Location: Kirroughtree, Scotland
Event: 17 June 2012
Report and Photography: Andrew Whitehouse
Oli Beckingsale scored his second consecutive win of the British XC Series, holding off Nick Craig for the win in round four at Kirroughtree. The Endura MTB Racing rider completed five laps of the demanding six kilometre circuit in a little under two hours.
The opening lap saw Rourke Croeser (Orange Monkey/Canondale) and Gareth Montgomerie (GT Racing UK) open up a small gap of 15 seconds over Beckingsale, Hamish Batchelor (GT Racing UK) and Alpine Bikes’ Robert Wardell. Craig had - by his own admission - had a dreadful start to the race and was sitting back in ninth spot well off the early pace.
Croeser was riding well and would pull away on lap two and take the lead alone over the chasing Beckingsale. Montgomerie had slipped back into third spot, with team mate Henderson sitting a close wheel in fourth. With the course drying out from the previous days constant rain the sticky mud would prove to take its toll on the bikes and race leader Croeser would succumb to a front wheel puncture on the penultimate lap opening the door for Beckingsale to take over at the head of the race, a lead which would not be relinquished.
Beckingsale started his last lap some 30 seconds ahead of the chasing field, Henderson and Batchelor took the bell on their own, Craig riding together with Montgomerie and Wardell a further 50 seconds behind. Beckingsale held on to his lead to take a win he credited to a tenacious approach.
“I had good legs today, training has been going well. I knew I had to keep it together on the downhills but I knew I'd be ok. Rourke flatted which was a bit fortunate for me, but it was one of those days where you just had to look after yourself and your bike, taking things steadier when you needed to and trying to stay upright, I've had enough crashes. Today was a hard race, conditions were tough, it was slow and very sticky but it was a really good course, I'd say it was the best course we've had in a long time, it held up with the weather as well.”
After a short wait Nick Craig would ride a brilliant last lap to take second place just 23 seconds adrift of the winner – a miraculous recovery after a nightmare start.
“I had a shocking start, a terrible first lap, I was well back. The course suited me today and I knew if I could get going I'd do ok. Myself, Gareth (Montgomerie) and Rob (Wardell) rode pretty much together, I passed them on lap two and they came back to me so we knew we had a race on. I got away on the last lap and when I passed Hamish (Batchelor) on the climb - it was a case of ‘where have you come from?!’ When I got past Dave(Henderson) he had the same reaction. I just chipped away at the race today. It was a long race for the new riders I think, I said to Oli it was an old school course, you just keep going and pace yourself.”
Result - Full Result and lap breakdown
1 Oli Beckinsale Endura MTB Racing 1.57.43 5laps
2 Nick Craig Team Scott UK 1.58.06
3 Dave Henderson GT Racing UK 1.58.29
4 Hamish Batchelor Fluid Fin Race Team 1.58.54
5 Gareth Montgomerie GT Racing UK 1.59.06
Lee Craigie (Lapierre UK) took an emphatic victory at round four of the British XC Series and the first victory by a Scottish rider on Scottish soil in a round of the British XC Series.
The Lapierre UK rider completed three laps in 1.25.59 almost two minutes ahead of second place Mel Alexander (Cardiff JIF-Just Riding). Although the numbers were slightly down on the day there were still a host of quality riders on the start line all capable of a top five place. Craigie set out her stall from the gun pulling a useful gap of 25 seconds from a chasing Mel Alexander and the two riders would dominate the days race. Maxine Filby (Velocite UK) was sitting in third spot 50 seconds down on Craigie and just ahead of Jessie Roberts (RWD Brakes Factory Racing) and Carla Haines (WXC World Racing).
Craigie would increase her lead over the remainder of the race to cross the line first and credited her tactic of riding a clear track from the start.
“I know this area pretty well but there wasn't too much of it we usually ride in the SXC events so it was a matter of holding on today. I knew if I went from the gun and got onto the singletrack at the front then the natural bike lines would happen and that happened and I was able to gap on every lap.”
Almost two minutes later Alexander crossed the line second – realising her ambition of a top three finish, almost three minutes clear of third spot Maxine Filby (Velocite UK).
Result - Full Result and lap breakdown
1 Lee Craigie Lapierre UK 1.25.59 3 laps
2 Mel Alexander Cardiff JIF Just Riding 1.27.50
3 Maxine Filby Velocite UK 1.30.40
4 Carla Haines WXC World Racing 1.31.01
5 Jessie Roberts RWD Brakes Factory 1.31.11
Luke Smith made sure he covered all eventualities today in the Masters race after the disappointment of the previous round at Hopton Woods. The Whyte Racing rider stormed round the four laps some five minutes ahead of his nearest rival to take a fine victory and another step closer to the series overall.
