The third round of Southern XC series moves to the New Forest to a new
venue for this series. Pre-entries have now closed but there are still
plenty of places available for those wishing to enter on the day. There is
a real buzz about the new venue and some riders have been talking about
not wanting to miss this one, others are keen to return as they raced here
back in the 90s. There is camping on site if you wish to stay Saturday
night and get an early practice lap in on Sunday, the weather forecast
looks great with lots of sunshine.
We are keen to see racing return to the New Forest and particularly this
venue which has not been used for mtb racing for many years. The Wessex
Cyclo Cross League still hold races here and we have utilised the best of
their courses and extended it into two other enclosures to provide three
distinct sections with their own character. The sections are linked by
farm tracks where you can have a breather, take a drink or pass slower
The start is a nice wide climb up a farm track before diving into the top
wood where it gets technical from the start. This wood is the main feature
of the course with lots of short steep hills with technical descents and
bridges over streams. The course leaves the wood briefly after a tough
climb and runs right up to the arena. There are some nice established
flowing single tracks and even a bermed downhill plus some drop-offs.
There are a couple of switchback climbs to test you then a bomb hole
before one final hard pack fast climb before crossing the entrance track
into the second wood.
This is a pine plantation and the course skirts the wood around the camp
site on mostly established and some new paths plus a stream crossing, no
bridge this time though! It is all gradual descending and will be fast if
dry. Then it’s out onto the farm track again slightly downhill and just time to grab a drink before it darts over the ditch for a short excursion into the trees. Then it’s out again before entering the final wood section, it’s very slightly uphill and the course twists and turns through the Rhododendrons. Then it is out onto a farm track again leading onto the start field for the climb to the finish.
The course is nearly 5 miles and if it stays dry we estimate around 24
minutes a lap for a fast Master or Expert. This has the potential to be a
great venue and is a welcome addition to the calendar. With camping on
site, flushing toilets and running water why not come and make the weekend
of it. Experienced local riders Darren Shepherd, Mike Radbourne, Ken
Farwell, Garrett Hill & Jeff Spetch have been busy preparing the course
and we think it will be very popular. It has been described as having a
bit of Checkendon, Bordon and Surrey Hill so it must be good, plus it’s
centred on a hill overlooking the New Forest National Park.
Team SXC also require marshals on the day and will offer anyone helping a
free race entry and lunch. If you are racing why not spend the other half
of the day helping out but still watching the other races – contact Steve Jones.