British XC R3 Hopton Woods

The 3rd round of the British XC Series was held at Hopton Woods, a local venue to TORQ HQ and one of the many excellent trails we have here on our doorstep in Shropshire….

The newly opened trail is the fruit of many year’s of hard work from Dave Pearce at Pearce Cycle’s with the race course taking in some of the best bits of the popular red graded mountain bike trail. After using the venue as part of our training camp earlier in the season the course was already familiar with many of the team riders.

The short lap was very old school in nature, a long steep fire road climb, with a few switchbacks to break it up, followed by a white knuckle ride back down to the finish on a fast flowy decent, through lots of bermed corners and off-camber root sections. After a couple of weeks of sunshine (remember those!) the course was running a warp speed, much to the enjoyment of those riding it, with many of the team having to be held back from heading out for more practice laps in a bid to prevent them fatiguing too much for the race the following day!

The morning of the race saw the sun high overhead with temperature hitting the high twenties, a stark contrast to the rain, hail and cold of Dalby forest for the previous round. Hopton was a UCI Category 2 which meant that as fewer UCI points were on offer compared to the previous UCI Cat 1 round’s at Dalby and Sherwood Forest. This resulted in the elite field being made up of predominantly the UK’s top domestic riders rather than the international pro’s who had attended the previous rounds, so was a great opportunity for the team to see how they faired against the countrie’s best and moved everyone’s start (and hopefully finishing place) up by a number of places.

Race one saw Ruby Miller take 18th in elite, after suffering a lack of training from ascending a mountain of assignments at university and still on the steep learning curve that comes from the first year in the elite field, still managed a credible result . Race one also saw some excellent performances from TORQ Fuelled Scott Contessa UK rider, Gabby Day who took the win in the elite female after leading from the gun. Scott Contessa Junior rider Bethany Compton also taking the win by a comfortable margin!

Next up were the elite men, with 6 TORQ riders in the Elite field of 38, TORQ riders made up 16% of the field! Ride of the day went to Lee Westwood who came in 13th, shortly followed by Chris Andrews in 19th, Anthony O’Boyle in 26th, Sion O’Boyle in 26th, and Neil Hayward in 28th all putting in excellent performances. TORQ Fuelled Oli Beckingsale took the win in the race, his first major win after his devastating injury last season and an excellent result. See Oli’s report here

In the real heat of the day the Vet’s race got underway with Matt Hart flying the TORQ flag. A noticeable absence from Hopton was James Gleave our master’s category rider who was still recovering after his horrific crash at Dalby. James is set to make a full recovery from his broken vertebra and should hopefully be back riding his bike at the end of the season! Up against one of the biggest fields of the series Matt fought hard, struggling in the heat on the climbs, but made up plenty of places on the descents to eventually finish a credible 20th place.

Next event for the team was the Ritchey Bike Fest at Ashton Court in Bristol, shortly followed by the 4th round of the British XC Series in Scotland. Race report to follow shortly…..

Big thanks to Jacob James at for the pictures.

Once again a huge thank you to all of our sponsors this year: – Frames – Drivetrain & Brakes – Helmets – Handlebars, Stems, Saddles, Seatposts & Grips – Team PR – Tyres – Pumps, Tools and Bottle Cages – Performance Cycle Clothing – SR Suntour Suspension Forks – Advanced Lighting – Lubrication – Shoes – Cables & Housing – Pedals – KCNC Skewers & Bottom Brackets – Spokes – Wheel Builder – Photography – Power Measurement and Turbo Training – Tyre Sealant, Rims & Hubs – Casual Clothing

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