A cold but sunny morning greeted eighty plus riders for the 68th running of this prestigious Open to Centre Trophy the ' Harold Avery Cup ' where in the past such great riders as John Avery Sammy Miller Don Smith Bill Faulkner Pat Lamper and John Reynolds have all been triumphant.
Twelve sections were plotted to be ridden three times with mainly long wooded climbs and loose cambers including a new Graded Hill.
Heavy afternoon rain was forecast so time was of the essence and most pressed on to get an early finish before the heavens opened.
Berko Expert Daniel Greeves 250 Beta took the premiere award with a five point margin over Will McBain 260 Montesa.
A steadying dab then feet up rides last two visits at section ten ' The Bomb Hole ' a knot of roots just inside the begins then a sharp very slick climb to high in the woods where a tricky turn awaited before descending was a tough section and a good effort form Dan.
Section five was probably the trickiest sub today with only two cleans recorded on the hard route Michael Johnson 300 Mont and Jack Williamson 300 Gasser getting to grips with this old favourite 200 yards of steep cambers and roots with an awkward left hand drop at the end.
Stefan Walters was best 50/50 one mark ahead of brother Darren with section twelve the deciding sub as nine for Stef and eleven for Darren were the scores at this very slick hazard first a gentle climb then flat out power to high on the bank before a very loose drop and turn over a fallen tree then an ultra slick sixty yard climb over muddy rocks.
On the White standard course the Best Adult performance ensures your name will be engraved on the Phillip Howkins Memorial cup and this year it is that of Rob Faulkner who put an accomplished ride in on the Scorpa although was caught out for a dab on section ten this was Rob's only loss of the day.
The 'Graded Hill' is quite a spectacle for the crowds to watch as it rises gently from the edge of the Evenlode river and 300 yards later we are talking probably a gradient of 1in1 for the last 20 yards or so and not for the faint hearted.
British Bike top man Tim Blackmore 250 James was flying today and a very respectable second place made for good reading from a field of 24 modern machines he was best Pre 65 on the standard route.
Tim was clean every lap at the newly cut Graded Hill the James 250 was having it's neck rung and clutch dropped and from this speedway type start there was no way it wouldn't get the job done.
John Langston took best Clubman on sixteen with youth B rider Brett Harbud 125 Gas Gas on seventeen also best in class.
In the Novice class it was hard to separate Jason Clifford and Stuart Belcher as both posted scores of twenty one with TSR 23E deciding the tie-break.
The ever popular Blue eased course saw twenty one riders set off to section seven and first man through was eventual winner Geoff Rank 249 Mont who migrated over from the far east of the centre to put an inch perfect demonstration in at this section starting on a gravely bank then rocky outcrops before letting it go on a steep and claggy camber.
Geoff pipped John Quigg 300 Beta by one mark with John taking a very spectacular tumble on the Graded Hill first attempt but still made the one marker.
Many thanks to all the observers who braved the cold.
Report Ken O'Brien
Premiere Daniel Greeves Beta 250 25
Will McBain 260 Mont 30
Thomas Plant 200 Beta 35
Michael Johnson 300 Mont 40
50/50 Stefan Walters 250 Beta 13
Darren Walters 250 Beta 14
Standard White Route
Phillip Howkins Cup Robert Faulkner 250 Scorpa 1
Pre 65 Tim Blackmore 250 James 6
Clubman John Langston 250 Gasser 16
Youth B Bret Harbud 125 Gasser 17
Novice Jason Clifford 250 Beta 21 TSR23E
Stuart Belcher 300 Gasser 21
Blue Easy Course
Geoff Rank 249 Mont 13
Jon Quigg 300 Beta 14
Craig Hargreaves 250 4RT 20
Neil Harris 250 Gasser 26
Ryan Harris Youth B 125 Gasser 28