New Blonde on the Block: First Toe in the Water - 29/04/2015
So I started at Freestyle 2 years ago now. I may have grown up with a bike obsessed father but to me, the thrill was on four legs. With 2 daughters both inheriting the love of everything equine, my father soldiered on alone with his sport of motocross, not in the slightest bit downhearted. My mother spent her mornings and evenings “playing horses” (as he liked to call it) with my sister and I while he was left to his own devises “tinkering” (as we liked to call it) and working on his plans for a new age of off-road motorcycle shopping.
We watched from our own high horses as he raced his bike around the fields, our ponies were always completely nonplussed about the roar of engines and the smell of exhaust fumes which where the norm around our place. He would take us both on the front of his bike with him and zoom around up the steep hills and over man made jumps all before health and safety got the better of us.
He eventually delighted in watching us compete our horses, finally succumbing to the fact that a beating heart always won over a thumping engine in our minds but that was no reason why he couldn't get stuck in to winning.
As we grew up we took our separate paths with both horses and life in general and I found myself in the world of horse racing. The sound of the pounding hooves, the thrill of the excitable horses both young and experienced took hold of me and soon I was riding in races with my father on the sidelines screaming his lungs out cheering!
As much as I loved the lifestyle of getting up at the crack of dawn in freezing weather and the pitch black of morning it wasn't something for the rest of my life. So when my father came to me offering a position in the family business of Freestyle, I was intrigued.
Originally starting out running the new coffee shop, my role has grown and evolved into marketing manager for the entire business including the garden machinery and both branches. However this obviously has not in any way been without challenges and stumbles along the way!
So this is my blog all about the journey of learning the bike world from an outsider where I discover the ins and outs of the social circle of off-road bikes, the racing, the shopping, the engines and the speed bumps along the road. Even though I have yet to give in to the weekly jibes of “When you getting on a bike then?” which I then give a quick return right hook with “When you get on my race horse”, I do my best to take in what I can about the “Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow” engine routine... Speaking of which, they might be doing their best to dumb down the intricate systems of the inner mechanisms of an automotive engine, but they could have come up with something with a little less innuendo...
As a young woman used to competing in a man's world it still surprises me sometimes by how many still believe these sports are for men. Horse racing is a tough sport which many understand as being dominated by the male gender but it is one of few sports where men and women are able to compete on even ground.
Motocross, Enduro and Trials are similar case's where men and women are put on the line next to each other, both ride the same course and the fastest/best score is the winner. End of. Although there are classes and championships taken from women's results the actual competing is done alongside the men.
In my opinion there should be no question as to whether women should be included in the final scores. In many cases I've seen us girlies beat a lot of the top competition but when we do there is always amazement. There may be fewer than us, but why should there be?
So I urge you ladies, get yourself a bike! Its fantastic exercise, apparently its good fun although I am not up for finding out for myself just yet, and damn girl those men find it sexy! What's more irresistible than a girl who can kick your a** at such a manly sport.
Especially one where you can incorporate the phrase “Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow”...!
Job Vacancy at Wales branch of Freestyle - 24/04/2015
Due to the success of our Wales branch which opened in July 2014 we are currently looking for a new member of staff for part time hours to possibly go full time eventually.
Based in Newtown, Powys our store in Wales has had massive success in its 10 months of being open. Managed by Wyn Hughes, 9 time British Enduro Champion and this wife Tracy we are looking for a new member to join the Freestyle team to handle admin and sales.
South Eastern Centre Motocross Championships round 2 by Mitch Lewis - 21/04/2015
"This weekend was the South Eastern Centre championship round 2 held by GEST MCC Club at the Iden Circuit situated near Rye.
Gest was the first club I raced for at the age of 6 years old, so it was nice to return to where it had all started and see some familiar faces in the paddock. On arrival the weather was bright and fresh. We signed on and were scrutineered for hopefully a great days racing.
Practice/Qualifying - Me and my Freestyle FC250 Husqvarna were feeling as one and ready for the challenge. Qualified pole position in the expert class. Happy and looked forward to the first race. The Course was prepared to a good standard, even though it was a little tight and twisty.
There was a slight delay for race 1 due to a previous accident but we eventually set off. I didnt get a great start coming around in 6th place. But I made some good passes and went into the lead. Finishing a winner.
Much Better start for race 2, coming round in 3rd. Unfortunate back brake locking on issue, held us back finishing 3rd.
I got the best start of the day in race 3, finding the holeshot. Pushing hard to break the pack, but had an unfortunate off and finished 2nd.
The day was finished with a 2nd overall, with some good points and we are now leading this championship.
I would like to thank the team at Freestyle Bikes and Husqvarna for there continued help and support. I would also like to thank HM Racing for there suspension setup which was working well. Thanks to a strong family unit this would not be possible.
