Posted: 13th October 2013
Scottish Cycling sent two teams representing Scotland North (Lewis Champion, Mark McGuire, Sam Lawton, Stephen Dent, Erica Allen, Katie Allen, Elena Melton & Ella Connolly) and Scotland South (Callum McGowan, Peace Somerville, Jamie Mason, Connor Johnston, Ellie Park, Polly Henderson, Eve Hanlon-Cole & Millie Hanlon-Cole) to 2013 Inter-Regional MTB Championships held at Hadleigh in Essex, site of the London 2012 Olympic MTB event.
The first day saw teams of riders representing all 10 English Regions, Scotland (North and South), Ulster and Wales all compete in a skills test. This skill based event was held over 7 stations, each testing a different aspect of bike handling – accuracy of turning, wheel placement, balance, smooth delivery of power and so on – with riders scoring points for how much of each part of a progressively harder course they could complete without any errors.
In the Girls competition, Martha Gill of the North West only dropped a single point to take first place. She was head and shoulders above the rest of the field with only Elena Melton from Scotland North able to come close in dropping just 3 points.
The Boys competition was incredibly tight with 5 people each only dropping a single point across the entire event. The tie on points was then split by a short time trial over a very twisty course – again testing the riders skill, rather than strength.
In the overall competition, Scotland North took an early lead, but with the South West, East Midlands and Scotland South all close behind.
On day two of the Inter-Regional MTB Championship, the 14 teams competed in a Handicap XC event and Dirt Sprints.
The Handicap XC, seeded off the results of yesterday’s skills competition saw lots of exciting battles throughout the field as the trade off between skill, strength and endurance played out. In the girls event, Ffion James of Wales overturned a 30s deficit on the start line to win from Elena Melton of Scotland North and Martha Gill of the North West. In the Boys event, 5 riders were on the front of the grid and Frazer Clacherty of the North East and Will Gascoyne of the East Midlands used their advantage to finish first and second, however Mark Mcguire from Scotland North pulled back 20s on the leaders to take third place.
The Dirt Sprints were a brand new event for MTB, similar to BMX racing in its intensity and format, but held over challenging and hilly terrain and without the benefit of a starting ramp. Charlotte Broughton from the East Midlands was imperious throughout the girls races, winning every single one of her qualifying motos and then the semi-final and final with ease. Hannah English from the South and Ffion James from Wales were always In the mix however and duly finished second and third in the final. As yesterday, the boys races were incredibly close and saw numerous photo-finishes throughout the competition. In the final, Dan Tullett of the South East won from Scott Woolley of Yorkshire by a tyre width in a thrilling sprint finish. Ulster’s James Curry took third spot – their team’s first ever podium position in the Inter-Regional MTB Championship.
In the overall competition, Scotland North extended their lead at the top of the table.
The third and final day of the 2013 Inter-Regional MTB Championship saw the 14 teams compete in two cross-country events over the Olympic XC Course in Hadleigh, Essex. With two days of competition already beneath their belts, the XC races provided the teams with the final test of their tactical, physical and technical prowess.
In the girls race, Ffion James of Wales won in a thrilling sprint finish just holding off National Champion Emily Wadsworth of Central by a bike length as they chased down the final straight. The final spot on the podium was equally well contested with Amira Mellor of Yorkshire just holding on to claim third place. Erica Allen from Scotland North took fourth place in the XC race with Elena Melton and Ella Connolly, also from Scotland North, finishing 8th and 9th.
In the boys race, there was another incredibly close race, this time however the sprint went the other way with Thomas Craig of the North West passing Frazer Clacherty of the North East a few metres before the line to take the win. Mark Mcguire of Scotland North rounded off the boys podium in third.
In the overall team competition, Scotland North extended their already commanding lead to be crowned the 2013 Inter-Regional MTB Champions. The silver medals went to the North West who were also well clear of the chasing field. As the overnight positions suggested, there was a fantastically closely fought mid-table battle with eight teams all in the hunt for the third spot. The East Midlands, who had held the third place coming into the first race of the day, slipped back however as Wales and Yorkshire took the advantage in the first race, and then Yorkshire closed the gap again in the final race - Wales however had done just enough to take home the bronze medals.
Behind them, in fifth spot were the North East, closely followed by Scotland South, East Midlands, South, South West and West Midlands. Central claimed eleventh place just pulling ahead of another very tightly spaced grouping at the bottom of the table between Eastern, South East and Ulster.
Congratulations go to all the teams for an amazing three days of racing; it is an enormous credit to the respective regions and nations that the standard of this event keeps on rising each year. Thank you also to all the staff, officials and other volunteers whose hard work enable this event to happen and provide such an outstanding platform for the strength and depth of youth cycling talent we have to flourish.