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Report: Hope XC Series Round 1
With a record 131 riders signing on to start the first race of 2011 the series started as a roaring success. Despite poor weather during the course setup (the local version of horizontal driving rain and gusts of high wind) the all volunteer team still managed to set out a full course with the rain clearing by 09:00 and rumours of "blue sky".
The course design incorporating some of the new features introduced at Lee Quarry for training British Cycling's Olympic hopefuls quickly dried and provided riders with a test of skills and fitness. The Racer and Racing Diva categories started first and there was the odd comedy moment with a rider or two toppling on the start. Tom Bell pushed hard to get the first lap prime for the men and Adela Carter (WXC HTB Team) for the women. Tom then stamped his authority on the race early on quickly gaining a 5 minute lead only to destroy his rear wheel on his 4th lap. A sanguine Tom praised the course and is clearly set to come back in July determined to win. The final positions of the Leisure Lakes Sponsored Racers were first, Dan Evans (Rhos-on-Sea), second Jiri kelkner (Wheelspincycles) and third Tom Albutt (Joyriders MTB Holidays). The Cooksons Cycles sponsored Racing Diva Category was won by Adela Carter (WXC HTB Team) who lapped the field, second a former winner Verity Appleyard (Team Appleyard) and Susie Goddard holding off Steph Fountain (Saddle Skedaddle) to take third after a mid race tussle.
IMAGES BY TIM LOVELADY
Mark Richmond (Jo Cycles) took the honours in the Big Bear Bikes sponsored Weekend Warrior category with a battling win from George Flinton (Big Bear Bikes) and David Beeley (Big Bear Bikes) with only 75 seconds splitting the top five riders it's going to be a very competitive series competition this year. One rider in this category had to be sent to hospital but we are happy to report that both bike and rider are OK and will be at race 2. In the trade team competition Leisure Lakes Director Sportif Matt Chester decided to lead the way for his team taking to the saddle in a head to head with David Beeley the owner of Big Bear Bikes, David won the one-on-one race but Matt's stronger team put Leisure Lakes into an early lead for the Trade Trophy. With a strong presence from Wheelbase/ Cannondale and with three more rounds to go it's all to play for. The Charle the Bikemonger (probably the best bike shop in Swanage) sponsored singlespeed category was won by Ian Palmer (Planetfear.com) in a strong top 10 Racer performance.
The SRAM Have-a-go Heroes category saw a tight race with Paul Alfrey (Duckwim Racing) taking first place and Tom Willis winning the sprint for second place from Ashley Bonsall (Allspeeds Ltd). The SRAM Have-a-go Heroine category saw four women take to the start line with Beth Holden riding clear for the win and Kathryn Robinson taking second from Helen Convery using the lessons from the previous day's free coaching. The Polaris Bikewear sponsored "Lads" and "Lasses" categories for younger riders again ran with a high quality entry, Dylan Kerfoot-Robson (Rhos-on-Sea) took the win in the Lads and Geena Fraser (NWMBA) in the Lasses.
Thanks and appreciation go to the marshals and the sign-on/ timing team who gave up their morning lie-in to let others race, additionally to Lancashire CC for use of Lee Quarry and the local residents who tolerate the early morning disruption. A big thanks to Aaron Williamson and Brian Monks shop mechanics from Surosa who turned up at 07:00 to assist with the course setup and who were barely able to sign-on due to frozen hands! They walked away with a Buff each as part of the Buff Marshals sponsorship, both are stars and made our day.
Race 2 is on the 24th July and pre-entry is still open. As usual a new course should see some more changes to shake things up and there is the added attraction of trade stands from Leisure Lakes and Big Bear Bikes, on-site catering, facilities and plenty of car parking for riders and spectators.
24th July, 21st August, 2nd October.
Online entry open via www.xcracer.com the downloadable postal entry form is here http://www.brownbacksracing.co.uk/race_series/4/entry_form.html