Nestled on the border of Somerset and Dorset is the quiet little town of Henstridge. Henstridge is home to RocketWorld; the best Moto-X facility in the area with full MX track plus FMX & Enduro areas. For the last three years it has also featured a MTB Slopestyle/Dirt Jump course and last weekend RocketWorld hosted the first Bronze stop of the FMB World Tour to hit the UK this year.
In the lead up to the event there was talk of a whole new course being built for Dirt Wars to use but in the end we saw a revamp of the original course. From the roll in riders dropped into the first double, a 7 foot tall FMX kicker to dirt landing, which despite being a little on the mellow side, still gave riders a nice floaty first hit. The second jump was another kicker ramp and dirt landing combo but this time a very slight hip. The third jump of the course was now another straight double rather the step-on/step-off of last year but it seemed to flow nicer and make things a little easier for the riders.
This brought you to the halfway point where you doubled back on yourself and rode/pushed up onto the drop. This year the drop had been given a taller landing, smoother curve and a larger gap to help riders land smoothly with as much speed as possible. You were straight into the next double, another nice kicky wooden ramp to dirt landing before hitting a pump bump and the last double. With 6 opportunities to throw some mid air shapes the course was primed and ready for some action.
With most riders arriving by midday on Saturday, the finishing touches were made to the course and riders got practicing. In general the course seemed to be received well and with only a few minor changes to kicker positions everything was rolling sweet. As the day went on and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves in the hot sun, a riders meeting was called and a decision made to keep Saturday as a relaxed practice session. This meant that Qualifiers and Final would now be held the next day.
Saturday night saw a relaxing evening of tunes provided by the Dirt Wars crew, people enjoying a dip in the RocketWorld lake to help cool themselves down followed by the obligatory bonfire. Spirits were high and everyone was looking forward to Sunday’s main event.
Sunday morning arrived and after breakfast from the local café, riders got kitted up and back on the course. The wind had picked up compared to the day before and rather than just being a head or tail wind, it had moved round to more of a side wind. Some riders seemed to notice it more than others but the show went on.
Open category saw a number of familiar faces competing as well as one young lad that had come down with the Essex crew, for whom it would be his first competition. A few of the riders didn’t seem to quite have their spark and consistency that they usually bring while some were visibly nervous hitting the fair sized drop on the start to the return straight.
Initially there were 9 riders in the open category but due to an unfortunately over rotated underflip from Joe Aldridge, he managed to dislocate his shoulder taking himself out of contention. 8 riders had to be reduced to 5 for the final so it was all guns blazing for the riders wanting the podium. The 5 riders making it through were…
1 – Andy Crawford – 46.0
2 – Harry Campbell – 44.5
3 – Jack Cardy – 42.0
4 – Jack Ambler – 39.5
5 – Darren Eastall – 35.0
Moving onto the Pro Qualifiers and the wind had picked up even more. A good few of the riders were feeling a bit apprehensive especially on the second straight where you could easily get blown out of shape tricking the drop. A 45-minute delay was agreed to see if things would calm down weather-wise and luckily it did enough to get the qualifiers under way. Straight away the land owner, Chris “Rocket” Rose was stunned at how the level of riding had risen since last years comp; mid-set frontflips and flip-whips were just standard affair this year!
Again we had one rider drop out due to re-aggravating an injury so the Pro qualifier would also be looking to drop the 8 remaining riders down to 5 for the final. From the offset Sam Reynolds, Tom Cardy, Ray Samson & Daryl Brown were looking strong with such good consistency throughout the course. Tom Reynolds also looked super smooth and as if he could drop a bomb any moment, especially in his super cool checked shorts & DH pad combo! Matt Scott & Freddy Pulman also looked good but struggled to piece together the whole run that they wanted. In the end the qualifying scores looked like this…
1 – Tom Cardy (Dartmoor/X-Fusion) – 54.5
2 – Sam Reynolds (Polygon/Monster/Fox) – 52
3 – Daryl Brown (BullsBikes/Mountainbikerider) – 49.0
4 – Ray Samson (DMR/X-Fusion/Morevelo) – 47.5
– Charlie Watts (Static/Void) – 47.5
6 – Tom Reynolds (Specialized UK/PedalHeaven)– 46.0
7 – Freddy Pulman (Spank/Marzocchi/One Ind.) – 43.5
8 – Matt Scott (Deity/Grein Optic) – 43.0
With the ever-unpredictable wind becoming even stronger the worries of the Pro riders had started to wear off on the Open finalists and for a while they were sat at the top of the roll in considering their options. Darren Eastall was adamant that he didn’t mind riding through the jumps but tricking them was out of the question for him; it was funny how his first run of the finals had no tricks in it, but after banger runs from Jack Ambler & Andy Crawford, Darrens second & third runs saw a few shapes being thrown.
It was clearly going to be Harry Campbell, Andy Crawford & Jack Ambler on the podium but it was down to who could hold their nerve in the wind & still stomp the stunts. It was so close, Harry & Andy even ended up with the exact same score so things had to come down to the rider with the highest score tally between the three final runs. It was Harry that took third with stylish disco-cans, 360 one-handers & a 360 x-up on the last as Andy just pipped him for second. Not riding as comfortably as he usually does Andy’s tailwhips and 360 tweakers still looked boss. But with a clear win in the finals was Jack Ambler with runs fill of truck drivers, flip no-handers and his usual huge superman’s. The final results were…
1- Jack Ambler – 51.0
2 – Andy Crawford – 44.5
3 – Harry Campbell – 44.5
4 – Jack Cardy – 39.5
5 – Darren Eastall – 36.5
At this point unfortunately the Pro riders were really unsure whether the wind had got too much for them to safely ride a final. The gusts had grown stronger and you could see how the banner hanging from the drop was blowing around. To try and make the finals take place we waited for another hour as the airfield’s weather forecast had said that the wind was due to drop. Unfortunately this never happened and the Pro final was cancelled. Thankfully we had the qualifier results to fall back on & Tom Cardy was crowned the RocketWorld champion for 2014.
Keep your eyes out for details of our next round to be announced very soon on our website and social media sites…