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Parker edges Cole in title tie-break

The sixth and final round of the Eastern Centres enduro championship was a nail-biter with the decision of who was going to be the 2022 champion, between Luke Parker (350 Matt Pope Gas Gas) and Ben Cole (450 GH Husqvarna) going to the last competitive lap of the final event of the year, writes Dick Law.

So close for Ben Cole (450 Husqvarna)

But it was even closer than that, as with Parker winning the event and Cole third, they tied on championship points after the six rounds. So, the decision, as per the rule book, was that Parker would be the 2022 champion because of his more event wins. It was that close.

Motocrosser Jake Nicholls had an outing on the Tru7 Honda CRF250

All this happened at the Muntjac enduro run by the excellent Diss club in the very challenging Thetford Forest, where over two hundred riders turned out to race through the trees on a wet and misty morning.

Heavy overnight rain that lasted till the first of the rider reached the first special test had drenched the cause leaving puddles all over the place. But the forest is like a giant sponge, and by the time the first fifteen-mile laps had been completed, the dampness was all but gone leaving the usual hard going the riders seemed to like.

Aston Bird flying on his 450 Yamaha

As usual, the special tests were probably crucial to winning the event, so Parker hit the first very hard. He completed it six seconds faster than this year’s British Enduro Champion Alex Snow (350 Alex Snow Off Road Gas Gas), with championship rival Cole third, just three seconds behind Snow. Previous Eastern Centre Enduro Champion Aston Bird (450 GH Yamaha) showed he had lost none of his riding shills over the years. Still, a mechanical problem with his machine gave him a DNF on the first test, which spoiled his chance of a decent finish. Ban Clark (300 MRS Sherco) keeps getting better and better as he notched up a fine fourth fastest, with Jake Rowland (350 Gas Gas) fifth and Jake Nicholls (250 Honda), who only rides the occasional enduro, six.

Thomas Braddock (350 KTM)

As the championship riders started their second special test after the long opening lap, the track was back to its normal “Thetford” self with some nice, banked turns and the puddles gone. Once again, Parker set a blindingly fast lap, but this time, he took Snow and Cole with him as the top three took almost ten seconds off the first attempt times and finished in the same order. Bird was fourth fastest, but his first special DNF had already spoiled his event. Rowland gained fifth fastest from Clark and Nicholls.

Odds on this is Charles Evens (450 Yamaha)

The test was at its best when the championship riders for their third attempt and, yet again. Parker was quickest, and the fastest of the day, by almost fifteen seconds from Snow, with Rowland jumping to third place as Cole, slipped to fourth after messing up his test. Clark was fifth fastest from Nicholls, Bird, and Charles Evans (450 Yamaha).

Top woman rider Nieve Holmes (300 Sherco)

Just for a change, tests four and five were run one after the other at the end of the next lap. On test four, the top three stayed in the same order, but Nicholls was getting faster and faster as he moved into fourth fastest from Rowland and Clark. Snow pushed Parker in the fifth and final test of the event as, once again, Parker was quickest, which meant he won all five tests, but Snow closed the gap to within three seconds. Similarly, the speeding up Nicholls set his fastest time of the day as he set third best time from Cole, Rowland, and Clark.

Jack Nicolaou (350 KTM) cranks it over

Of course, Parker was the quickest with all the test times added up, but funnily enough, his times added up to precisely twenty minutes dead. Snow was second in all five, followed by Cole, Rowland Nicholls, and Clark. But, with a few laps still to ride and with an ever-tightening set time, anything could still happen when a simple crash, flat tyre, or a mechinical could have decided the championship.

Eddie Craker (125 Yamaha)

As a large crowd of spectators, family, and friends gathered at the event’s final tight time check, Snow came sliding in, the only rider ahead of schedule. Parker, Cole, and Rowland were the only riders to finish on their minute, which made Parker the champion.

Daniel Willis (250 Honda)

Nicholls lost a minute, but that didn’t matter as he would have still finished in fourth place from Clark, Hughes, and Douglas Lote.

Douglas Lote (300 GPX)

Nieve Holes, the 2022 European Ladies Enduro champion and a member of the winning Ladies ISDE team, was an excellent twelfth and in the middle of the championship class riders and ahead of about 190 other riders.

Timothy Rose (350 KTM) styling

Thomas Minta (300 Gas Gas) won the expert class but was setting test times that would have put him mid-pack in the championship class. Adam James (300 Sherco) was second, with Ben Thompson (300 Sherco) third.

Tommy Clark (250 Yamaha)

These events would suffer without the “Vets” classes. John Shirt (350 Gas Gas) won the expert vets by only dropping a minute on the last time check, while second place man Julian Harvey (125 KTM) dropped three on time after beating Shirt on all three of their tests. Philip Roper (300 KTM) was third.

Endaf Lloyd Hughes (125 Husqvarna) won the clubman class from Ryan Rowlands (250 Sherco) and Dan Bywater (125 Sherco).

Timothy Rose (350 KTM)

Alan Heath (300 TM) won the clubman Vets from Dave Gray (300 KTM) and Christian Drane (450 Suzuki). John Hilton (300 KTM) won the Super Vets from Julian Holmes (250 Gas Gas) and Jez Moss (150 KTM). Words and photos by Dick Law.

Top ten overall


1 Luke Parker (350 Gas Gas)
2 Alex Snow (350 Gas Gas)
3 Ben Cole (450 Husqvarna)
4 Jack Rowland (350 Gas Gas)
5 Jake Nicholls (250 Honda)
6 Ben Clark (300 Sherco)
7 Charles Evens (450 Yamaha)
8 William Hughes (450 KTM)
9 Douglas Lote (300 GPX)
10 Daniel Willis (250 Honda)


1 Thomas Minta (300 Gas Gas)
2 Adam James (300 Sherco)
3 Ben Thompson (300 Sherco)
4 Andrew Bull (250 Gas Gas)
5 Joe Chambers (350 Gas Gas)
6 Ross Danby (300 Beta)
7 Jack Probert (125 Sherco)
8 Daniel Cooper (125 KTM)
9 Callum Hughes (250 Beta)
10 Joseph Hall (250 Gas Gas)

Expert Vet:

1 John Shirt (350 Gas Gas)
2 Julian Harvey (125 KTM)
3 Paul Hanks (350 Husqvarna)
4 Philip Roper (350 KTM)
5 Chris Tett (390 Beta)
6 Jonathan Pearson (300 KTM)
7 Michael Ridge (250 Yamaha)
8 Shane Tasker (250 Husqvarna)
9 Paul Spurgeon (300 Husqvarna)
10 William Lloyd (450 KTM)


1 Endaf Lloyd Hughes (125 Husqvarna)
2 Ryan Rowlands (250 Sherco)
3 Ben Bywater (125 Sherco)
4 Byron Jenness (350 KTM)
5 Jonathan Finch (300 Sherco)
6 Brad Armstrong (450 Husqvarna)
7 George Williams (300 Sherco)
8 Lee Corbett (250 KTM)
9 Adam Mussell (450 KTM)
10 Jamie Richardson (300 Husqvarna)

Clubman Vet:

1 Alan Heath (300 TM)
2 Dave Gray (300 KTM)
3 Christian Drane (450 Suzuki)
4 Bo Anderson (300 Sherco)
5 John Rowley (300 Beta)
6 Spencer Newland (350 KTM)
7 Raymond Otoka (200 Beta)
8 Nicholas Barrett (250 KTM)
9 David Morris (300 Gas Gas)
10 Luke Rudd (350 Husqvarna)

Clubman Super Vet:

1 John Hilton (300 KTM)
2 Julian Holmes (250 Gas Gas)
3 Jeremy Moss (125 KTM)
4 Keith Readman (250 Honda)
5 Neil Bowker (125 Beta)
6 Graham Mays (300 Husqvarna)
7 Darren Osborne (250 Yamaha)
8 Paul Davis (125 Sherco)
9 Henry Righton (450 KTM)
10 Dennis Harrison (250 KTM)