Onto Blaxhall Pitts this weekend, but can’t wait for my first pro MX2 race in the Maxxis British Championship held at my favourite track Canada Heights."
Many thanks from us to all our sponsors and those who helped officiate and organise these events
Freestyle Motocross rider
Freestyle at the British Enduro Championship by Wyn Hughes - 13/04/2015
"Easter weekend was the first round of the British enduro championship, held in Lossiemouth Scotland. After a mere 9 hour drive we set up camp for the weekend. Friday morning we woke to fine drizzle.
Our two Freestyle riders for the weekend were Joe Wootton and Rhian George who were both recovering from injuries but were raring to prove they were back in business. Joe had only been back riding for two weeks after partially dislocating his shoulder, and Rhian had a mammoth crash 2 weeks ago knocking herself out and suffering some back injuries. We spent a lot of Friday walking tests and making final adjustments to the bikes. The course was a 22 mile lap with a 5-6 minute test. This looked a very demanding course and rumour had it that it was going to be tight on time. Both riders were concerned as to how their injuries were going to hold out but were looking forward to it nonetheless. Saturday started at 10am with Joe facing a six hour day and Rhian slightly less. Today was a day they both needed to get under their belt. A tough day even for the fittest of riders. Joe posted some steady times and finished the day with a 1 minute time penalty, bringing home a finish of 2nd in the E3 class for the day and 14th overall in the Elite class. Rhian however had a 4 minute time penalty but easily won the ladies class despite this. Early to bed to rest there weary bodies Saturday night ready for an even earlier start on Sunday. We woke to fine sunshine Sunday morning. One lap less for each class but the check times were still very tight for all. Joe scraped through the day with no penalties holding on to his 2nd in class for day 2, and 12th overall. Rhian getting a second wind and boost to her confidence brought home the win again for day two. Well done to both riders for getting through the exhausting weekend. On behalf of Freestyle and our riders we would like to thank all our sponsors for their continued support."
Wales branch Manager, and 9 times British Enduro Champion
Trials British Championship Rounds 1 & 2 - 23/03/2015
So Saturday was round 1 of the British Trials Championship at Hookwoods.
It was a tough opening round with the rocky course causing a few problems throughout the day but it was a well organised event and an enjoyable day for all. None of the Freestyle riders were in attendance unfortunately but we sponsored a high profile section and had a feature in the programme.
It had a number of the top riders jockeying for first position until the end but it was James Dabill who came out on top, closely followed by Michael Brown and Sam Haslam.
There was a great effort made and some fantastic riding by some of the local boys with Jonny Starmer winning the experts class, Ben Morphett in second and Tom Minta in third.
Sunday was round 2 at Butser Limeworks. It was another tough event with a very well set out course. A lot of riders found the terrain challenging as the results showed.
The Championship class was again won by James Dabill on the new Vertigo bike. with Brown and Haslam bringing in 2nd and 3rd again.
The Experts class was won Dan Thorpe, 2nd was Thomas Hooper and Tom Affleck in 3rd.
Freestyle riders Simon "Birdie" Bird and Ashley Newbery were in attendance at Butser and both had a very good result inside the top 10!
The steep climbs and slipperly banks suited them well and they finished the day 8th and 9th in a very competative class beating a number of very skilled riders.
As usual we would like to thank all our sponsors and all who helped organise and officiate at both events.
The Tough One by Ben Wibberley - 12/03/2015
"Well this isn't called "The Tough One" for no reason. An event of rocks, tyres, logs, cars, lorry trailers, massive uphills and even bigger downhills!! This event is most definitely not for the faint hearted!
Saturday 7th March at Nantmawr Quarry in Wales. The original home of The Tough One after a year at Hawkstone Park last year. Lucky for me is fellow Freestyle rider Joe Wootton lives 20 minutes down the road so this is where we stayed Friday evening.
The race didn't start till 3.45pm on Saturday so there was no rush in the morning and it gave me a chance to watch the Sportsman and clubman race's and see a few different lines for the afternoon. The only trouble is that after 4hrs of racing, the rocks and previously dry, grippy parts of the course where then like ride riding on ice.
At 3.45 I was stood at the bottom of track waiting for the flag to drop. A Le Mans inspired start meant running 200 metres uphill which was seriously hard going. There were a number riders tripping over half way. I just concentrated on staying on my feet and keeping steady. I got to my bike about 6th place and the 2.5hrs race had begun.
It was beautiful sunshine (didn't think this ever happened in Wales) and I got off to a fast start.
The first part of the lap wasn't too extreme with a bit of woods, fast flowing fields and a few naggery rocks. The tough part came when you enter the lower part of the quarry.
