All content © Bob MuIIins
2018 Rock Oil Championship R8
Round 8 of the Rock Oil Championship headed for the Lancashire Hills last Sunday for probably one of the best events ever staged at Lee Dell. Near perfect ground conditions saw a great line up of competitors going head to head around the full on Enduro XC lap.
Youth riders ran on a suitable 7-8 minute lap. Right from the flag drop Billy Haigh on his Team CarCredit365 KTM was on a mission. His MX skills clear to see he took a one lap winning margin over William Cawte from the Isle of Man. Haigh's team mate Brandon Burns stood on the podium for a solid third on the day. Local youth B rider Hayden Stansfield was in fine form at his home race. Hayden won the class by just over 5 minutes after his nearest challenger Bert Boam, Boam was forced to ride his last few laps with a front flat which slowed his pace. Harry Walker chased as hard as he could to catch Boam, but had to settle for a credible third in class at the finish flag. Theo Nicholson took the auto win, with his mate Jack Houghton in runner up place. Jamie Patrick overcame cooling problems to get three laps in for a fine third place.
With a good turn out of morning race riders the full adult loop was now opened up by RAW marshals, this included the fierce off camber trail behind the bottom fishing lodge. Mick Alderson overcame a less than perfect start in the sportsman vets class to take the win on the day. Local man Dan Hunter was delighted with his runner up spot as he gets back to full race fitness. Andy Williams out on a borrowed bike worked hard in the closing stages to overtake Martyn Thomas and Mark Vardy for third place. Vardy took a heavy crash just metres from the finish, he was still able to cross the finish line to record a finish. Richard Taylor had his sights set on the Sportsman Championship this season, his domination of the class continues with another win with maximum points. Josh Hornshaw had a guest ride and took runner up place on his KTM, and Nick Taylor rounded out the podium with a solid third. Colin Mills was the Over 50 winner from Championship leader Andy Kirby. Local ace Pete Fletcher was the only other Over 50 on 12 laps. Simon Collins continues to confirm his upgrade for 2019, out on his new bike he took the novice win by almost two laps ahead of RAW newcomer Max Varty. Jonathan Lambert Cousins never gives up and his third secured valuable Championship points. Only two ladies rode at Lee Dell, Simone Wallis and Abbie Piggott were having a great battle until Abbie took an Awkward fall resulting in a very sore thigh. Simone took the win, although she's the first to say she'd rather have had Abbie fully fit racing with her.
The RAW marshals had been hard at work preparing two extra loops for the more experienced PM riders to negotiate. A top line up of Experts and Clubman were told on the start that the race would be a 2 hour sprint due to the possibility of Heavy Rain (which never arrived) at 3pm. As the flag dropped local extreme addict Chris Windle took the holeshot and led for the first few laps. Chris Hughes on enduro duty had an awful start being dead last away with work to do. Add in the likes of Jack Spencer Brad Lilburn and Brandon Sharples, and it was always going to be a close finish. On the final lap and with one fuel stop each done Hughes Led Spencer onto a frantic last lap. First over the horizon was Spencer as he'd pushed harder than ever for his first RAW Enduro win. Handshakes at the finish saw the only two experts doing 15 laps swapping stories. Chris Windle had a big get off a couple of laps from the end and was lucky to get away with minimal damage to man and machine. Windle's third was a good finish on home soil. Clubman honours went to Tommy Grimmer who controlled the race with style taking the win. Second place however was a battle with the top two Championship riders. Neil Marshal loves Lee Dell and RAW Team rider Joe Townsend would not letting him go, a forced splash and dash fuel stop for marshal saw the pair enter the last lap seconds apart. First back off the fast field section was Marshal with Townsend right in his roost, Marshal had it bagged until his KTM gasped for fuel less than 10 metres from the finish line leaving Townsend to steal runner up place. Well done to both riders for an awesome race. The Elite Vets class saw another super close finish as Ryan Patrick grabbed the win from BEC regular Colin Blunt. Colin made a mistake on the last lap leaving him less than 50 seconds off his younger rival at the flag.
The racing at Lee Dell complimented the Rock Oil Championship with the respect it deserves. Some talk about battles on track, the riders who were involved on Sunday know just how tight and close the competition was. This is exactly the kind of racing that is needed with just two rounds remaining. Carlton Grange on October 7th, and a Brand New Enduro Venue, lined up for the final showdown on October 28th will see the Championship reach new heights ahead of the 2019, the fifth year of the RAW Enduro era.
Thanks to all RAW Marshals and well done to everyone who competed around one of the best Lee Dell Tracks ever.
The Next Event is Carlton Grange YO62 5HH Sunday October 7th.