Well, whoever it was that started speculating that Mountain Bike racing was dead in this country was quite obviously wrong if this Sunday’s Giant NRS National Points Series was anything to go by…
The start of the Pro-Elite race
I’ve not seen such a busy Mountain Bike race venue in 3 or 4 years! Obviously the foot and mouth outbreak put pains to the 2001 season and I can’t help but think that the uncertainty carried over somewhat into 2002. Add to this, the natural diffusion of the ‘serious’ portion of the incredibly popular enduro events and Mountain Biking racing is starting to find its feet again. I don’t know the official entry figures for this weekend’s NPS at Thetford, but with some 80+ riders in the Masters category this was certainly Mountain Bike racing at its best.
Nick Collins (Sports Men) or is it Lance?
There were some notable performances by many of the TORQ-tuned riders. Theresa Jordan (CC Luton) won the Masters Women event by over 2 minutes. Also, in 6th place about 5 minutes off the pace was a strong performance by Louise Potter (Stourbridge CC). In the Sports Men’s category, Nick Collins (Unattached) – a newcomer to the category stormed home in 8th place, just 3 ½ minutes off the pace. In the Expert Men’s race, a hugely improved Ciaran McAneny (Evans Cycles RT) took 10th place, just under a minute clear of TORQ-tuned friend and rival Peter Giddings (Bath Uni MTB).
Theresa Jordan (Masters Women)
In the Pro-Elite Men, the highest placing of the TORQ-tuned went to Paul Newnham (Halfords Bike Hut) in 18th place, who unfortunately suffered a couple of crashes en-route – “much better to come” says Paul. Further down the field in 34th was team mate Phil Rayner (Halfords Bike Hut) and between them were Marcos Schier (Unattached) in 25th and Steve Hambling (Activ Folkstone) in 31st. Finally, in the Masters Men category, Jeremy Olsen (Freeborn/Elsworth) managed 29th in this huge category, failing to match the quality of his 2nd place in the Gorrick race the week before. In his debut in the Masters cat, Simon Turner (Sussexmtb.co.uk) finished in 36th place – again a fine performance for someone so new to racing.
So, to all that turned up and raced, whether TORQ-tuned or otherwise, keep supporting these events – Mountain Bike racing is definitely here to stay…
Below: Heavy-legged Pete & Ciaran (Expert Men)