Report Ken O'Brien
A clear but cold sunny morning greeted a classy entry of 50 plus riders for the 73rd running of the prestigious Open to Centre event the ' Harold Avery Cup ' where in the past such great riders as John Avery Sammy Miller Don Smith Brian Devereux Bill Faulkner Pat Lamper and John Reynolds have all been triumphant.
The event was staged at Howe Wood Oxon where ten sections were plotted on the chalky Flinted hills of the Chiltern range.
Three cups were up for grabs today the Harold Avery best Expert the Spring Cup for best Novice and the Phillip Howkins memorial cup for the best adult performance on the middle route.
The premiere went to Gasser mounted Thomas McCabe with a loss of 10 marks.
Section six took a couple of Tom's tally a very steep slick drop into narrow gully then a recently fallen oak to jump before a couple of short sharp cambered climbs.
Up from Eastbourne for a days riding were father and son Mike and Jack stiles also Gasser mounted and the trip was certainly made worthwhile Jack runner-up in the Expert and Michael taking best Inter also riding the Hard route.
Jack was first up at section one a not so easy starter, first a large Pine that had succumbed to the recent storms then a fierce climb over a lattice of roots before a loose drop to the ends Jack cleaned every visit and set the precedent for the day.
Darren Haines over from the Thames club was going well on the TRS with a loss of 7 and was rewarded with best on the 50/50 route.
For the well supported middle yellow route the Spring Cup for best Novice will have the name of John Daniels engraved for this year with a well deserved victory parting with 7 marks John was almost inch perfect at section seven a long up-hill camber then a tricky slick flinty drop.
Stefan Walters was inch perfect with a yellow route clean ride on the Fantic to take the Phillip Howkins Memorial.
William Sparks 80 Beta had a great ride for the power available and best Youth B was his reward.
Twenty odd Clubman were vying for top spot with Adrian Steele Beta just edging out Mark George Yamaha with a tie-break decision after they finished on 2 apiece.
The aging Yam found plenty of grip on the long pine wood climb of Firestarter Chris Hurworth.
The really popular White easy route is always a difficult one to plot although Neil Osman Gas Gas had no problems losing a miserly three all at section 2 lap two a deep leafy gully where Flint boulders were lurking for the unwary.
Cerys Walters Beta was having a good day picking up best Youth on 15 marks lost.
Cerys had great final lap of one mark with the offending dab being laid down at section 3 a 10 foot blind drop off a grassy bank with an equally steep exit.
Mark Davidson 200 Fantic took best Twinshock showing these emerging classic Twinshock machines can still do the business.
Nicholas ' Dotty ' James was once again triumphant in the Brit-Bike class steering the superb DOT around a challenging course for a 17 mark tally.
Many thanks to all who helped on and before the event.
Premiere Thomas McCabe Gasser 10 Hrold Avery Cup
Expert Jack Stiles Gasser 11
Brett Harbud Beta 12
Inter Michael Stiles Gasser 64
Yellow Middle Route
Best Novice John Daniels Gasser 7 Spring Cup
Best middle route Stefan Walters Fantic 0 Phillip Howkins cup
Best Clubman Adrian Steele Beta 2
Best Youth B William Sparks Beta 80 18
White Easy Route
Best Sportsman Neil Osman Gasser 3
Best Twinshock Mark Davidson Fantic 200 13
Best Brit-Bike Nick James DOT 17
Best Youth Cerys Walters Beta 15