Fresh from a win at the Ritchey Bristol Bike Fest the previous weekend, many of the team headed north to Kirroughtree in Scotland for round 4 of the British XC MTB Series..
After a long drive North from TORQ HQ, the team arrived at the venue greeted by rain showers and midges! Kirroughtree is a venue situated right on the far west of the Scottish Boarders and is part of the 7Stanes project (seven world class mountain bike facilities spread across Dumfries and Galloway and a honey pot for great mountain biking).
The event was organised by the people behind the Scottish XC Series (in collaboration with British Cycling), a race series well know for its challenging and technical courses. This was an opinion shared by all of the team after a practice lap! There was a combination of some hard pack sections from the red-graded trail along with some freshly cut singletrack sections through the woods. The trail centre sections rolled incredibly quickly and had you riding on the rails as you hit tight twisty sections of whoops and berms through the woods. Some of the off piste sections of the course we suffering from the rain, leaving a thick sticky layer of mud surrounding a network of exposed and slippery roots ready to catch you out at any moment, both on the ups and downs. By the end of practice on Saturday, many of the uphill sections of the course were almost unrideable as there simply wasn’t enough grip on offer to keep the bike moving forward. On top of this many of the downs had become a true test of balance and line choice as riders slipped and drifted their way to the bottom. What the course lacked in significant changes in altitude it made up for in technicality and was a true test of skill and fitness.
With some noticeable absences from the team, Ben Price, Neil Hayward, Chris Andrews and Lee Westwood were grided ready for the start of the elite race. With 5 laps ahead of them on a lengthy course, it was to be a long race! With the conditions and the challenging riding there was a high attrition rate, with the field shrinking lap on lap, as riders succumbed to mechanicals and injury. Lee Westwood a rider normally closest to the pointy end of the field suffered an injury after a collision with a tree, which saw him knocked out of contention. After an early mechanical Ben received some technical assistance and made up for lost time, while Neil and Chris both rode consistently.
After 5 long laps in just short of 2 hours, 2 TORQ-fuelled riders (Oli Beckingsale and Nick Craig) were the first riders home with just 22 seconds separating the two! Both incredible results! First TORQ rider home was Chris Andrews in 15th shortly followed by Ben Price in 20th and Neil Hayward in 24th, both producing their best ever results in the Elite category.
TORQ Director Matt Hart was up next in the Vets category, with some disappointing early season results and struggling with the work/training balance, Matt pulled it out the bag, making full use of the time advantages from the A lines of the course and using his race experience to great effect, Matt finished in a season’s best 9th place.
Next up for the team is the Black Mountain 3 Day followed by Bontrager 24/12, where the team will be out in force to defend their position on the top of the podium in the 12hour team category.
A big thanks to Darren Colli-Leach at www.xcpix.co.uk for the pictures.
Once again a huge thank you to all of our sponsors this year:
www.whytebikes.com – Frames
www.shimano.com – Drivetrain & Brakes
www.limarhelmets.com – Helmets
www.ritcheylogic.com – Handlebars, Stems, Saddles, Seatposts & Grips
www.max-mediagroup.co.uk – Team PR
www.schwalbe.com – Tyres
www.lezyne.com – Pumps, Tools and Bottle Cages
www.champ-sys.com – Performance Cycle Clothing
www.srsuntour-cycling.com – SR Suntour Suspension Forks
www.exposurelights.com – Advanced Lighting
www.juicelubes.co.uk – Lubrication
www.lakecycling.com – Shoes
www.jagwireusa.com – Cables & Housing
www.crankbrothers.com – Pedals
www.cleecycles.com – KCNC Skewers & Bottom Brackets
www.sapim.be – Spokes
www.stradawheels.co.uk – Wheel Builder
www.joolzedymond.com – Photography
www.cycleops.com – Power Measurement and Turbo Training
www.notubes.com – Tyre Sealant, Rims & Hubs
www.dare2be.com – Casual Clothing
Follow the TORQ Performance MTB team’s progress on their Facebook page: