The National Championships this year took place on a testing course near Ludlow, Shropshire. ‘A real National’s course’ I’ve heard it said, probably because of the serious climbing and break-neck descending involved.
The highlight for TORQ this year was two second places with Steve Farmer in the Espoirs and Jeremy Olsen in the Sports category. Steve has rebounded from a very poor season last year where he was plagued with injury and is now truly a force to be reckoned with at Elite level. His best performance of last year was at the National Championships where he managed 6th in Espoirs, so this is a remarkable improvement on an already strong performance. The winner of the Espoirs was Liam Kileen, who just got 3rd at the Commonwealth Games this week (1st Brit home) – nuff said.
Jeremy had a cracking ride too. He’s also won the Sport class at London’s midweek Beastway series and is currently lying joint second in the National Points Series. What will this guy do off the back of a solid winter’s training? This is what he had to say about the National Champs:
The Nationals course was right up my street – lots of climbing and some wickedly technical descents. Despite my best efforts (for the second year in a row, I fiddled with my bike just before the start and had something break – this time I snapped a chainring bolt. doh!) I didn’t manage to get a good start and halfway up the first climb I found myself about 30m down and in about 7th place. For the next lap and a half I reeled in everyone except the leader who was out there alone. Scott O’Neil (another TORQ rider) helped me by falling off his bike – until then he was going really strong). After that it was a case of keeping focused and working the hills – I knew that I was stronger on the technical stuff than the guy behind me. So, 2nd it was – quite chuffed about that – 3 ½ minutes behind the winner Graham Warby, but I lost about 45 seconds on the first lap when my broken chainring bolt finally wormed its way out (heart stopping moment!).
Last time I spoke to Scott he was on his 3rd visit to hospital for a back injury. He got 7th in the end, which wasn’t at all bad under the circumstances. Get well soon Scotty…
Other notable performances by TORQ riders were:
Steve Hambling – 13th (Senior/Elite Men)
Theresa Jordan – 5th (Masters Women)
Caroline Gay – 3rd (Sports Women)
Mike Baker – 9th (Youth Men)
Adam Thomson – 11th (Junior Men)
Unfortunately, Marcos Schier wasn’t allowed to ride, because he doesn’t hold a British Passport. He’s looking forward to the final NPS round in a couple of weeks though.