Last Weekend the team were represented at two regional XC races. Neal Crampton headed to the final round of the Nutcracker XC Series and Ruby Miller, Jo Clay and Alex Welburn all took to the line at the penultimate round of the Midlands XC Series.
Here’s Neal Crampton’s report from the race at Swaledale, where he took the win:
“The final round of the Nutcracker Northern XC series is like XC races of old, and if I’m honest (and a bit cynical) highlights exactly what I am missing in current XC racing. The course was long, which meant we only did 3 laps but with the remnants of hurricane Bertha blowing through, they were toughies. The course had a bit of everything, well everything except flat bits, which if you are a rider like me can only be good! The strength sapping climbs in to the wind were more than rewarded for by the panoramic views of Swaledale, fantastic descents and singletrack traverses. With a good field of Expert riders and the Juniors setting out just behind us it was tough work to stay out front but nonetheless I came in first in the Elite/Experts. A quick roll down the valley back to the HQ and it was Barbecue and Beers time. Smashing! A huge thanks to the Nutcracker team, this is an event I will definitely be back for.”
Further south, Jo Clay and Alex Welburn both finished an impressive 2nd place in elite with Ruby Miller rolling in a respectable 4th place, at the penultimate round of the Midlands XC Series at the Wyre Forest in Hereford. Here’s how they all got on from their own perspectives’:
Jo Clay: “To say it was a muddy at the Wyre Forest would have been a small understatement! As we were sat waiting on the start line of the race, the sky was black and the wind was howling. I was starting to get very cold, so was keen to get going. The start was on a fast fire road that then turned off into a narrow single track which was fun and twisty. I got a good start as usual, and was leading the race off the line. I was feeling comfortable and had a clear trail in front of me. It was very muddy and slippery so it was hard not to make a mistake. This was my main worry, as Nicky Healy was hot on my tail watching my every move. As we came down a decent into a small stream crossing I slipped off the racing line and fell off the bike into a small ditch. Nicky then passed me and I struggled to get back on as I was a little off camber and was hard to get going again on the slippy mud, by this time Nicky had gained about 20 yards on me. As it was so early on in the race I didn’t want to go too hard trying to catch back up so I pushed on and maintained a good pace.”
The rain continued and the thunder and lightening started to get pretty bad. I was starting to feel a little nervous! It was so black in the sky it made it really dark in the woods! At one point I almost needed a light to see where I was going. Despite all this I was really enjoying the race. Mud was a nice chang,e as we haven’t raced in the wet all year and the course was real good fun. As we approached the end of the race, Nicky managed to stay away and I finished in a satisfying 2nd place. I was pretty pleased with that and it was good preparation for the last National XC Round at Cannock Chase next weekend.”
Ruby Miller: Going into this weekend Midlands I was a bit unsure on how my race legs would feel with it being my first XC race after coming back from a trail riding holiday in Canada. Overall I was really pleased with how it went especially with the extra muddy conditions. After getting so used to riding the dust in Canada, mud felt unnatural! I managed to get pretty consistent lap times and felt my racing legs coming back in time for this weekend final national round at Cannock.
Alex Welburn: “Conditions were bad! Despite this the race went well for me, I didn’t push hard too early on in the race as the conditions were poor. The single track wasn’t too bad, but the climbs where incredibly slippery which made it hard going. Myself and Steve James (Hargrove’s Cycles) managed to get a nice gap on the rest of the field. With a lap and half to go, on one of the steeper climbs, Steve made a move and I managed to stay with him initially, but going into the woods he got a gap, and by the finish line it was only 13 seconds down.”
Some great results from the riders who now look ahead to the final round of the National XC at Cannock Chase and TORQ In Your Sleep.
As always, a big thank you to all the team sponsors. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do: