Hockey gets an early head start on Roper

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The anticipated main battle of the Eastern Centre Solo Enduro Championship saw round one go to Sudbury’s Chris Hockey against teammate Jamie Roper.

In the forest of Santon Downham, Diss Motorcycle Club hosted the curtain-raiser of the G H Motorcycles/Husqvarna/Eastern Centre Solo Enduro Championship last Sunday.

The large entry included many top British riders who were taking the opportunity to try out the terrain, which is used later in the year for a British National Enduro round.

The top-four places in the Championship Class were taken by these national riders with the winner being current British champion Tom Sagar.

Current Eastern Centre Champion Roper (seventh), carrying a shoulder injury from the previous week’s practising, lost out on the best of the rest to nine times winner Chris Hockey (Sudbury) (sixth).

The luckiest rider on the day was Halstead’s Jason Morland, who before the event was first reserve.

However, it was thanks to Kelvin Vant (Sudbury) having to withdraw that Morland got a ride and finished eighth.

Others Sudbury riders’ positions were: Steve Mason ninth, Sam Toy 10th, Ricky Roper 11th and Craig Roper 14th.

In the Expert Class top Sudbury rider was Nick Barrett 9th followed by Darren Nicolaou 10th, Andy Tyler 11th and Ian Tutton 14th.

In the new Expert Over-40 Class, Sudbury’s Graham Mays was fifth with Richard Walters eigth, Mark Waller ninth, Jeff Sharp 11th and Simon Larner 14th.

There were no Sudbury riders scoring points in the Clubman Class but they were more successful in the other two new classes of Over-40 and Over-50.

In the Over-40 Mark Green was fourth, Jeff Turner fifth, Dean Curry sixth, Ian Head 11th, David Meehan 13th and James Millar 15th.

The Over-50 Class saw a win for Gary Drage with Andy Mason third, Julian Mair ffith, Alister McFarquhar sixth and Ed Kerridge seventh.

Six of the eight members of Team Dave Roper competed and it looked that new member, 16-year-old Euan Millar, was going to cause an upset.

He had the fastest times in the two special tests and all he needed to do was the ride the final session, which had a tight time schedule of 28 minutes.

But, after a good start, he failed to finish. This left the door open for Jack Nicolaou to take first place with new boy, 15-year-old Alex Rampton just behind him.

George Warren was third, George Eustace fourth and Ben Roper ffith.

Round two will be held on March 16 at Butley, near Woodbridge.

The weekend before will see Sudbury Motorcycle Club’s Endurothon on March 9 at Foxborough Quarry, Sible Hedingham and already the entry list has topped 80.