Welsh Shine in Mud at Margam

Welsh Shine in Mud at Margam

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Sally Gabriel leads off the start line in glorious sun!

Last weekend saw the British Mountain Bike Series return to the traditional Welsh venue of Margam Park. In previous years, the venue had gained a reputation for being hot and dry but in 2010, the heaven's opened and torrential rain saw the bone dry course that riders had practised turn into a very muddy, very slippery track for Saturday's races. This year was almost the opposite situation with rain all day on Saturday for practice making the course almost as treacherous as in 2010 but blazing sunshine for Sunday's racing drying the course for all but the first race.

A quick lap of the course on Sunday morning confirmed that the conditions on the ground hadn't changed much from the previous night but, even with an hour to go to the first race start, the sun was already very strong and the temperature was rising rapidly.

First of the races to finish was Juvenile girls and it was Ffion James who had produced a fantastic ride to take the win over 5mins ahead of second place. A little further back but still producing a great ride was Mererid Hunt-10th place giving her a second top 10 result in her second BMBS race. Sticking with the Female categories, there was more Welsh success in the Youth category and Junior races. Rebecca Hunt and Amy Roberts, both making a rare appearance on a MTB, took podium finishes-Rebecca 2nd Youth and Amy the leading junior. A second Welsh win (and a Welsh 1-2) followed not long after as Sally Gabriel crossed the line over 4mins ahead of second placed Ruby Miller in Expert Female. This is Sally's first win in a BMBS but with lap times that would have put her firmly inside the top 10 in the Elite field, it surely won't be her last. Talking of the Elite's, Mel Alexander produced another great ride to take her second BMBS podium in a row with 4th place, despite claiming that the course didn't suit her because her legs don't go uphills!
It wasn't only the girl's that were liking the conditions as Dylan Kerfoot-Robson proved by crossing the line in 3rd place-his first BMBS podium since moving up to Youth this year. In the juvenile boys, Alister Williams secured his best BMBS result so far with 9th place while Nicholas Jones used his climbing skills to good effect to take 15th.

Moving on to Race 2 and the blazing sun was definitely drying the course and making tyre choice interesting for the Junior and Senior Men. In the hottest part of the day and o a physically demanding course, several riders DNF'd citing the heat as the reason-it was definitely a tough race! Will Worrall was the first Welsh rider home in the Junior race, crossing the line in 6th place. Not long after, Matt Thompson crossed the line in 9th to achieve his goal of a top 10 finish. In the Elite race, the O'Boyle brothers both rode well to finish in the top 10. Sion was the first to cross the line in 7th place, followed not long after by Anthony in 9th. Ben Roff completed a trio of Welsh riders inside the top 15, taking 14th place. Lee Williams was one of the victims of the heat as he suffered a bad case of cramp after three laps and withdrew. In the Expert Male race, James Williams took 3rd place with Daniel Blackwell just behind in 4th place.

By the time Race 3 got underway, there were quite a few sunburnt people around and there still wasn't a cloud in the sky. Also, the course was almost completely dry. Ed Malarczyk took 4th place in the Super Vet race while son Anthony took 6th in the Master's. Also in the Master's, Phil Morris rode well to take 4th place, George Rose was 7th, Ian Bendall 8th and Grant Leavy 12th-5 riders in the top 12 can't be bad! In Grand Vets, Matt Scrase showed that he hasn't lost any of the form that saw him take the Welsh Series title earlier in the year by finishing just off the podium in 6th.

Other Results:

Juvenile Boys:
Joe Holt 16th
Ben Beckinsale 23rd
Jack Nash 26th
Nathan Ford 28th @1lap

Youth Boys:
Sebastian Meighan-Davies 22nd
Gari Fon 26th
Owen James 31st @2laps

Junior Boys:
James Nixon 15th

Expert Female:
Ruth Owen-Evans 7th

Elite Male:
Matt Page 20th
Lee Williams 26th @2laps
Giles Drake 28th @3laps

Veteran Male:
Ross Porter 16th
Ian Jeremiah 52nd @3laps

As always, apologies if I have missed your result. Please let me know and I will add you in scott.bugden@welshcycling.co.uk. For full results click here


Alongside the main race, there was also a Go-Race event for all Under 12's who wanted to have a go at racing and any Under 16's new to MTB racing. The event was a huge success with 55 riders across the categories, easily the highest number so far. Full report to follow soon.

Crowded start line for one of the Go-Race events

Ffion James went on to dominate the Juvenile girls race. 

Sion O'Boyle had a great ride under the blazing sun and blue sky.

All photos courtesy of Joolze Dymond. Click on any of the pictures to see more or click here to see the whole album.