DAVID KNIGHT WINS THE TOUGH 100 EXTREME ENDURO
“The CF Racing Tough 100 Extreme enduro took place last Saturday and Sunday and wow! Did it live up to its name, this was the 3rd edition of the event from Steve Ireland and his band of superb lieutenants at WOR Events, the organisers had said in some prerace event info that they had upped the ante for this year’s race, they were not wrong as they provided a fantastic 10-mile lap of mixed mountainous terrain that was littered with challenge after challenge along the way.
The biggest challenge however was the searing heat and blistering sunshine, mixed with the rock-hard ground, that made the already impressively tough track harder, right from the drop of the start flag to the finish of the race 5 hrs later!.It was nice to not have the torrential rain of the previous years events though and the unreal heat gave a feel to the event of being abroad at an international Enduro.
No one knows how to put an Extreme Enduro on in this country quite like Steve and whole concept of this Tough 100 and indeed the TOUGH events brand, Tough one, Tough Enough, Tough ones little brother is evolving into a list of classic unsurpassed events in the UK.
The Tough 100 is already in that bracket and this year had a 1.5-hour mini extreme race on the Saturday evening from 6.30pm till 8pm, this was set in superb sunshine on a nice 5-mile loop that offered some nice technical sections through the streams and valleys of the amazing venue the race was set in.
David Knight the GOAT of Enduro was out on his new Private team debut. The DK/SOMMAI/SILICONE Off road Beta and the Knighter where on top form from the off as David was the only rider out of 130 to complete 7 laps in the evening prologue race securing the front row placing and some all-important overall event points as this year both Saturday and Sunday races really counted towards the main result. All the riders rode competitively, and the new points system of the evening race made the riders have to try that little bit harder…all in all making the T100 even tougher in the bigger picture. Dusk fell on the massive, impressive paddock as riders fettled machines and barbeques to get ready for the 10:30am start of the massive challenge that lay ahead the next morning.
The TOUGH 100 format is simple, 10 laps of a 10 mile track makes 100 miles of Tough Riding, the first rider to complete that gets the chequered flag, the time allowance for all riders is 5hrs (a 2 min grace period is allowed). David Knight achieved this feat in 3 hours and 32 minutes on a ride and pace that was unbelievable considering how hot, slippery and difficult the circuit had become with the dust and searing heat. Multi World Enduro champion Knight looked amazing as he destroyed the opposition from the start and fully deserved his plaudits as the T100 champion for the 2nd year in succession. It would be hard to envisage any other rider on the planet matching some of the speed and displays of skill that the Manxman made the 300 2t perform, simply superb. Always a challenge to his brother was Juan Knight showing again his smooth and almost effortless style would be enough to place him right up there as Runner Up. Juan was on his trusty Gas Gas 300 and the two seemed an ideal match for each other from the outset, at the end David had a 19-minute advantage over Juan, interestingly the same margin he completed over his brother from the 2017 edition, although this year Juan was in the very well supported Expert Vets class and not the Pro’s.
Sherco Mounted Gethin Humphreys was on fire and looked so very fast in places, however disaster struck whilst holding second in the Pro’s as another DNF became this year’s result for him due to a bike problem, heart breaking for the lad as he was pushing so hard. A DNF for BETA Mounted Pro Extreme rider, Jono Richardson and the non-start of Dan Mundell due to blowing up the big end on his 125 Sherco in the previous evenings events left the hard charging Owain Humphreys to hunt down the Knighter brothers. Owian on the CF Racing Husqvarna FX350 deserves a massive pat on the back, a broke up moose on lap one cost him 17 minutes to fix, he then went out there and put on a superb display of sheer aggressive riding and showing the wowed crowed how to hang on at pace. Humphreys clawed his way through the pack to take 2nd Pro placing and a fantastic 3rd place overall. Well done indeed that man. Third place Pro was KTM mounted Charlie Frost (KTM) with at last a bit of luck and bike reliability coming his way for a podium place in the top class.
Grant Thomson from the IOM was the Expert winner and a brilliant 4th Overall showing how much he has progressed since winning the Clubman in the same event last year. Looking super smooth and super fit, the tall Manxman did not have it all his own way though, as in the Sunday race, South Wales star, Matthew Jones was only 21 seconds down on Thomson matching the coveted 10 laps, gold medal placing. Jones was looking very good out on the course especially in the tricky bits. Just over a minute and a half behind Jones was Enduro Stalwart, Tim Forman. Forman is always there or there about and fully deserved his result with a superb and determined as ever ride to gold standard. Overall on the two races that make the full result for the TOUGH 100 it was Tim Forman that was the Runner Up with Jones in 3rd spot due to the points accumulation.
As stated earlier, Juan Knight was, bar his brother, the best man there, unreal really when you think this guy just pops in to races for fun and loves a pie and a pint maybe more than anything else. Super skill full, super smooth and a real genuine all round off road motorcycle genius, the dry witted Manxman fully deserved his top spot in the Expert Vets with South Wales top Veteran rider, Grant Churchwood chasing him down as the Runner up albeit almost half an hour adrift of Juan. 3rd placed Expert Vet was Harold Crawford, another very skilled Irish rider that belies his years as he got gold standard and was 6 minutes behind Churchwood with a total ride time of 4 hrs and 25 minutes.
Clubman honours was won by, yes you guessed it, Another Manxman, Tom Knight. Juan’s son is only 16 and has that “off road champion” gene of dad and Uncle for sure. Dominating the Clubman class, the GASGAS mounted Youngster finished a fantastic 10th place overall and Gold 10 lap standard. Knight Jnr was 16 minutes clear at the front of the Group with Josh Kirby in the Runners Up spot and Dawson Marriott in a solid 3rd place overall come the end of almost 5 body battering hours of Extreme Enduro. Knights Clubman win ensured that 4 Manxmen topped the top 4 classes at the event. A proud day again for that fantastic little island and its motorcycle heroes.
The Clubman Vets class was topped by Gary Morley on his Beta. The 56 years young Huddersfield based builder going superb as the only rider in class to take a 10-lap gold ride to his credit. Runner Up was Andy Longden on 9 laps with Carl Harmston securing 3rd spot on 8 laps, Longden getting Silver and Harmston taking Bronze. A Great effort all-round.
Gary McCoy topped the Over 50 class with another top-level ride as he always does. A full lap and 24 minutes was his winning margin as he took Gold on his trusty KTM. Runner Up was a knackered but happy, Simon Nutter completing 9 laps for a silver in class and overall. Dutch visitor Wopke Hoekstra came along way and took a well-deserved medal home as an 8 lap Bronze event man. Really enjoying the rugged Welsh Enduro terrain and its challenges.
Top Sportsman after the two days was William Wolforth with Josh Gilroy and Jake Sheppard in a quality second and third place respectively. All the Sportsman putting in a superb performance in the tough conditions.
Paul Lightfoot took the Overall two-day win of the Tough 100 in the Sportsman Vets, looking very at home on his Husky 350f, Lightfoot took the main race with 2 minutes plus on Mick Reece as Runner Up and Anthony Foulkes in 3rd spot. All 3 mounted on Husqvarna machinery and enjoying a fun challenge over the demanding course and time duration.
Novice class warriors where in abundance with all the riders in the lowest level group doing superbly well to take part and finish. Top Novice after a results check and rider class adjustment was Steve Horgan with the rapidly improving Ben Heycock in 2nd place and Riley Canterbury in 3rd.
The post-race feedback from riders and spectators alike has been phenomenally positive to say the least with scores of riders proclaiming that it was the best event they have done to date. This event was how a multy lap Extreme Enduro should be presented, executed and delivered and the riders could not thank or praise Steve Ireland and the WOR team enough, even DNF riders that had still fully enjoyed the challenge. The heat most definitely played its part in making this Tough 100 Tougher and the sheer volume of spectacular action and rider challenges along with the speed of the “Knighter” made for compelling viewing for the spectators.
Photo Credit: Garry Barnes