After the Christmas break the MDCC cross riders took to the national stage on Saturday, competing in the National Championships held in Abergavenny. At this time of year, with the number of riders taking part, muddy conditions were guaranteed. So equipped with spare bikes, mud tyres and lots of extra clothing, the team made an early start to arrive to pre-ride the course before competition began.
Up first were Alison Hooper and Nicky Quant competing in the Female Veteran category. Alison has put in a couple of strong performances so far this year in National events, but this time round was riding with an injury and resulting time off the bike. She put in a quick start but was slowly slipping down the field as the race progressed. Hopes then fell on Nicky’s shoulders, who overhauled Alison, then continued to gain places back, to finish a creditable 8th in the 45-49 age group. Alison came in 7th in the 40-44 group. Both riders will have picked up valuable experience for the next race.
Robin Delve was looking to improve on his silver medal in the veteran 55-59 age group he’d achieved last year. Unfortunately, bad luck plagued his race. Sometimes the smooth and fast race you planned just eludes you, and so it was for Robin. A couple of crashes in the mud, remounting when he should of been running etc., lead Robin to use his fast final lap to make third place this year. Still a place on the podium though!
Finally, the veteran 40-49 race took place in the afternoon. The sun and wind had dried out the course, so there was grip in many of the tight corners. Andrew Parker and Alan Drury were representing the Mid Devon, though Alan was still overcoming the Christmas flu, so building up to the final round of the South West Series was more on his mind. Andrew, however, had a cunning plan! He had amassed a good tally of ranking points to place himself well up on the starting grid.
Straight from the gun Andrew made a fast start. The course was wide and tarmac here, so this allowed him to get close to the top ten. Sitting comfortably at the front of the field he was able to keep up with the leaders. But now things started to go wrong. In a replay of the Milton Keynes round, problems in the form of a broken chain forced Andrew to shoulder his bike and run to the pits for his spare. This must have been a good third of the course, Alan was surprised to see Andrew fly past on his new bike only minutes after seeing him running. What could’ve been we’ll never know, but Andrew managed to finish in 10th place in the 40-44 age group. Alan came in 34th, happy to have been part of a great event.
The South West cross season wraps up for 2014 – 2015 next Sunday, in Central Park Plymouth (Click here for details.). Many MDCC riders will be racing and some will be fighting for podium placings in the overall series, why not come along and give your support?