Midlands XC Marathon Championships

It’s been a busy couple of months with lots of racing for the team, shortly after the National Marathon Champs  where Neal Crampton took top honours and was crowned national marathon Champion (see report here).  It was then onto the 3rd and 4th round of the British Cycling XC Mountain Bike series at Hopton Wood in Shropshire and Margam Park in South Wales, as well as the Midlands XC Marathon Championships to fit in too.

As it was the first ever edition of the Midlands XC regional Marathon Championships, the team were out in force with Chris Andrews, Lee Westwood, Neal Crampton and Ben Price, all racing the 70km distance, along with guest rider, and Nepalese National Champion, Ajay Pandit Chhetri racing the 100km.  In the women’s event, Gen Whitson took to the start line of the 70km event, along with Joanne Clay in the 100km. TORQ also had representation from TORQ Australia with Junior riders Liam Jeffries, who was over in the UK visiting family, giving the event a truly international and thoroughly black and orange presence!

The championships were held at Hanchurch Woods, a venue renowned in the Midlands XC series for its fun sections of sustained and technical single-track. As a woodland that is privately owned, it meant that the race was the one opportunity for many riders to sample some of the fantastic trails on offer.  With the forestry busy logging in the weeks up to the event and some very heavy rain showers on the day, the course was pretty tough going in places.  This was added to by the many technical climbs and descents that laced the course meaning that even completing a single lap was an achievement, let alone the 6 required to reach the full 100km distance!


Despite the conditions, the riders worked hard to stay in the race and first rider home was Chris Andrews in the 70km finishing 3rd, less than a couple of minutes behind two of the country’s top XC Mountain bikers.  Next up was team manager, Ben Price, who finished shortly behind Chris in 6th place.  Unfortunately for Lee and Neal, things didn’t quite work out and an early finish ensued.  In the 100km distance, Ajay Pandit Chhetri stormed to the win and was one of the only riders to finish the full 5 laps of the gruelling physical course before the organisers cut-off time; a great achievement and a glimpse of the potential that Ajay has as a rider outside of the Himalayas.

In the women’s race, Gen Whitson finished in an excellent  2nd place to TORQ Fuelled Scott Contessa Rider, Rebecca Preece in the 100km, with Joanne Clay taking 3rd place in the 70km. A great ride also by TORQ Australia’s Liam Jeffery, who entered the 35km go race event and took a clear win nearly 7 minutes ahead of the second finisher.

The next round of the series heads to Eastridge Woods, TORQ’s own doorstep MTB playground; another great race course with steep climbs and fast technical descents.  

As always, a big thank you to all the team sponsors, without them we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.

www.whytebikes.com – Frames & Wheels
www.shimano.com – Drivetrain & Brakes                                             
www.chapeaucycling.co.uk – Team Clothing                                                                
www.amphibia-sport.com – Custom Kit Bags
www.limarhelmets.com – Helmets
www.max-mediagroup.co.uk – Team PR
www.schwalbe.com – Tyres
www.lezyne.com – Pumps, Tools & Bottle Cages
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.joolzedymond.com – Photography

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