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Soggy Bottom – Round 4

The Plymouth XC series doesn’t always live up to its name, but on this occasion it certainly did, and more…

The name of this winter series in Plymouth, Devon, always raises a smile on people’s faces. But it’s called this for a reason – the Newnham course very often turns into a quagmire, turning climbs into unrideable mountains, drivetrains into useless mud collecting devices, and smiles into hard earned grimaces.

It’s always good fun racing through conditions such as these, if you’ve got the right attitude, and the fourth round was no exception. Since its birth a couple of years ago, the Soggy Bottom has grown in popularity, attracting a lot of riders from the Devon and Cornwall area, with riders even travelling down from Bristol, reflecting the undying interest in XC racing. Where the Soggy Bottom scores is on its great course, one of the best on the calendar and a firm BM favourite – you always know you’ll have fun when heading to Newnham.

Gary Jennings, riding for Shredordead.cc and finishing 5th in the Masters, describes the course: ‘It was very much a matter of opposites, a large chunk of it being gravel double track before venturing into the woods for some very slimy singletrack. The highlight of the lap was to be the inclusion of the DH course from a few weeks back but ‘mellowed’. Alas after being ravaged by long travel, spiked tyre rigs and the subsequent rain fall it was a real mess. The upper section was slow but manageable but the lower off camber ‘mineshaft’ section was barely passable and the mellowing? Err… that would the uphill off camber bit through the narrow trees then. Cyclo-cross trotting was probably the fastest if your studs were long enough but I hate pushing downhill so sort of rode most of it. Two river crossings at least rinsed everything off to limit the dreaded nine speed skip.’

There was a good spread of riders in all the categories, and to summarise on the category wins; Peter Robinson won the Juvenile race, Guy Wilkins the Youth, Jake Curant in the Fun, Peter Hawkins in the Experts, Paul Robertson in the Sport, Johnathan Dominguez ruled the Masters, Carl Ward the Vets, David Hamilton Grand Vet, James Bovey the Open Men, Jodi Vickery the Expert Women, Ali Northcott in the Sport Women, Louise Burton the Masters Women, and finally, Sam Cann came first in the Vet Womens. Phew…

The final round is on the 9 April, at you guessed, Newnham Park. Some of the BM team might even make an appearance…

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