Walker takes first British overall win
A week after sewing up third in the European Championship Harry Walker returned to domestic action and notched up his first ever overall win in the Cromwell Trucks British Championship at Dean Moor on Sunday.
In doing so Walker also clinched victory in the Willcock Holeformers Under 21 Category and also became the recipient of the prestigious Connor Smith Memorial Trophy, to make it his most successful weekend to date.
However, to seal his career best result 19-year-old Walker had to go toe-to-toe with the most experienced man in the field - former British Champion Justin Reid - with only Walker’s better result in the final race being enough the split the pair. Walker’s 2-3-1 score and Reid’s 1-2-3 meant the pair tied the day on 67 points.
Reigning British Champion Paul Holmes (3-4-2) put in a solid days work to secure third overall and in doing so stretched out his points lead with two rounds remaining from 33 to 35 points.
At the start of the day though all of them looked like they would be put in the shade by a surprise, but very popular, Wildcard entry from former Under 21 Champion, Dean Colhoun. The young Northern Irishman, who had not ridden in the series for two years following a head injury, led the opening race in some style before his Husky-engined Can-Am hit problems at two-thirds distance, which were to sadly rule him out for the rest of the day.
Colhoun’s demise handed Reid the lead in race one and with the sniff of win in his nostrils the wily veteran was not giving it up for anyone! He duly won his first British Championship heat for two years, by less than a second from Walker, with Holmes ten seconds adrift of them.
In race two Ireland’s Leon Rogers, the winner of the opening round of the series at Desertmartin and currently second on the championship table, was in fine form taking victory by five seconds. He led from start to finish.
The battle for second was keenly fought with Reid again using all his years of race craft to keep Walker firmly, but fairly, behind him with the pair eventually being split by just half a second at the flag. They in turn were a further six seconds ahead of Holmes.
Heading into the final heat it was effectively a three horse race with Reid on 47 points, Walker 42 and Holmes 38 (with heat two winner Rogers effectively out of overall contention after sixth place in race one).
Holmes and Walker staged an early battle, but by the flag led Walker had stretched out almost an 11 second lead. Reid in turn was a further eight seconds behind.
After his win Walker said: “I’ve said previously that riding in the European Championship has made much fitter and quicker this year and today that has really paid off.”
“I am also very proud to have won the Conner Smith Memorial trophy. Earlier this year I also won the Memorial meeting staged in Italy and it means a lot to win them both.”
“I also have to say well done to my younger brother Alfie who also won overall today and also had to win a last heat decider. A great day all-round for the family!”
Rogers eventually ended the day in fourth overall and remains as the main title challenger to Holmes. George Callaway winner of the previous round of the Championship at Cusses Gorse, was fifth overall, but slipped back one place in the points table.
Another notable performance was from Emma McQuaid, Europe’s leading female rider, who ended the day an impressive sixth overall, despite having very few outings this season as she concentrates on her Crossfit career. Her best result was a fifth in race one.
In the Under 21 category Walker’s performance meant he scored a 75 maximum. Scotland’s Murray Graham, who had been the quickest rider in qualifying, was second, while another Scot, Lorne Sinclair, matched his best result of the season in third place.
Overall: 1 Harry Walker (Yamaha) 67, 2 Justin Reid (Can-Am Husky) 67, 3 Paul Holmes (Yamaha) 60, 4 Leon Rogers (WSP Husky) 58, 5 George Callaway (Yamaha) 47, 6 Emma McQuaid (Honda) 44.
Race 1: Reid, 2 Walker, 3 Holmes, 4 Callaway, 5 McQuaid, 6 Rogers.
Race 2: 1 Rogers, 2 Reid, 3 Walker, 4 Holmes, 5 Callaway, 6 Graham.
Race 3: 1 Walker, 2 Holmes, 3 Reid, 4 Rogers, 5 Murray Graham (Honda), 6 Carl Bunce (Suzuki).
Under 21 Overall: 1 Walker 75, 2 Murray Graham (Honda) 60, 3 Lorne Sinclair (Husky Can-Am) 55, 4 Dean Dillon (Honda) 52, 5 Tom Chell 44, 6 Dafydd Davies (KTM) 40.
Championship points: Holmes 233, Rogers 198, Walker 184, Callaway 178, Reid 165, Davies 145.
Under 21 points: Walker 241, Graham 228, Davies 224, Dillon 202, Sinclair 170, Bevan 163