Here’s Will’s race report.
“The week leading up to the race had been fantastic weather, all the trails where bound to be fast, dusty and grippy, that was until Saturday, when after a week of great weather it decided to rain – the day before the race. Thankfully the weather was better on the Sunday, however the rain had made the Checkendon course pretty slippy, with some sections getting a bit boggy.
After a quick practice lap it was clear, this was a course for a 29er! The fast open sections were practically made for the big wheels and even in the tight single track the added grip on the greasy ground was a right bonus! Thankfully I was in luck, since I was riding theWhyte 29er C.
After milling around the start line for a while we were gridded, I was 5th on the first row, as it was based on last season’s series standings. After a very fast start it was into the single track, which required full concentration from the offset. I was sitting in 5th, however after a comical slip I lost touch with 3rd and 4th place. For the remainder of the first lap I rode on my own, around 100metres away from the people in front of me, unfortunately the exposed course meant I struggled to close the gap on them and completely lost touch with them in the early stages of the second lap.
Throughout the next two laps I rode on my own, I was unsure how far ahead the next person was, but I did know I had a sizable gap on the people behind me. In the final section of single track I spotted 4th place, he looked shattered and before I had even thought about it I darted past him. This was a mistake, as we reached the final straight on a field he was right on my wheel, until the last 20 metres when he beat me to the line by just over a wheel length. In hind sight I should have waited, and allowed him to lead me out, instead of my hasty decision causing me to lead him out perfectly.
However I was satisfied with 5th, a good start to the series and season. As well as this it turned out to be an enjoyable day, with a fantastic course providing some interesting racing.”