With well over a minute lead on a chasing Dan Wells (Cube Bikes UK) and Tony Fawcett (Blackhawk Bikes) on the opening lap, Smith was a rider on a mission and would make sure he had enough time to cover any problems encountered on the bike. Geoff Beetham (Retrobike.co.uk) was sitting in fourth spot well out of the running on the now gloopy course. Smith would increase his lead on every lap crossing the line ahead of second place Wells who in turn had managed to break the elastic to ride away from Fawcett and finish almost a minute to the good of his race rival.
Despite winning by nearly six minutes, Smith revealed after the race he was not aware of the time gap at any stage and rode to avoid any repeat of the previous round, in which he suffered a mechanical while leading.
“I didn't realise I had that much of a gap to be honest, I wasn't getting any time checks during the race so I just kept pushing on. I held back a little at the last round and when I snapped my chain I realised I hadn't given myself enough time to fix it and get back into the lead so today I made sure I had given myself plenty of time just in case anything happened, I would have time to deal with it, so from the gun today I went as hard as I could. I wanted the win as well today because I was so disappointed with the last round.
“The conditions really suited me today, the bike handled brilliantly on the descents, it’s designed with the British scene in mind and it’s just perfect for a course like this. Every lap seemed different today as the race went on, it was getting really sticky towards the end and you had to get the lines right coming out of the descents otherwise you'd get swallowed up.”
Result - Full Result and lap breakdown
1 Luke Smith Whyte Racing UK 1.36.14 4 laps
2 Dan Wells Cube Bikes UK 1.41.56
3 Tony Fawcett Blackhawk Bikes 1.42.53
4 Geoff Beetham Retrobike.co.uk 1.49.00
5 Shaun Wells Team Cookson Cycles 1.50.03
In the junior men’s race Harry Franklin (Hargroves Cycles/Specialized) took a fine win from Michael Thompson (TEF/Richardsons Race Team) just pulling away on the finishing straight to complete his three laps in 1.14.14 just two seconds ahead of his rival. It was Alex Wellburn(CycleShack-Forme Coaching) who had made early inroads on the race pulling some 30 seconds on Franklin and Thompson on the opening lap but Wellburn suffered a ripped tyre on the second lap as the two chasers had him in sight. Tom Evans (Ben Wyvis Bike Club) took third spot in 1.15.04.
Alice Barnes(Twenty 3c/Orbea) took a fine win in the junior women race after her success in the recent Johnsons Health Tech series. The young Towcester rider crossed the in 58.39 to complete her two laps ahead of Rebecca Preece (Red Rose Olympic) and Bethany Crumpton (Team Scott Contessa) who finished in 1.02.15 and 1.02.17 respectively.
Dan Tullet (Hargroves Cycles/Specialized) continued his domination of the juvenile category finishing his two laps in 52.45 and taking the victory from William Gascoyne (Matlock CC) who finished in 56.09. The battle for third was a closer affair seeing Ewan Grivell-Mellor (Mid Shrops Wheelers) just pip Joe Barnwell (NWMBA) into fourth by one second. Emily Wadsworth (Beeline Cycles) took victory in the juvenile women’s race by two seconds over Jessica Roberts (Towey Riders) finishing her lap in 32.07.
Billy Harding (Paul Milnes/Bradford) took the youth race in 48.38, a fine ride by the youngster finishing almost two minutes ahead of second placed Jack Ravenscroft (Solihull CC) who managed to fend off Rhos-on Sea-CC’s Dylan Kerfoot-Robson by a mere second. In the female youth race, Ffion James(Abergavenny CC) held off Innerleithen's Isla Short by one second to take the victory completing her two laps in 1.01.14.
Jason Bouttell (Ultimate Fitness) took the honours in the expert men’s race finishing his four laps in 1.42.37 just under a minute from Aire Vally Racing Team’s John Hopkinson. Matthew Hill (UK Biking.net) ensured victory in the sport male category ahead of Lee Gratton finishing his three laps in 1.18.41.
Gillian Pratt (Team Leslie Bike Shop) took the win in the master women’s race whilst Fern Henry took the sport women’s victory. In the men’s veterans race Paul Hopkins (Merida factory racing) crossed the line first ahead of Ian Taylor (Craven Energy), Hopkins finishing four laps in 1.42.13. Greg Simcock rode in third spot.
In the Grand Veterans race Peter Harris (Pearce Cycles) took the win from Steven Davies (Southfork Racing) and Gregor Grant (Moray Firth CC) in a time of 1.21.54. Vic Barnett (Wellend Valley CC) put over four minutes into second placed Colin Murley (Derwentside CC) to secure victory in the super veterans finishing his two laps in 1.39.52. Brenda Callander (Stirling Bike Club) took the victory in the veteran female race from Nicky Hughes (Team Scott Contessa) and Kim Long ensured the win in the grand veterans women’s six minutes ahead of Fiona Paton (Ben Wyvis Bike Club).