Close racing was the order of the day at the Black Park XC event hosted by the West Drayton Mountain Bike club.
The course features a track that is pan flat and is a mixture of fire roads, some superb flowing sinewy single track with a couple of bomb holes on well drained surfaces which always results in fast and furious racing and this year was no different.
As always the youngsters started the racing off and set the precedent for close racing and in the Go Ape sponsored under 16s although Josh Parkin pulled out a gap for a comfortable win over second placed rider Harry Franklin the battle for third was the highlight of the category and was so close a photo finish would have been advantageous.
Elliott Phillips and Joe Broadhead went shoulder to shoulder round the last two corners and both lunged for the line like track sprinters and could only just be separated after 45 minutes of racing with the judges giving the final podium place to Phillips. In the girls race, regular Black Park winner Gretel Warner kept her winning streak up in convincing style.
The fun event which followed saw the first club win for the promoting club, Diane Kendal beating team mate Jackie Cole with Louise Brown taking third to prevent a clean sweep of the podium place for the West Drayton riders as Karen Sawkins took fourth.
In the men’s fun race the first couple of laps saw a real tussle between Tom Nye, Stuart Selwood and Simon Phillips as they continually swapped the lead but on the fourth lap Nye was able to ride clear to take victory by 14 seconds.
Jody Crawforth wins the elite/expert race
If the sports race had been exciting to watch the elite/expert race was even better with a group of five; Jody Crawforth, Simon Ernest, Ben Sumner, Scott Forbes and Steve James riding the technical singletrack at speeds most of the other riders could only dream of reaching.
Through the finish area each took it in turns to lead, first to loose the group was 2009 winner Scott Forbes now riding for On One as he got gapped with three laps remaining. Most people were now plumping for a win by Crawforth the winner in 2010 but as the group went through with one lap to go Steve James was looking strong and Forbes had found a second wind and had closed back to the group.
The last lap was run off at a blistering pace with Crawforth showing his class as he finally managed to open up a gap of 21 seconds over Ernest who was second with Sumner finishing 3rd and a disappointed James suffering a puncture wrecking his chances . In the women’s Expert race an ever smiling Jo Munden had an untroubled ride to take the honours with Caroline Goward taking the sports class.
London Single Sped championships
The event also featured a single speed race which included the London Single Sped championships, with a £150 cash prize courtesy of the bucks off road sportive, the event had attracted some names and from the off Neil Richardson and Matt Page were in a class of their own, Richardson lead throughout the race with some impressive pedalling rates on the fire roads but Page was just seconds behind and kept the pressure on all the way to the line, fourth across the line was Roy Sheppard but this was good enough to take the coveted title of London Single Speed champion and the large trophy that went with the title.
In the women’s single speed event Louise Robinson had a comfortable win as the ladies London title went to Abigail Armstrong who finished second with Ceri Donovan 3rd.
Thanks to the generosity of the sponsors The Specialized Concept Store-Ruislip, Beyond Mountain Bikes,RRP, The Feed Station, Go-Ape and Dave Walford all the prize winners were well rewarded for their efforts.