The big hill wasn't too much of a problem going up but the dissent was awful, about 100 metre drop and very rooty. Creeping over the edge of it and being as steady as possible was the idea but after the top part there was no option apart from letting it roll and stopping at the bottom somewhere without hitting the trees on the way down. Unfortunately a pro rider hit a tree and knocked himself out for 15 minutes. Luckily he made a full recovery but I never found out any more of the story.
Following this was tractor tyres, man made logs and rock gardens including the main big rock garden. This was energy draining and I'd like to thank a friend Cliff Barnett who helped pull me through when I was struggling. The lap ended with jumping out of the lorry trailer over a London black cab.
After the second lap I was in 2nd place in the Experts and going well, but after an hours riding I started to tire.
Making mistakes and a few crashes dropped me to 6th place eventually and 19th overall. Still a good result but there are improvements to be made. I could see the difference in myself to Jonny Walker and Graham Jarvis. They are so fit and fast and they start fast and can keep that pace all the way through. Both amazing riders and true champions of the sport.
The bike was amazing and didn't miss a beat. Big thanks to Freestyle, my dad and all the sponsors who support me as well as all spectators who helped pull us all through when we were at the end of our tethers! I will definitely be back next year to give it another go! Next stop is Erzberg on the Extreme calendar for me."
Many thanks to Ben for this race report and we wish him loads of luck at Erzberg!
Championship Rd SEEC Timecard Enduro at Wiley by Ben Wibberley - 26/02/2015
"Witley held round one of the SEEC Timecard Championship. It was at Warren Heath which was a good 2 hours drive, this unfortunately meant getting up at 5.20 to get loaded and arrive for a suitable time.
ATTENTION: Bike stolen from one of our customers - 25/02/2015
ATTENTION: One of our customers bikes has been stolen from Guilsfield, Welshpool!
It is an FE350 2015 Husqvarna
with Husqvarna graphics and Freestyle fork stickers. Distinctive blue Acerbis wrap around handguards fitted.
Vin number: VBKUAA409FM223698
Reg: GK64 GVD
It has a crack in the right hand side panel!
If you have any information regarding this please either contact police or our wales branch immediately!
Lets not let them get away with it and get this guys bike back home!
Round 2 of the Fast Eddy Xtreme Enduro by Ben Wibberley - 26/01/2015
"The day started a little cloudy but some sunny spells throughout the day meant a nice temperature for riding, with a cool breeze but without the bitter cold that had plagued most of the country these last few weeks. The course looked wet and muddy in tough in places but I was keen on it and I was confident as I prepped my bike for the day ahead.
The Experts race started at 12.30pm after the morning Sportsman, Vets and Youth race. I was lined up behind the Pros who were in 2 rows, the flag dropped and they set off, 10 seconds later so did we in one line of 40 riders!
In only 10 meters or so was the first slippy little rock garden and getting mass bikes through this turned into carnage! I had a horrendous start and got completely taken out into the first corner, unfortunately this meant entering this rock garden behind the whole field of riders.
This lost me a lot of time and then it was a constant battle through traffic.
It was a tough 2 and a half hours race with no let up for a rest. I struggled to get myself into a stride for the first lap or two but then I found my rhythm and knuckled down to bring in some good lap times. The conditions got worse and worse as the day went on with the mud getting deeper but I owe a lot to a number of spectators who helped me up some of the steeper hills.
It was a tough day with constant pounding on the body but I pushed on best I could and managed 10th in the Experts and 23rd overall. I feel the start was where I lost most ground but this is something I can learn from. We were all quick off the mark but next time I wont allow them to cut me up so easily!"
The Freestyle Sidcup 60 Trial Race report - 19/01/2015
It was a cold overcast start to the day as 120 riders set out the Canada Heights for the Sidcup 60 Trial sponsored by Freestyle. We had 4 riders entered for the trial, Simon Bird, David Gilbert, Alex Davies and Ashley Newbery who unfortunately was unable to attend due to injury. Simon and David, both in the Expert Elite class, had a reasonably successful day bared by a few unfortunate errors along the way. They headed off to section 1 and was greeted by one of the hardest sections of the day, but having conquered it they were warmed up and scored consistantly throughout the rest of the sections.
Alex, our youth competator of only 10 years old, has recently moved up a class so had a great challenge in front of him. Having taken the first few sections to get into his stride, overcoming an unfortunate mishap resulting in a broken mudguard, he went on to finish an enjoyable day where others failed to do so.
In all, the trial proved to be a challenge to all classes, with some tricky sections and difficult conditions. Although the day was long and tiring the majority of the field thoroughly enjoyed their days sport.
We would like to thank all our sponsors as ever as well as all the helpers and observers without whom the day could not take place.