Rock UK Whithaugh Park, Newcastleton hosted the penultimate round of the HSBC UK I National Cross Country Series last weekend with Round 4 providing a challenging but fun course.
The Scottish rain stayed away and riders were able to enjoy a technical course, including rooty sprints and a short, sharp climb.
This really tested the riders explosive power, and only got more challenging as the warm weather loosened the dust.
The track incorporated some of Rock UK’s MTB skills section with an ascent through the dual slalom track, spitting the riders out into the drop-ridden chute.
After a long forest section, the track concluded with the dreaded 'chainsaw massacre', an intense technical section with rocks, roots, and trees to avoid at speed. This was not a track to be taken lightly and not every rider managed to complete their race - or even practice - runs, with mechanicals calling an early end to many weekends.
Sunday started with the Sport Male category, with William Weatherill of Hope Factory Racing taking an early lead and riding his own race by the end. Richard Jones followed in second and it was a battle for third with William Brown just pipping Charles Fletcher to the line by 1 second.
The afternoon began with the women's categories. In the Elite field, Jane Barr claimed first place in an emotional finish, followed by Joanne Thom in second and Mieke Kalmijn in third. In the Junior Women's category, Elena McGorum stormed to victory finishing the course with the fastest female time of the day; sub-1 hour and finishing 10 minutes ahead of her competitors. Kylie Vaudin came in second and Daphne Jones took third.
The Junior Men's race concluded with an epic sprint finish with Corran Carrick-Anderson taking first place, Joseph Blackmore in second and Ben Chilton in third.
It was a close finish in the Elite Men's race with just over a minute separating the podium riders, Ben Wadey took first, Jason Bouttell in second and Grant Ferguson in third.