National Level MTB racing finally returned to the UK this weekend with the first round of eagerly anticipated series taking place at Woody’s Bike Park down in Cornwall. Normally a playground for downhill bikes and full face helmets the venue had plenty of technical features included in the course with gap jumps, rock drops and fast flowing berms making an incredibly fun course that was loved by everyone. Balancing that out however was 200m of brutally tough climbing per lap with sections heading up what would usually be a downhill run!
Jersey Youth Cycling riders Charlie and Libby Hart took to the course on Saturday, with the weather gradually deteriorating through the afternoon. Constant drizzle and very poor visibility made an already tough course a true test of skills and determination. Charlie, racing in the Youth Boys, got a strong start and was riding well on the technical sections to stay up in the front group of a strong field. It was the strength sapping climbs that took their toll with him dropping down the field to finish in 26th place. Libby, starting just a few minutes after her brother in the Juvenile Girls category, was riding confidently on the technical sections after a coaching course the previous day. In the slippery conditions she came undone with a few small crashes to finish in 13th place.
By Sunday morning the weather had improved, but was still slippy when Marc Le Sueur lined up in the Sport category for his first UK MTB race in 25 years. With the sun starting to appear and the ground moisture evaporating conditions were very humid. A front row start meant a good position into the first technical section, but it was the long climbs that Le Sueur wasn’t prepared for and eventually finished in 21st place.
The sun finally decided to shine for the final practice session of the weekend and with the course drying and the temperature rising it was time for the ladies to go racing. Lining up in the Expert Women category were Emily Bridson (Liv AWOL), Lisa Mansell (Big Maggy’s RT) and Amy Moore (Velo Sport Jersey) racing her first ever national event. All three riders got a good start heading into the first downhill section and were all riding the technical A-line sections to gain time on their competitors. By the end of lap 1 Bridson and Mansell were in 3rd and 4th position. With sights set on the podium they both rode a strong second lap, working together to pass a rider and pull away. Moore, meanwhile, suffered crash and had to stop briefly to fix a mechanical problem. Undeterred she carried on to finish in 7th place enjoying the course and her first experience of national level competition. In the last two laps Bridson rode strongly on the technical descents to pull a small advantage which she held up the punishing climbs to take 2nd place with Mansell close behind to round out the podium with a 3rd. Both ladies were delighted to get their first podium at a national level event and will surely be looking forward to the next race in the series
The final race of the weekend was contested by Rhys Hidrio (CCC Jersey) in the Elite class and James Patterson (CCC Jersey) and James Dilks (Big Maggy’s RT) in the Expert Class.
The short, uphill start section before the first downhill was hotly contested in the Elite race with Hidrio gaining a few places to be inside the top 10 heading into the rest of the lap. In the Expert start a few minutes later Patterson too got off to a good start, but bad luck for Dilks as he slipped a pedal and lost positions before the first corner. The first lap pace was fast with Dilks gaining back what he lost at the start and Patterson not having a good feeling for the hard pace so early in the race. Hidrio maintained his good position during early part of the race before settling into his own pace for the remainder. All three riders were gaining lots of time on the fast and technical descents then hanging on up the long, gruelling climbs in the stifling heat. As the race pushed past the hour mark Patterson and Hidrio began to gain places as their competitors paid for their early efforts. Dilks was one of those to suffer from the heat dropping a few places in the last laps to finish in 18thplace with Patterson just ahead in 16th position in the expert race. Hidrio managed keep his pace strong to finish 11th place elite and equal his previous best finishing position.
All the riders would like to thank their clubs and to Pine Sport Coaching for assisting in the feed and technical zone during the races.
|6th June 2021||15:00||2021|