The 2nd round of the Eddys X-treme series returned to Tong, West Yorkshire on Sunday 8th January. Paul Edmondson stayed close to the formal that proved so successful last year and once again attracted the elite of Britain's World class Extreme riders. David Knight, Jonny Walker and Graham Jarvis walked the course on Saturday. David had a disastrous first round with a temperamental gear selector and Santa had brought him a double hernia operation so he thought Tong would be less about racing and more like physiotherapy. One new feature of the course that fired a lot of debate was a possible jump across an 8 foot wide ditch with a short run up. It would prove to be crucial element on the day.
Sunday and the weather was overcast but dry and mild with patches of blue lighting the horizon. Tong is a tremendous location overlooked by the manor with it's spectacular views of the West Yorkshire moors. The start of all major events is easy to find - it's next to the MPS Racing truck. Husqvarna also had their arch in place and Husqvarna dealer South Lakes Offroad had a stand displaying the latest models. GasGasUK had a stand and Steve Plain GasGasUK were supporting Tom Sagar and Danny McCanney.
Qualifying started at 9.30am for the Clubman and the Vets. The rocky climb up the face of their dam seemed less daunting than last year when it glistered black with wet lichen. It tempted more riders to try their luck but soon became congested as the luck ran out. Finding the left hand blocked Chris Salt launched an attack on the right. For a moment the impossible looked possible then the moment passed but it was a brave effort. Fellow Vet Mark Houson timed his run perfectly and breezed across the face on the pegs. After an hour Lee Edmondson cleared the course and picked up the pieces. Alun Price's son Aled set the best time ahead of veterans Craig Parkes and Mark Houson.
The Pros and Experts qualified next and the spectators crowded around the dam. The obvious line was up 2 steps on the left at the bottom then climb diagonally across the face and finally turn right at the top. Unfortunately there was a network of crevices between the slabs at the top that trapped the Clubman riders front wheels and stopped them dead. David Knight was the first to arrive and his solution was as simple as it was elegant. He avoided the corner completely by simply riding up the face on the back wheel. The healing power of the KTM 300 was clearly working it's magic. David qualified first and Graham Jarvis was 2nd. Jonny Walker was 3rd and Tom Sagar was 4th. Jonny and Tom were riding after a bout of overnight sickness had affected them both. Jack Lee in 8th was the quickest Expert.
The Youth race for 13 to 16 year old. Brad Freeman won in a very close race with runner up Micheal Gilby.
The Main race began at 12.30pm. David Knight led from the start. Graham Jarvis was 2nd, Jonny Walker 3rd, Paul Bolton 4th and Ben Hemingway. Graham and the Hemingway brothers were following David's lines but Knighter had the bit between his teeth and he was pulling away. Tom Sagar was going well in 6th but he was clearly unwell and retired. Rob Johnson was also having a good ride until his chain snapped at the furthest point from the pits.
At the half way stage David Knight led from Graham Jarvis, Jonny Walker, Paul Bolton and Ben Hemmingway with MPS Racing's Jamie Lewis and GasGasUKs Danny McCanney moving up into 5th and 6th.
After the event Graham Jarvis said " It was a really tough event. We know Tong. After a few laps it does start get harder .Lots of roots start to appear and ruts get deeper - lots of other riders getting stuck. I made few mistakes getting around them but I think it was a good result for me. I felt pretty good and didn't get too tired. We were trying out a new prototype Golden Tyre Extreme moose - softer and springier - which worked well."
For many riders Extreme racing is a necessary evil. Danny McCanney openly admits he hates extreme races and can’t wait for the BEC, Sprint and EWC to start. This was an encouraging result for Danny after his bad result at round 1 at Buxton.
Jack Lee finished 11th to clinched the Experts and 47 year old Mark Jackson was the runner up in 13th overall.
The battle for the Veterans class between Craig Parkes and Mark Houson went down to the line with Craig snatching the win on the last lap.
Experts 1. Jack Lee 2. Mark Jackson 3. Luke Copestake
Clubman 1. Josh Law 2. Aled Price 3. Lee Sealey
Vets 1. Craig Parkes 2. Mark Houson 3. Scott Stevenson