It’s Friday and it’s Summer (really!) so it must be race time. First fast blast on the Pegasus, first checkout of 1×9 at 32 teeth. Crossmark Tyres.
How cold! I’ve neve seen so many shivering racers on the start line of one of these, Borough Hill is pretty exposed which didn’t help. The start into the wind was pretty manic, just too crowded to get with the leaders but I was pleased to find I didn’t run out of gears.
At the dive into the woods I was probably about 7th, then we hit the slower seniors and it got messy. Being patient I followed MIke Winters/Welland Valley and after the climb up the hill and over the line for lap 1 then moved past several riders. I could see a Treads shirt dissapearing ahead with Smiffy, Ashby was long gone in the lead.
Working through the backmarkers I finally clawed back to the Treads shirt which was Steven Moore. I must have got 20 seconds back in a lap, but did that mean Icould pull away! I looked behind, nobody coming so I went for the recovery option of following. It was clear we would never catch Smiffy and this was our battle for the last poduim step.
Through the woods Steve was good, no chance in me getting away here on the last lap, but he took the low line through the swamp (the only wet section all lap) while I had a faster line on the top left side. I eased up so as not to show my advantage. I now had my last lap plan formulated, to attack with only the hill left to the line.
Last lap was called early as the light was fading fast, and we then caught hard charging Pete Harris. Steve settled in behind him and we headed to the woods in convoy. I know Pete is as good a bike handler as me having fought him for the championship (and lost) several years ago, but I didn’t want to be the last man in the overtaking back markers game in the woods.
So into the woods I attacked, flew past them both. Last of the late brakers and slewed into the pitch darkness, like entering a tunnel with no lights. Eyes adjusted I then put down the hammer, tyres gripping superbly and only a few slower riders it seemed like I had a gap. As expected Pete was tricky to get by and that combined with an almost clear fast run to the hill was enough to ensure 3rd. Only by 5 seconds though! Superb, my third podium of the year and one of my seasons goals attained in the first round to boot. Bring it on!
1st Paul Ashby 48:15
2nd Smiffy 51:36
3rd Burlycross 53:16
4th Steven Moore 53:21
5th Mike Winters 55:10