After a couple of long and hectic days at TORQ HQ, fitness testing, issuing much of our kit for the season, building bikes and modelling for the team photo shoot with Joolze Dymond (See here http://bit.ly/GD5KJ1), many of the team headed over to Cannock Chase for round 2 of the Midlands XC series..
Although a few of the riders had already competed in a couple of early season races, with the first British XC race only a week away this was a great chance for the team to really test their form and help with the often painful transition from winter training into the race season! As a result this round of the series had sold out, filling the venue with close to 400 pre entrants and with some strong competition in many of the categories, it was set to be a tough race.
With less than ideal pre race preparation thanks to a late finish on the previous day and a couple of the riders only finishing building their bikes that morning, the team headed out for a practice lap on what turned out to be an excellent course. Lee Westwood, Chris Andrew, Neil Hayward and Ben Price all lined up for the Elite race along with James Gleave taking on a massive Masters field.
After a fast start to the Elite race, straight up a sharp rise the groups were quick to form with positions changing frequently. 3 laps in, new signing Lee Westwood was the best placed TORQ rider after working his way up to the front, with the others chasing close behind. Here’s Lee’s account of the events that followed:
“As we rolled through the arena for the start of the third lap I had settled into the lead group but only briefly as Dave Collins (Hope factory racing) hit the front with a big attack. I used this attack as a springboard to my own, where I gained a good gap on the rest of the field, from here on in it was all about holding this advantage which I did for the remainder of the race to roll home and claim my first Elite victory”.
A phenomenal performance from Lee considering he finished building his team bike earlier that morning, having never ridden a 29er before and this round being his second ever Elite race having just qualified for an Elite licence after winning the national series as an Expert rider in 2011!
After Lee crossed the line to take the win, Ben Price another team rider competing in his first Elite race crossed the line in 8th, shortly followed by Chris Andrew in 9th who had spent much of the race at up the front but lost time after rolling a tyre and losing air. Neil Hayward another newly promoted Elite rider followed moments later in 13th. James Gleave also took 8th behind some quality riders in the Masters field. All promising results this early in the season which will no doubt see some improvement as the season progresses. The day was topped off with the team taking the overall prize for best team performance on the day, something we all hope to continue.
Next weekend sees the team really kicking the season off with the first round of the British MTB XC Series at Sherwood, with 74 riders entered into the Elite category including a former world champion and many other categories close to full it should make for some great racing….
Thanks to Jacob James from http://www.mudshotphotography.co.uk/ for the photos.
Once again, a huge thank you to all our sponsors for 2012:
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.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
www.lezyne.com – Bottle Cages, Tools, CO2 and Pumps.
Follow the TORQ Performance MTB team’s progress on their Facebook page: