Round four of the Gorrick Exodus Spring Series took place on 3 April under blazing sunshine on some of the finest trails known to man at a new Deepcut venue.
Fast, dry fire road led the competitors into the first of the day’s many steep and loose climbs, before some super fast singletrack followed by some slower, more technical sections. Riders had to dodge low trees, hop a large kerb and negotiate rooty singletrack punctuated by some steep bombholes. All of this packed into a 5.2mile loop meant everyone was tested to the limit, both physically and technically.
Jake Moxham (Dysons Cycles) came from behind to win the Youth race, all change from lap one, when Tom Smart (Activ/VC Deal) led, only to be taken by both Moxham and second-placed Matt Hill (Primera). Moxham leads the series by just two points from Hill, who is another two points ahead of Jay Spetch. With standings this close expect an exciting showdown at the final round!
Determination paid dividends for Simon Willats (Ride Cycleworks) in the Super Masters as he fought his way from 16th on lap one up to second at the line. He was only beaten by series leader Darren Shepherd (Tri UK) and followed by team-mate Mark Chadbourne.
Rob Lee (Extreme Endurance) took his third successive Masters race, leading from the front and never getting caught. Lloyd Bettles (Numplumz.com) finished in second, keeping him in the title race with Rick Featherson (Mosquito) third. Lee also managed the fastest lap of 24.15 in this race, bagging himself £50 courtesy of www.bumpybikes.com
The Veteran category has not been dominated by any rider in 2005, which has led to exciting racing all series. Today, Roland Tilley (Ride Cycleworks) shook off a determined Dave Nelson (Beyond Mountain Bikes). Third place went to Garry Clark (Evans Cycles).
Norman Butler (BikeGuatemala.com) made a clean sweep in the Grand Veterans winning his fourth race and the series in style. Dave McMullen (Evans Cycles) was second and Michael Thyer (Beyond Mountain Bikes) third.
The Open race saw riders battling for position from the gun. With Rob Lee (Extreme Endurance) chasing his second win of the day the front runners were keen to keep him in sight. Top junior rider Rob Whenman (Corridori) was hard on Lee’s case but didn’t have to worry as a puncture saw Lee out of contention, leaving him in seventh place. Whenman went on to take the victory in this thrilling race, ahead of Alex Darby (Rigid Not Frigid) and Steven Richards (VC Muedon) who were second and third respectively.
George Budd wrapped up the Sport title in style, riding into clear air and catching the Expert/Elite field with a lap to go. Next round he will be stepping up a category, promising another close Expert/Elite race. Chris Lane finished four minutes off the pace in second, with Gerald Tudor (Robin Cycles) third.
With no John Veness in the Expert/Elite category the race was for the taking. Jamie Newall (Evans Cycles) took to the front of the field with Adrian Lansley (PedalOn) and when Lee Williams (Cycle Inn) and Richard Wood (Extreme Endurance) joined the party it was time to race. Newall heckled the duo new to the quartet, asking: “Have we got a couple of passengers back there?!” But Wood was more than a passenger and wasn’t ready for a bumpy ride! He took Newall on, sticking 45 seconds into him on the final lap and proving that the Spring Series is far from over, after getting a points promotion to second.
In the women’s Expert/Elite race Jenn O’Connor (Specialized) had to push hard to fend off team-mate Kate Potter, but after four laps she proved she was the best, taking the spring series and her unbeaten record to four wins in the process. Sophie Johnson (Raleigh/ERV) took the last podium placing.
Elsewhere in the women’s races Katherine Hibberd (Poshbikes.com) won Sport, Deborah Wilkins (Nationwide CC) finished first in the Super Masters and Anita Hibberd (Berks On Bikes) won both the Master/Veteran race and series. Finally, 14 women lined up for the Open race which was won convincingly by Hannah Reynolds (Evans Cycles).
Gary Kite was lucky enough to be drawn from the hat and won the Exodus holiday prize and will soon be jetting off to Spain where he can enjoy the Picos singletrack.
With four races down there’s just one to go in the Exodus Spring Series. Some of the titles have been decided, but many will go to the wire. With twists in the Expert/Elite, Open and Youth series sure to come, round five is not to be missed.