Fine weather and perfect conditions on the singletrack-rich Thetford course made for a cracking opener to the delayed National Points series this weekend.
Here’s the race report from Team Diamond Back, who obviously haven’t been sat on their butts while the trails are shut, over to Diamond Back Team manager Gary Coltman…
Thetford Forest, Norfolk, provided fine weather for the third year in succession, and Clarke rubber-stamped his approval of the course and conditions in much the same style of that of the last two years.
The action was fast and furious from the off with a select group of three quickly forming at the front containing Clarke, team-mate and National Champion Nick Craig and arch rival Oli Beckinsale (Scott). Diamondback’s Elliot Baxter was among the riders desperately trying to get on terms with the leaders, but this would prove an unachievable task as they hammered around the seven mile course with the prospect of victory firmly on all three’s mind. In a carbon copy of the previous years events Clarke attacked with just over 2 laps of the 5 laps race remaining and quickly opened up a 45 second lead – which he firmly held on to for a convincing victory and the leaders yellow jersey.
With Clarke well on his way to victory, Craig attacked Beckinsale hard to take the runner-up spot and make it a fine 1-2 for the Diamondback Squad. Behind the top three, the racing was equally close and exciting with positions constantly changing. Elliot Baxter was firmly among the action and although fading a little on the last lap still finished creditably inside the top ten.
Farmer and Amour make top 10
One week prior to Clarke’s victory, the Downhill series got off to a delayed but welcomed start at the much loved venue of Fort William. There were no surprises with the result as World Number 2 Steve Peat (GT) continued where he left off last year by winning in convincing fashion. With all of the country’spremier riders attending, the top ten finishers was a true who’s who in British downhilling with the exception of one French visitor and Diamondback Pro, Karim Amour who finished in a fine 7th place. Amour who shall be competing in all the major UK events, was followed closely by British team-mate Matt Farmer in a respectable 9th place.
Cross-country action is next on the agenda as round 2 of the National Series takes place at Newnham Park, Plymouth on June 3rd. Clarke will be out to retain his yellow jersey and Craig will be out to collect his first win of the series. With all of the country’s best lining up on a superb course that has seen many World Cup rounds take place, it’s sure to classic.