After another week of wet winter weather many expected round 1 of the Southern XC series to be a muddy mess but what the organisers had prepared was a real treat. Matterley Basin was the venue for the 2012 British Motocross Grand Prix and a brand new MTB course was developed for the series. Mountain Trax – Vauxhall Motors Cycling Team were keen to put on a good showing despite being mid way through their final big training weeks ahead of the 9 day stage race, Joberg2c, later in the month.
After an easy drive to the venue, race sign-on revealed there were some strong riders in attendance, including the multiple National Championship winning rider Oli Beckingsale and Ade Lansley who has achieved many top results nationally over the years. After missing his pedal off the start line Ben was left at the back of the field and with work to do but he used the long start climb to overtake almost the entire field slotting himself just behind Oli and Ade as they entered the first section of singletrack. The three riders quickly established a lead, working together to share the effort through the strong headwind. Ben was making the singletrack look easy helped no doubt by his full-suspension Scott Spark. On the second of the long climbs Oli pushed the pace and Ben was the only rider to respond.
Here’s Ben’s run down of the race, “After Oli put the hammer down I went with him for a while but the pace wasn’t sustainable for myself, maybe on a flatter track I’d have stayed with him but Oli’s a proper mountain goat. After I eased up Ade and myself worked together for a few laps to build up a big gap over 4th place. I used the Rocket Ron tyres again today and they were fantastic through the greasy mud. It was just a waiting game to see which of us would make a big effort to drop the other. Ade was riding really well but I could see on the shorter climbs I was stronger.”
Ade and Ben matched each other wheel for wheel until the very last climb where Ben made that big effort and gapped Ade into the last bit of singletrack before crossing the finish line. “It feels good to have a decent ride here and stand on the podium, it been a good couple of weeks.”