Location: Hadleigh Farm, Castle Lane, Benfleet, Essex
Event: 17-18 August 2013
The 2013 British Cycling Mountain Bike Cross-Country Series champions will be decided at Olympic venue Hadleigh Park, just over 12 months since the London Games visited the Essex course.
Neither of Great Britain’s London Olympians, Annie Last and Liam Killeen, have contested the full series and heading into the final round of five both elite categories have a number of potential winners.
Defending champion Oli Beckingsale (Endura MTB Racing), who on Thursday announced his retirement from racing at the end of 2013, currently leads the elite men’s contest and will want to bow out of the sport with a national series win.
But Dan Fleeman (Dig Deep Coaching Pactimo), British Cycling Olympic Academy Programme athlete Grant Ferguson (Superior Brentjens Mountainbike Racing Team) and Paul Oldham (Team Hope Factory Racing) could yet deny Beckingsale victory.
With riders’ best four results from five rounds counting to their final totals, it is 19-year-old Ferguson who is best positioned to leapfrog Beckingsale to the summit.
Wins at Redruth and Hopton Woods plus third in the opening event at Sherwood Pines means Ferguson, who was crowned British champion in his home country of Scotland, can achieve a maximum score of 232 to Beckingsale’s 211, a further triumph on Sunday would guarantee the burgeoning talent overall victory.
If Ferguson and Beckingsale falter, Oldham and Fleeman could capitalise though it would take an unlikely combination of results to hand the duo the opportunity of top spot.
Those vying for overall honours will have to contest with a field including Belgian national team rider Kevin van Hoovel, who finished 19th at Hadleigh in the London Games, and 2010 junior men’s cross-country world champion Michiel van der Heijden from the Netherlands.
The elite women’s category is equally as open. The experienced Lee Craigie (Cannondale Racing) who, like Ferguson, became national champion on home soil is best positioned to retain her title and with it secure a domestic double.
Currently sitting in fifth, Craigie missed the Hopton Woods round and can still achieve a maximum total of 224 points. Leader Bethany Crumpton (Hargroves Cycles/Specialized), who has benefitted from UCI World Cup experience with Great Britain this season, will miss the event due tio illness as she prepares for the mountain bike world championships.
Crumpton took second place at round three in Hopton while Craigie was runner-up at round two in Redruth and round four at Margam Park.
Melanie Alexander (Contessa Scott Synchros) could usurp Crumpton and Craigie in the standings though it would require the latter failing to finish in Essex. A top three spot would be enough for Craigie regardless of other results and complete a superb season of cross-country ahead of 2014 and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The junior men’s discipline has been a two-man battle between Michael Thompson (Nutcracker Racing) and Iain Paton (Ben Wyvis Cycle Club) and will come down to a winner takes all race at Hadleigh.
Thompson has the slender two point advantage with his sole win coming in round two at Redruth with Paton aiming for a hat-trick of victories having topped the podium at Hopton and Margam, his fourth place at the Sherwood costing him the lead.
Alice Barnes (Scott Contessa Epic) has been untouchable in the junior women’s discipline with a 100% record securing her the title with one round remaining. The British Cycling Olympic Development Programme athlete will hope to complete a perfect series before heading to the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in South Africa with Great Britain.
There will be free parking available for spectators on Sunday 18 August along with a free park and ride service to the venue. The park and ride bus will leave the spectator car park every 15 minutes and operate between these times.
School Lane car park, School Lane, South Benfleet, off of Essex Way (B1014).
8:30am – 12:30pm
1:15pm – 5:15pm
Buses leave School Lane at 08:30 then every 15 mins until 12:15pm and then from 1:15pm every 15 mins until 5:00pm.
Return journeys leave King John School bus stop 08:38 then every 15 mins until 12:23pm then 1:23pm and every 15 mins until 5:08pm.
Should spectators choose to walk or cycle from the spectators car park to the venue then a sign posted route through Hadleigh Country Park will be available. Expect the walk to take 40 minutes and the cycle 20 minutes.
N.B You will need you competitor parking permit to gain access to the relevant parking area. Please use the parking areas provided only.