Graham Jarvis 1st, David Knight 2nd, Keelan Hancock 3rd
Graham Jarvis wins the Valleys Xtreme for the first time and with it the title of ‘King of the Valleys’ and a cheque for £1000. David Knight came a respectable second after a hard slog on the first lap and Cornishman, Keelan Hancock took a well-deserved third place.
The New Year and a new season could only mean one thing, bring on the ‘Valleys.’ Now regarded as one of the toughest Xtreme Enduro races in the World.
Saturday’s prologue saw riders, including world class Enduro riders, David Knight and Graham Jarvis, compete in Xtreme laps and Sprint laps, to qualify for position for Sunday’s main race. Allowing spectators the opportunity to see riders adjust to this testing terrain ahead of Sunday’s main race. Saturday saw local rider, Kip Herring, take first place alongside seasoned professionals. During the sprint laps, the fastest times were recorded by Ricky Wiggins and Matthew Jones at 87mph.
Sunday’s main race kicked off at 10.10am and quickly separated experienced riders from the amateurs. Hundreds of spectators looked on as the glory unfolded on this blessed Walters Arena, South Wales. Fair weather allowed for great viewing and the start didn’t disappoint with a rise from the boulders to a steep woodland pinch which cause headaches for all but the experienced riders. Letting you know early on why it’s called the Valleys Xtreme.
Throughout the first lap, David Knight and Graham Jarvis jostled for the lead with less than 5 seconds in it past each of our three checkpoints, but just after checkpoint three, Jarvis pulled ahead and Knight with a calculated action decided to jump a ditch which ultimately cost him precious time. Once more the ‘Valleys’ proved why it’s a tough race, with the unsuspecting terrain swallowing David and bike waist deep. Here many minutes were lost, which cost knight dearly. Being a seasoned pro, Knight dug deep and battled over the next two laps to close the gap down to being in third position, which after checkpoint three on last lap came to shine through with the stamina he’s credited with and overtook Keelan Hancock to claim second place.
Spectators know the value of this event with ‘hands-on’ experience along the Xtreme sections and ‘No Help Zones’ at all three checkpoints this year. For those just happy to watch, the riders put on an excellent show. With iconic checkpoints such as the Uphill Rock Garden (CP1), Windmill Hill (CP2) and the Rocky River Bed (CP3), which test even the metal of veteran riders, like Jarvis who needing assistance on lap two CP2.
Into the third lap and each of the ‘No Help Zones’ kick in to punish the riders more. Favoured by experienced riders as the best place to make up a few positions, as demonstrated with Knight pipping Hancock on the last ‘No Help Zone’ to claim second.
This year saw our only female rider, Patsy Quick - 109, complete a full lap and entries increase for Sportsman and Clubman riders. The average age of our riders being 31 year olds and the average lap completion being 2hrs and 20mins.
We now look forward to our next iconic event, Dawn to Dusk with its vast range of races. 2 hours, 6 hours, 12 hours and the grueling 24 hour race, with the ability to ride solo or in teams.
Ride sweet until Dawn to Dusk.
"Definitely a tough race" - Graham Jarvis
“It was tough, .. I got stuck in a bog and I’ve never been in anything like it” – Knight
“What a race, what a race! Those ‘No Help Zones’, absolutely loved them” – Hancock