The 2015 British Cycling MTB Cross-Country Series reaches its conclusion on 15-16 August with round five at Cannock Chase.
Honours will be decided in all categories over two days of racing in Staffordshire’s iconic woodland venue with the elite men’s and women’s events set for a nail-biting conclusion.
Banjo Cycles’ Philip Pearce tops the elite men’s table after four rounds, with 183 points and, with only the best four of five results counting, a theoretical 218 point maximum. Pearce has contested all four rounds in Sherwood Pines, Newnham Park, Fforest Fields and Cathkin Braes, the Banjo Cycles rider really hitting his stride in round three, where he reached the podium for the first time before winning at the penultimate round at the 2014 Commonwealth Games venue.
Betch.NL Superior Brentjens’ Grant Ferguson is second overall but is out of contention for the title, despite winning two of the three rounds he has entered so far. Ferguson, who was absent in round four and will also not start in Cannock, will end the series on 163 points and is sure to be surpassed by one of Pearce’s remaining series rivals.
Chief among them is David Fletcher, who sits in fourth overall on 141 points. With only three points-scoring results under his belt this season, the Pine Cycles-Felt-Enve rider has the most to gain at the final round, with a theoretical maximum of 201 points giving him the potential to threaten Pearce for the win.
A place ahead of Fletcher in the standings is Jason Bouttell, the VeloVelocity/Risbygate Solicitors’ rider having amassed 156 points over four rounds. Bouttell’s scope is however limited to a 186 point maximum thanks to a brace of 12th place finishes in rounds one and two. Despite consistent scoring, only a disaster for Pearce and Fletcher will give Bouttell a glimmer of hope for the overall title.
Kerry Macphee leads the elite women’s rankings with one round to go, the Rock and Road Cycles’ rider on 187 points, 18 ahead of Annie Last, who took wins in Newnham Park and Cathkin Braes.
But with Last not attending the final round, third-placed Alice Barnes could easily surpass Last and Macphee to add another impressive result to her bulging 2015 palmares. Barnes comes into the final round in stellar form, having achieved her first under-23 world cup podium in Mont Sainte Anne, the pinnacle of a season which has seen the Betch.NL Superior Brentjens rider excel on trail and road.
Two other riders have the scope, at least in theory, to vie for the series win; Lucy Grant of Peebles CC elevated to fourth overall thanks to a second place in Cathkin Braes and 2014 series champion Bethany Crumpton, who trails Grant by a single point after taking third place in the penultimate round.
The fifth round of the British Cycling MTB Cross-Country Series takes place on 15-16 August at Cannock Chase in Staffordshire.
Elite races take place on Sunday, with the women’s competition at 10:45am and the men’s race at 1:00pm. Races last approximately 90 minutes, with riders taking a mass start before negotiating a series of 15-minute laps. Courses are designed to be spectator-friendly and events are free to watch.
There is also age and ability-based racing across both days – for full details see the event homepage.
Want to start mountain biking? Check out our guide to getting involved.