Location: Gaddens Close Farm, Charles Lane, Crow Hill, Ringwood
Event: 19 May 2013
Alex Paton made an excellent comeback to mountain bike from cyclo-cross this weekend with a determined win in the elite race at the Southern Cross-Country Regional Championships. Sally Bigham continued her successful season with another big win in the elite female race.
The Crow Hill course was prepared by the team from RideBike.co.uk and proved a slippery challenge for all after the early races bedded in the lines. Mostly rideable with skill even the elite riders came down a few times. A fantastic entry of 411 riders, with more kids racing at every round is good news for cross country racing in the south.
The elite men's race was a real classic battle over a long old school course. Ade Lansley, Ben Thomas and Mike Cotty started fast as usual, opening a gap of 30 seconds on Luke Smith and a full minute on Alex Paton at the end of lap one.
Lansley punctured on lap three and retired leaving only two in the lead group. First Luke and then Alex bridged the gap on the final lap and after a final attack from Alex only Ben could stay with him on the final climb.
Sally Bigham retained her elite champion title with a comfortable lead of 10 minutes over Emily Iredale and a returning Gemma Carter Collins.
Leona Kadir gave round one winner Agata Tamulewicz a really close race for the expert title. Riding together for two laps it was only on the last that Leona pulled away to win by only 16 seconds.
Gretel Warner took the junior crown from Sophie Joy in a repeat of the round one result. The Veteran Female title went to Liz Gilmour taking a break from the Elite race due to illness. Catriona Ross took another second place to get a good lead in the series points. Hannah English dropped in from Guernsey to take the youth female trophy from Abigail Van Twisk.
The expert male race was won by Isaac Pucci with lap times were comparable to many elites so we have another new talent developing. Roland Tilley managed to take the grand vet title even after a hard week building the course.
Liam Earl took advantage of Sam Stean's World Cup duties to grab the junior title and get a good lead in the series. Rob Purcell continued his good run In the Masters category but was run close this time by Stuart King who led until lap three.
Derek Wilson took advantage of his team mate Dean Camier's illness to get the win in the open category.
Marc Chamberlain caused an upset in the vets by beating hot favourite Paul Hopkins by nearly one minute.
The next round is on the 30 June at Wasing. Full details can be found at www.southernxc.net.