Round 3 of the National XC Series returned to Fforest Fields, just outside of Builth Wells in Mid Wales. This was the first time the race had been held at this venue in some time and it surely provided a challenging course, to test even the most accomplished of riders.
The venue provided a natural amphitheatre, with much of the course in view from the main arena. A long steep climb straight off the line, had riders immediately into the red, before a series of challenging descents and a further tough climb brought the riders back to the arena.
In the Men’s Elite race, it was Alex Welburn who put in the performance of the day. Spending much of the first part of the race well inside the top 10 and rubbing shoulders with a number of full time professional athletes. Alex eventually finishing in 12th, after suffering cramp towards the later part of the race. Alex was shortly followed by team Mate Chris Andrews, who was hot on his heels in 15th. Next up it was Jon Pybus in 25th, who put in a good performance after a Winter away from the bike. Lee Gratton (our 4th Elite rider), was absent, after being forced to skip the round, due to separating his shoulder in Round 2 at Newnham Park. In the Expert race, Richard Dunnett also put in a strong performance, to finish 6th – which certainly helped to perfect his preparations for the European 24hour Solo Championships the following weekend.
In the Women’s Elite race, Jules Toone put on an impressive show and battled it out with fellow team mate Jo Clay. Jules worked her way up from 12th place on the grid, to 9th at the finish and was shortly followed by Jo Clay, who finished in 15th – despite riding much of the race with Jules, Jo succumbed to cramp and lost a significant amount of time and positions on the final lap. Carla Haines also put in a strong performance to finish 21st.
Some great performances by the riders. Next event for the team is the Scott Marathon Series, which is a short distance from the Fforest Fields venue in Rhayader, Mid Wales. A special mention also goes to TORQ Devo Rider, Lydia Gould who won the Grand Veteran Female Category by a significant margin and also to TORQ Fuelled Sally Bigham on her win in the Elite Female Category.