Race Report : Beyond Black Park XC 10
Posted: 17th March 2010 | Event: 14th March 2010
Words: James Poole | Photos: Tim Fisher (www.t-f-p.com)
The weather in recent weeks has hardly been favourable to the cycling fraternity but on Sunday 14th March, Spring finally sprung and riders of all ages and abilities turned up for the Black Park XC 10 race sponsored by Beyond Mountain Bikes, Dirt Divas and The Feed Station.
In its rightful place as a early season leg stretcher, the event attracted well over 200 riders including some big names from the UK cycle scene including, among others; Jody Crawforth, 2009 CX National Champ and Arctic-Premier road rider; Ian Leitch, SDD record holder and Xterra triathlete, and Matt Page, Wiggle sponsored rider and the name to beat in the world of 24 soloing.
Before the 'big guns' set off it was a chance for the future stars of the cycling to show their skills. In the four-lap under 16 boys' race, Matthew Gator of VC Deal showed that he is a talent to be watched, racking up consistent 15 minute lap times to take the win over Alex Bond (On 2 Wheels Summit Devo Team) and Joe Broadhead (BoB). In the Under 14 categories, Harry Lowe (GA Cycles) and Gretel Warner, resplendent in her new WXC UK Racing kit took, took the win in the male and female categories, respectively.
Following on from the youth races were the Singlespeed racers - a category that grows in popularity every year. With 17 men and three women battling for the title of '(unofficial) London Singlespeed Champ' it was always going to be an exciting race. The duo of Rob Holbeche (Pyschleworks) and Lee Gollop (Progression Fitness) soon set the pace with a chasing group of five riders close behind but never quite in contact. The melee up-front raged on but in the end Holbeche was able to shake off Gollop to take the win by a mere nine seconds. Jack Peters of Numbplumz also broke free of the chasing group to take the third step of the podium. In the female category Louise Patterson was triumphant in the three woman SS field, completing the four laps in a solid one-hour and nine minutes.
Images by Tim Fisher (www.t-f-p.com)
In the Fun Men category, 48 riders lined up to battle their way around the 3.1 mile circuit. However, it was largely a two-man race with Ben Thompson and Tom Wright (Numbplumz/Pitsford Cycles) fighting it out for the title of 'funnest' male. In the end Thompson got the better of Wright to take the win. Dmitri Felbinger came in some 60 seconds later to complete the podium positions. Despite being Mothering Sunday, 12 women lined up to contest the Fun Women's category. After three laps of the twisty singletrack focused circuit, Cathy Thomas (Dirt Divas) came through victorious with Hila Coggans in second and Diane Kendall (Beyond Mountain Bikes/RRP/Specialized/WDMBC) in third place.
In the Beginners Men's race, Steve Smith (Nationwide) took the win, despite being ridden over by another rider, while Julie Fox (Beyond Mountain Bikes/RRP/Specialized/WDMBC) placed first in the Beginners Women's race.
With the Youth, SS, Beginner and Fun races complete it was time to see what the fast boys and girls could do. With an Elite/Expert line-up worthy of top-class races, spectators were in for a treat. From the gun a four-man group of Jody Crawforth (Specialized), Scott Forbes (Pedal On), George Budd (Salsa Factory Racing) and Luke Smith (Whyte Bikes) formed and rattled out startlingly-quick sub 14 minute laps. However, it was Crawforth who showed why he was CX National Champ in 2009 and runner up in 2010 with a huge turn of pace at the beginning of lap six to shake off Forbes and Smith. Over the following two laps Crawforth extended this lead to end an impressive 1 minute 12 seconds up on Forbes in second and 2 minutes 47 seconds on Smith in third.
The spectator favourite race of the day had to be the women's Elite/Expert, Sports/Master and Vets races. Despite a field of only six riders for three categories this didn't stop these girls riding as though there was an Olympic medal on offer. The initial fight between Rachel Fenton (WXC UK Racing) and Louise Robins increased in fervour as the race went on with the lead changing hands on numerous occasions. In the end Robins got the measure of Fenton to take the top step of the podium. However, it was on-form Jackie Roberts, owner of Beyond Mountain Bikes and race sponsor, who looked strongest keeping pace and eventually overtaking the Expert/Master women to take the win over second place Jane Keating in the Vets category. In the Sports/Masters women's race it was Hollie Bettles (WXC UK Racing) who triumphed over Rachel Denman (Beyond Mountain Bikes/RRP/Specialized/WDMBC).
The Men's Sports/Masters category was a similarly close affair with the familiar faces of Chris Rathbone (MSC Bikes), Nick Onslow (Pedal On) and Neil Richardson (RAF CC) trading places at the sharp end of the race. With Rathbone and Richardson managing to get a gap on Onslow several laps in, the race intensified - culminating in a sprint finish for first and second. In the end, Rathbone got the better of Richardson with Onslow taking third. Special mention should go to Martin Turton (Beyond Mountain Bikes/RRP/Specialized/WDMBC), who despite still being a Youth rider managed an impressive eighth place. Jody Crawforth watch out!
In the Vets Men's race, 32 riders lined up to show that while they were over 40 they certainly weren't showing their age. The first lap proved to be a real tussle with only 10 seconds separating the first seven riders. However, as things progressed Patrick Stokes, Robin Smith (SFR) and Mark Cracknell (AW Cycles) put some distance between the pursuing riders. The encounter raged over the remaining laps with the trio all clocking consistent sub-15 minute laps. However, in the end Stokes was able to get the edge over Smith and Cracknell with only 24 seconds separating first and third.
In the Grand Vets race Rob Jackson (Pro Twins) took the win over second place Simon North of Summit racing. The two had locked horns for the first four laps with nothing between them. However, lap five saw Jackson attack and put almost a minute between him and North. The race ended Jackson first, North second and Paul Warner (Team Darenth) third.
Full results can be found at www.wdmbc.co.uk
A gallery of photos of the event can be found at www.t-f-p.com
West Drayton Mountain Bike Club would like to thank all supporters and racers that came to Black Park. The event gets bigger each year and this would not be possible without the support from these people. They would also like to thank race sponsor Jackie Roberts of Beyond Mountain Bikes, The Feed Station, Dirt Divas and Buckinghamshire County Council for the use of the park. Thanks should also be extended to Tim Fisher (www.t-f-p.com) for excellent race photos and to generous club sponsors Specialized (www.specialized.com) and Rapid Racer Products (www.rapidracerproducts.com).
For those training for the enduro and 24hr race season, WDMBC is organising the Bucks Offroad Sportive on 16 May 2010. Taking in the glorious Bucks countryside this event is suited to all abilities but particularly those looking for a long distance challenge. For more details visit www.bucksoffroadsportive.co.uk