished in 2nd, which secured me the 2015 British Championship.
After examination at the hospital it is confirmed that I have partly torn my MCL and have bursitis in my knee from all the cycling and rehab I have been doing. I now need total rest but I am hoping that my knee will be better for the last round at Muntjack, Diss.
I would like to thank all my sponsors at Freestyle for everything they have done for me, I also want to thank my Dad and Mum for getting me to all of the events and looking after me this year. I also want to thank everyone who supports me and cheers me on at the events, it means the world to have your support!"
Mitch Lewis trying out the new 2016 Husqvarna Motocross bikes! - 08/09/2015
"I didn't get that much sleep last night, I just wanted to see the 2016 Husqvarna motocross bikes up close and personal! The first impressions were great and I personally love the new look and the new shape!
The first bike I had a go on was the new FC250. I couldnt believe that they could be able to improve on the 2015 FC250 but they managed it. Every expectation I had was totally exceeded and I am really happy with how the bike felt.
Next up was the FC450. The 450 was an absolute animal and I loved every bit of it. The power is delivered fantastically and the bike has got such a nice feel in general. I just love the power of this bike over all others!
Lastly I put a leg over the new 125. This thing was so much fun and for a 125 did not have bac power at all. The noise is what I loved most about the 125, it was just singing! On the whole, all the new 2016 completely exceeded my expectations. How they managed to improve on the 2015 models in so many ways is astounding!
I would love to say a big thanks to Husqvarna and Freestyle bikes for having me today, it was awesome!!"
By Mitch Lewis