Southern XC Round 1, Checkendon: 5th place Junior

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.”

See all the results here, Will was in Junior Male

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