Gorrick racing entered 2006 with a bang, as nearly 500 riders turned out to ride 4.5 miles of dry singletrack under sun-drenched skies. It really did seem like summer again on a lap which took in some rooty twists and turns before heading toward some high speed loamy singletrack and short climbs. You certainly couldn’t say this was a course for the roadies!
Thanks to series sponsors Exodus Holidays, Ian Petherbridge walked away with £600 toward a biking break in Turkey and all for just turning up to ride.
First race winner of the day was Luke Gray (Dorset Rough Riders), who dominated the Juvenile category. Hot on his heels was Youth winner Michael Butler (VC Deal), picking up his inaugural number one of 2006. All of the usual faces were out in the Super Masters, Lloyd Bettles (Numplumz) finally pulling clear of Mark Hutt (AW Cycles) after a race long battle. Darren Shepherd (Tri UK) fought back from the back of the pack and took a superb third.
Matt Carter (Epping Hard Cru) took to the front of the Masters field and never looked back, winning the race in style ahead of Ben Loaker (Numplumz) and Nigel Grantham (PedalOn). In the Veterans it was the usual story – Roland Tilley (Ride Cycleworks) to the front, race win in the bag. Steve Jones (AW Cycles) did his best to match the pace, but one lap was enough and second seemed a good result. Bren Divall (Brixton Cycles) took the final podium place.
Last year Grand Vet Norman Butler (BikeGuatemala.com) seemed unbeatable, but today he could only manage second. Ray Crossthwaite (PedalOn.com) decided it was his turn to win in style, by over a minute. The Open race saw the biggest field of the day, with over 100 riders cramming the line, and then some! Despite telling me pre-race that he was going to cruise round with junior development riders, the occasion obviously went to Rob Lee’s head. He did what comes naturally, riding away into the sun, resplendent in world champs jersey, and winning by a few minutes. Young Jake Moxham (Dysons Cycles) made many riders look elderly as he rode into second, ahead of Lee Imrie (Beyond Mountain Bikes).
With the departure of several riders, the Sport field underwent something of a revamp, with a number of new faces in the field. Youth overcame experience in the race, with the top four finishers all under 18! Jay Spetch (Torq Bar) took the win, with National Youth Cyclo-Cross Champion Alex Paton (VC Deal/Activ) second. Shaun Hurrell (Glendene CC/Biketrax) was third and Lewis Marsh (InterBike RT) fourth.
The Elite/Expert race saw several stages of selection on a course that took its toll on a few riders. First Jamie Newall (Evans Cycles) Mark Russell (Torq Bar) and Jon Webb (JustRidingAlong.com) blew out come lap three, leaving Rob Smart (Guernsey Velo) Chris Minter (PedalOn) and John Veness (Kona). Veness showed his experience and pulled away on the final lap from the tiring Minter, second and Smart, third.
The women’s races were also spectacularly attended. It was great to see competitive fields with real racing going on throughout. Rebecca Webb (JustRidingAlong.com) took the Elite win, with Elizabeth Foot doing the same in Sport. Viv Hazelton continued her great form winning Open, Cam Brown (PedalOn) finished first in the Master/Veteran and Helen Antram cleaned up in Super Masters.
With such a high turnout the series is shaping up to be a cracker – make sure you come on down to Crowthorne in three weeks time to sample some more of what makes Gorrick great.