BRITISH XC SERIES ROUND 1 – SHERWOOD PINES, 24TH MARCH 2013
Words: Team Mountain Trax/Vauxhall Motors
Photos: Vermont Images
With the official start of British Summer Time just a week away the weather served up a little surprise with a huge covering of snow coating the British Isles. The first rounds of the National Endurance Series and National XC Series were due to take place over the weekend but there were plenty of mixed reports circulating the internet media sites about road conditions and whether the races would actually go ahead. Nevertheless Tim had his National Endurance title to defend and Ben was eager to start building back up his World Ranking UCI Points.
Vermont Images boss John took to the wheel of the team van, negotiating Ben through the snow to Sherwood Pines for the National XC. The organisers were working hard clearing the snow from the start arena and had cleared access to the car park to ensure the Sunday races could go ahead. Tim wasn’t so lucky, having driven for 6 hours to the Lake District he arrived to find the event cancelled – a big disappointment.
Race day dawned at Sherwood Pines with brighter skies but bitterly strong winds and a temperature of minus 4° centigrade! The start was crucial with just one line through the snow available for much of the singletrack. Ben had a good start but it was difficult to move forward with riders flying in all directions.
Here are Ben’s thoughts on the race: “It was really difficult to overtake but on lap 2 I moved up into the top 15 catching Ade Lansley and Nick Craig. I made a big mistake though getting too close to Ade in the singletrack and had a big crash, I then lost about 10 places stopping to fix the bike. I had to overtake everyone again which took too much time and didn’t have a clear path again until my last lap. I was the 8th quickest rider on that lap, my Nobby Nics were perfect out there; I had so much grip. Top 10 would have been possible had I not crashed on lap 2, my legs felt great out there”.
Ben’s 15th place is a solid result especially when considering the level of competition. This included many international riders who made the trip over to collect some UCI world ranking points which are awarded to the top 15. The results sheet shows how close the time gaps were with just a minute from Ben to the top 10. The team miss the next round of the series but will be back at round 3 ready to chase for a top 5 podium finish.
Next up Ben and Tim will be in action at the first European round of the World Marathon Series in France in 2 weeks time.