This weekend, youngsters from all over the UK converged at the National Motorcycle Museum to collect their ACU British Championship Awards.
The afternoon event for Youth Awards celebrated the achievements of young motorcycle riders competing in trials, grass track, speedway and motocross. The winners of each class were invited to attend the evening gala, where they were joined by the adult competitors.
Gary Thompson MBE BEM, General Secretary of the ACU, was Master of Ceremonies, said: “The presentation is all about the award winners and I can’t think of another venue more suitable for us to hold our event, as we celebrate our competitors in the company of fellow motorcycle enthusiasts.”
With 11 different trials classes up for awards, Gary introduced Trial 2 World Champion, Iwan Roberts, along with ACU Trials and Enduro Secretary, Mary Kerr on stage to present the trophies and medals. First up, the girls, and OSET Alumni, Sophie Bailey, Olivia Brooksbank and Ella Doherty, all stepped up to the stage to take their winners awards in their respective classes.
A delighted Sophie, said: “I have been determined that this would be my year! It feels amazing to be British Champion! I have to thank my parents for all their support and getting me up and down the country! I started riding my OSET when I was six and have loved trials riding ever since!”
Ella Doherty from the Isle of Man, echoed Sophie’s sentiments; “My absolute ambition is to be World Champion. Emma Bristow is amazing and I would love to follow in her footsteps. It’s been an incredible year, including my first taste of European level riding. I am lucky enough to be part of the Station Garage team, which is loads of fun and gives me loads of support – I can’t thank them enough – the whole crew are brilliant!”
Summer Peters also from the Isle of Man and Summer Brooksbank (if you want your daughter to be a trials rider perhaps consider naming her Summer) rode up in the C-Class and took fourth and fifth on their OSET bikes – a magnificent achievement given they were riding against girls almost double their age.
For 2018 however, there is an opportunity for female riders to compete in a separate D-Class for the first time. Albeit they may still be riding the same course as the C-Class, it is up to individual event organisers should they decide to set out a fourth course, purely for D-Class.
Ian Smith from OSET Bikes, said: “I really welcome the introduction of a separate D-Class for female riders. We know there are lots of girls that ride OSET Bikes and the opportunity to compete at the highest level, for our youngest riders is an exciting prospect. I hope many will support the move made by the ACU to make provision for the D-Class and appreciate the extra work involved for organisers.”
For several years, OSET Bikes has dominated the small wheel D-Class, and the 2017 season proved no exception. 2017 British Champion is Euan Sim from Oban, Scotland. One of the quieter riders in the championship, the wee Scot simply got down to the business of winning! Dapper, Will Sagar bagged second spot, while OSET’s own Elliot Smith, no longer missing flags, enjoyed third position. In what is a robust class, fourth went to Euan’s mate from the West coast of Scotland, Joe Drysdale and the strong Isle of Man trials scene, saw the boy with the biggest smile collect fifth – Stanley Cubbon.
Moving up a wheel size, petrol and electric machines were separate classes for 2017. A trend that continues this year.
D-Medium and C-Medium wheels saw Toby Shaw and Myles Hutchinson both step up to the bigger class and retain their British Championship crowns. A huge achievement for both boys and restatement to their consistent riding ability.
Toby was undefeated all year, taking maximum marks and leaving the rest of the field to battle it out for the remaining positions (#TonyBouStyle). Stefan Mewett-Richardson from Kent and Alexander Horne from Yorkshire went head to head all year, with the final result decided by one dab at the final trial. Stefan pipped Alex in the end through sheer determination and no slack dabs! The trio were joined by Jonathan ‘Johnnie’ Fannon in fourth.
Ian, Stefan’s dad, said: “I couldn’t be more proud! Stefan has always been there or thereabouts for a few years now, so I am delighted for him that not giving up and his hard work has paid off with this fantastic achievement that he can treasure.”
It seems every class of trials has innate rivalries and the C-Class Medium Wheel electric was no different! Training buddies and friends, Myles ‘Hutchy’ Hutchinson and Dominic ‘Dominator’ Horne went toe to toe in the four round Championship. Dom won the first two rounds and Myles won the final two. With a winner takes all final round win, the Championship went to Myles.
Michelle Horne, Dom’s mum, said: “There has always been a fantastic rivalry between these two! It’s a great achievement for Myles, we’re really happy for him…but you know that scene in Rocky where Apollo and Rocky have a private bout…if you’re ever up on Harden Moor and you see two young boys goading each other to get over the biggest rock…that’ll be these two!”
Doncaster lad, Thomas Wright completed his first national championship to finish third, with Dylan Ratcliffe in fourth.
2018 Girls National will have seven rounds, kicking off at North Berks on 11 March. The 2018 Youth National will have 8 rounds, starting a month later on the 14 April with a double header in the Isle of Man. A full list of championship dates and locations can be found here.
All that remains to be said is well done to everyone on their 2017 achievements and the best of luck for the 2018 season – no slack dabs and have fun!