Battle royale between Halstead and Sudbury riders
Halstead’s Jason Morland and home rider Chris Hockey provided an enthralling two-team battle during Sudbury’s annual six-hour Endurothon at Foxborough Quarry.
Conditions were perfect for Sunday’s event at Sible Hedingham with the organisers having prepared an excellent course, including the two bogs.
Although there were only 29 teams of two this year, 31 competitors rode the iron man (solos) class.
In the championship class there were only two teams with Jason Morland (Halstead) and Julian Harvey (Ipswich) in one team, while Chris Hockey (Sudbury) sprang a surprise, teaming up with 18-year-old Brad Freeman from Staffordshire. In 2014 Freeman won the British 125cc Enduro Championship, Under-19 British Sprint Championship and Under-20 European Enduro Championship.
Morland got away first but Freeman kept him in his sights, and although Freeman is a top rider, at the end of laps one and two he failed to place his wrist band transponder correctly to the receiver and failed to record his position. However, as there were two back-up systems being operated on the day, he was later credited with these two laps.
These two teams fought tooth-and-nail all day, completing the same number of laps. But with Freeman showing his undoubted ability, Hockey/Freeman took first place by six minutes and seven seconds.
The expert class was hotly contested with Martin Stevens/Ed Pooley (Diss) taking first place on 36 laps and there were six teams completing 35 laps, but first over the finish line taking second place were Stephen and Mark Green (Sudbury).
Third were Danny Street/Dan Richardson (Sudbury/Halstead), fourth Phil Roper/Paul Belton (Sudbury), fifth Les and Alex Rampton (Sudbury), sixth Ben and Jack Grice (Lowestoft) and seventh Alex Walton/Andy Quorn (Sudbury).
If Walton had not got stuck in one of the bogs, which cost his team eight minutes, he and his riding partner could have won the class.
Matt Stone/Paul Hunt (Diss) won the clubman class with Dan Goodwin/Tom Morris (Sudbury/Diss) second, Marc Norton/Matt Smith (Sudbury) third, Martin Gunton/Gavin Potter (Sudbury) fourth, Stuart Philips/Matt Rampton (Sudbury) fifth, Paul Wilkinson/Dale Gladwin (Woodbridge/Sudbury) sixth, Ben Martin/Mark Fenwick (Sudbury) seventh and Edward and Euan Millar (Sudbury) eighth.
With Jamie and Craig Roper riding ironman class, it was expected they would battle for the first two places.
But Craig twice got stuck in the bogs, losing many minutes in time while Jamie had a few problems riding the bogs. But both of them just rode the day out, taking long breaks as there were no points at stake.
The eventual winner was Dan Hunt (Diss) on 31 laps. Second was Will Hughes (Braintree), third Alex Motts (Sudbury) both 30 laps, fourth Jason Carboult and young Samantha Webb, the only lady competitor, finished a creditable 14th.
The new transponder-based timing/recording system which was tried out was a great success.