Generous helpings of single track, sun and scenery proved to be the winning recipe for the fourth round of the 2014 Welsh MTB XC Series promoted by the West Wales Cycle Racing Team at Bwlch Nant yr Arian near Aberystwyth. There was a healthy turnout of riders, despite certain other events, and some quality racing.
An early rogue shower temporarily dampened the dust and the U8s in the first race of the day. They showed determination on the forestry road climb and some skilful riding on the slippery and appropriately named “Drunken Druid” trail with Anwen Nesham taking the chequered flag just ahead of local newcomer Harri Jones and consolidating her series lead. Despite being ill in the week, the promoting club’s Griff Lewis followed suite in the U10’s race, finishing well ahead of club-mate Joshua Tarling, and Evelyn Higgins-Worrall looked strong on the forestry road climb as she took her fourth win of the series. Welsh Champion Timothy Freeman took victory by one minute in the U12’s race on the “Italian Job” trail, and, sporting her Welsh jersey, Josie Nelson finished an impressive third.
More Welsh Champion jerseys were on display as the Elite and Junior Men took to the course. With the fastest lap time of the day, Dan Evans was soon stretching out his lead over team-mate Daniel Blackwell, with only ODP Junior Dylan Kerfoot-Robson able to keep him in sight. But with 3 laps remaining Evans pulled out after puncturing and Blackwell took the win in the Elite Men’s race. Kerfoot-Robson completed his 5 laps one and a half minutes ahead of Robert Rogers. Evie Richards was first Junior Woman.
Welsh Champion Tomos Nesham led the Youth Men through after the first lap but was then forced to retire, leaving series leader Jack Broadley and Joe Barnwell to battle it out at the front. Midway through the race only three seconds separated the two but then Broadley dropped off the pace and Barnwell took victory by just under a minute. Lucy Lee was a convincing winner in the Youth Women’s category. Harvey Rollason and Chloe Williamson led from start to finish in their respective Juvenile races, with Rollason crossing the line nearly a minute ahead of Craig Rogers and Williamson over three minutes ahead of Katie Hesden.
In the Sport Men’s category Ry McGrath came within 37 seconds of series leader Carwyn Jones, as Jones faded towards the end of the 5 lap race; Janet Burthem took a comfortable win in the Sport Women’s race.
The final races of the day saw Welsh Master Champion Phil Morris consolidate his series lead; Roy Davies move up to fifth place overall after victory over Welsh Veteran Champion and series leader Chris Kay; Pete Turnbull add to his Round 1 victory over Welsh Grand Veteran Champion and series leader Grant Johnson; and Michael Tarling and Lisa Young win their respective Fun races.
A big thank you to Gareth Lewis and Michael Tarling and their West Wales Cycle Racing Team for continuing with the promotion, to all who made the long journey to Nant yr Arian, especially Jay and Maddie, and to Natural Resources Wales for allowing us to use their trails.
The final round of the series will be at Coed y Brenin on Sunday 7 September where overall series trophies will be awarded.