Report: Midlands XC Series Round 1

Report: Midlands XC Series Round 1

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Location: Hick's Lodge Cycling Centre, Willesley Woodside, Ashby-De-La-Zouch
Event: 19 February 2012

Leicestershire RC’s 'Hicks Lodge Leg Burner', sponsored by RapidRacerProducts and Mt. Zoom lived up to its title. With a beautiful sunny day, fast drying trails and lots of new faces, the previous day’s rain was quickly forgotten as the 2012 series got underway at Hicks Lodge in Leicestershire.

In the morning race, a fantastic turnout of female riders gave the ladies a taste of what large categories such as the sport and vet men have to contend with at the start of every race. Nearly 40 ladies jostled for position down the start straight with Maxine Filby leading from the front and never looking back to win the elite race ahead of Joanne Clay and Ruth Owen-Evans. Karen Summers won the biggest vet female race seen for a long time with Dianne Lee winning an equally busy sport category. Standout female ride of the day though has to go to Charlotte Broughton who took the win in juvenille category, beating all but one of the juvenille boys in the process.

A new year means a new category for many riders and Chris Rathbone started as he means to go on by winning a stacked vets race in a sprint finish with Lewis King with Paul Ashby taking third. For others 2012 is business as usual with Ian Wright winning the grand vets and teammate Alex Weburn picking up where he left off to win the junior race ahead of Ed McParland and Alex Baker. To prove success is not just about the first 20 minutes, Dylan Kerfoot-Robson started his second lap outside the top ten, but scythed his way through the field to win the youth men’s race!

For many, the new year marks a return to racing, with the sport and Go-Race categories full to the brim, Chris Howell and Gareth Fearn winning their respective categories. With a podium finish already under his belt at the previous evening’s Red Bull Hill Chasers, Gareth Montgomerie claimed the top step in the elite race (claiming the Mt. Zoom sponsored fastest lap prize by one second along the way) ahead of team-mate Dave Henderson and newly promoted Ryan Henry.

Roy Davis won the ever competitive master’s race, with local pro rider Dan Fleeman taking second and Grant Leavy third. Bruce Dalton scored the holeshot in the expert race leading through on the first lap, but paid for his heroics so early in the season... John Hopkinson kept his lap times more consistent to take first, with 24 hour solo maestro Craig Bowles in second and Dieter Droger third.

Rider Report: Imogen Buick of the Moda-BikeMagic Racing Team

At a 5:30am start on a Sunday morning, my Mum, sister Anna and I headed off from home to the 1st round of the Midland XC series; a chance to get a race under my belt and see how things were going before the season really kicks off with the British MTB Series at Sherwood Pines on 25th March.

When we arrived at the venue I signed on and generally got everything sorted ready to race. Overhearing many conversations I established it was an all-weather and fairly flat and fast course with a few muddy sections. I headed out for a practice/warm up lap and this diagnosis was confirmed. It was not my ideal course but I was excited to get out and race nonetheless.

The start was pretty hectic but I found time to say hello and catch up with my new team mate Ruth Owen-Evans who I had ridden with when I started mountain biking.

I had a good start from a pretty poor placing on the grid, but as the race got underway I knew it was going to hurt - after a big week of training I was already pretty tired! As there was only one other Junior girl, I concentrated on racing the women. As I didn’t really know anyone, my game plan evolved to be just see what I could do, try not to blow up and ride fast. This proved to be effective.

The all-weather surface made the course pretty quick going - whether up or down - but the few wooded sections were very muddy and super slippery resulting in a few people ending up in the undergrowth! I didnt have any trouble myself but put my cyclocross skills to good use on lap 2 of 4, outrunning some congestion.

After 3 laps I was tiring, but out on my 4th I was pretty much alone so just kept pedalling as hard as I could (which didn't feel very hard by this point!) and was pleasantly surprised at the finish when my Mum told me I'd actually done pretty well and was 1st Junior and 6th woman overall.

Only two small bits of the course were muddy and hard-going but a babywipe and some recovery was still very much needed, after which I headed to the podium and tried to get my Moda t-shirt out from under many layers of clothing. Overall a good 1st race for me with my new UCI MTB Team - Moda-BikeMagic Racing Team. Moreover, it has made me very keen for the season to properly kick off in March.

British Cycling would like to thank the organising team, officials and everyone else who helped promote this event. Our sport could not exist without the hundreds of people, many of them unpaid volunteers, who put in many hours of hard work running events, activities and clubs.