Hot (Adjective): Having a high degree of heat or a high temperature. Feeling or producing an uncomfortable sensation of heat.
Technical (Adjective): Of, or relating to, a particular subject, art or craft or its techniques. Requiring special knowledge to be understood.
Character (Noun): The mental or moral qualities distinctive to an individual. The distinctive nature of something.
So, how do a series of dictionary definitions fit with Round 2 of the Brownbacks Hope XC Race Series for 2013? Well, let’s have a think. Hot? Oh yes. Technical? Definitely. Character? In spades.
From the Lads to the Grand Veterans, every single rider who lined up to race was met with blistering heat and technical challenges irrespective of which course they faced and every single one, by just being there, showed real character.
The course designers pulled out all the stops on Sunday, presenting riders with technical descents and punishing climbs across all of Lee Quarry’s varying surfaces. There were real tests of skill and stamina throughout. Lee Quarry requires both at all times, but on what must have been one of the hottest days of the year so far, riders were pulling out all of the stops to race a demanding course.
And nobody did that better and more impressively than Kevin Smith, our winner of the ‘Racer’ category, generously sponsored once again by Leisure Lakes. Kevin was powerful throughout. There may not be much of him, but he packs a serious punch on the bike. He was pushed all the way by Leisure Lakes’ own David Bentley who impressed many on the course with his clever line choices and smooth bike-handling. Richard Knowles in third dazzled all with his skills and, more importantly, his shocking pink socks! They were just three of the seven riders who managed seven laps of the course in this class. An incredible achievement in the sweltering heat.
Our winner of the TGStore.eu ‘Racing Diva’ category in the opening race of the Series, WXC World Racing’s Amber Southern, was back for Round 2 but had to settle for a creditable runners up spot as she was pipped over 6 hard laps by Alison Rushton (both took time out to talk to us in the lead up to the race and you can read all about them here. Arrow Cycles’ Vanessa Holmes showed real promise taking third.
Martin Corbett carried on where he left off in Round 1, once again taking the Lusso sponsored ‘50+’ category. It wasn’t all ‘as you were’ however with Sean Beswick of Zepnat RT taking second ahead of Brownbacks own ‘King of the Single Ring’, ‘Mr Sparkle’ himself, Simon Fox. Simon’s refusal to complicate matters with such things as shifters and a derailleur meant that he was also the winner of Charlie The Bikemonger ‘Singlespeed’ category.
Roy Davies of Team Elite/BH won the ‘40+’ class, again kindly sponsored by Lusso. Roy proved age ain’t nothing but a number with a seven lap performance. His time would have seen him secure a podium spot in the Racers. Stuart Rider of Rider’s Cycle Centre was in second with Ray Honour of MTS Cyclesport in third.
James Tudor of Rossendale RC was another who returned to winning ways. He claimed top spot in the Big Bear Bikes ‘Weekend Warriors’. Rob Lihou improved upon his last outing, moving up to second place. Colin Williams of KTM Bike Industries was in third.
Brownbacks Racing is ‘grassroots’ racing at its very best. And the p0cpac sponsored ‘Have-A-Go Heroes’ and ‘Heroines’ and the Ride On ‘Lads’ are what ‘grassroots’ racing is all about. Simon Hedley improved on his second place finish in the last round to win this genuinely competitive class (and gain promotion to the weekend warriors). Andrew Pressley in second matched Simon’s seven laps but couldn’t quite match his time. Kevin Daly managed six laps in third. Sarah Clegg of Stockport Clarion was the sole six-lapper in the ‘Have-A-Go- Heroines’. She won ahead of Donna Waring and Angela Dearing, both of whom completed five laps of the challenging course. The winners of the Have-a-goes getting an Odpod and the top riders in this category winning a “off road” p0cpac to keep sweat/ rain of their ride essentials.
Hope Factory Racing’s Bobbin Gardner’s six laps brought him top spot in the Ride-On ‘Lads’ category. He finished ahead of Ted Credie in second and Jake Gilfillan in third. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. These guys are the future and all in this class deserve huge congratulations.
So, that was Round 2 of the Hope XC Race Series. It was hot and it was hard work but the grimaces turned to grins at the post-race presentations as war stories were swapped and prizes awarded (in addition to the goodies from our wonderful sponsors for the racing classes, we hand out loads of spot prizes for everything from sporting riding to dazzling socks). Thanks go to the volunteers who provide the marshalling and manage the timing as none of this could have happened without them.
See you on Sunday the 8th of September 2013 for Round 3!
All photo credit: Daniel Cowell