Report: Fully Sussed Summer Series Round 1
Sponsored by Clive Mitchell Cycles
When the sun is out and the surf is up in the South West, it takes something special to entice people away from a day on the beach. Luckily, round one of the Fully Sussed South West Series seems to have awoken the slumbering mountain biking beast in Cornwall. The first cross country mountain bike race in the area since ‘back in the day' provoked endless reminiscences about ‘proper' old-school mountain biking although most were glad that they were saying this astride a full carbon, full sus pocket rocket.
With Idless Woods proving to be a challenge for even the most well-travelled sat nav, there were plenty of pleasantly surprised people when they realised that such a gem of a venue existed on their doorstep and once the nightmares and flashbacks stop, I'm sure that many will be back to try and find ‘that drop' again. Once riders had negotiated the narrow lanes and played chicken with the tractors they had only to face the parking challenge in the handkerchief sized car park and the hardest part was done. This is one venue that would never host a nationals!
For the first race in a new series, to have 100 riders toe the line was a real success for the organisers and bodes well for the remaining races. Race one kicked off and it became clear that the venue was proving to be a challenge. Ed Walsh posted the fastest lap in the morning session on his way to winning the Youth race and provided the first omen that the latter races would be epics. The juvenile race was duked out among the local clubs and it was Charles Hough from Bike Cellar who took the prize ahead of Joe Williams and Matthew Casey of the One and All club. With David Hamilton having seatpost issues in the grand vets, it was left to Steve Whitehouse to take the win ahead of Graham Williams Ward from Sidwell Cycles.
As the temperature rose the crowds gathered for the afternoon race and after pre-riding they checked and rechecked the notice board for the number of laps in the hope that the organisers had relented and decided to run a cyclo cross race instead. The course was rapidly drying out and racing lines were appearing but you still could not escape the 1000 feet of climbing per lap linked by technical singletrack. The course designer, James Alsept of sponsors Clive Mitchell Cycles, became the cycling equivalent of Voldemort as the day progressed and was rewarded by being given a race number and being frog marched to the start of the masters' race.
The performance of the day undoubtedly went to Simon Young of Team Certini-McCaulays' who not only won the vets race but in the process rode past all the masters, sport and expert riders that had started in front of him, this despite turning up fashionably late, not pre-riding the course and riding a rigid 69er. Behind him was Pete Dawe of Southfork Racing and Gary Andrews, Simon's team-mate at Certini-McCaulays'.
The humbled experts were led home by Russell ‘Scrappy' Turner, also riding for Team Certini-McCaulays' while his team-mate Will Jansen who had led for the first 3 laps faded to second with Ben Price finishing the podium. As usual masters men was the biggest field of the day and the category had been chosen at random for the winner to receive an Osprey Hydrapak, supplied by series sponsors Osprey. In the end it was Andy Gordon who faced a gloriously hydrated future finishing ahead of Graham Sheldon of WR racing and Matt Loake of Southfork Racing, two local riders who were fancied for the win.
Southfork racing continued their success with Henry Benning wining the sport men followed by Chris Edwards of JE James RT and Martin Lenney of Springstarter.com/ Jumbos. A disappointing number of women did not detract from the quality of the winners and it was Hazel Wakefield, DVATC/Cornwall Freeriders in the expert cat, Fran Bullock in Sport and Emma Sargent for the Filthy Foxes who went home with the spoils.
The emphasis of the day was on the non-podium rider and many riders were rewarded for their efforts with spot prizes from Clive Mitchell Cycles and Accelerade. When the last rider came in after over 3 hours of toil, headed straight to the tuck wagon before walking away with a new Giro helmet as a reward all eyes turned to the next round at Haldon on Thursday 15th April, with the organisers promising to stick to the promised 60 minute race lengt.