Last weekend saw round three of the NPS series, held in the Welsh hills in the village of Moelfre near Oswestry.
Finally the sun came out on the race season after months of spiked tyres and waterproofs. After great results in the past from the team at this venue, hopes were high and we were all in a confident mood for race day.
The track is a two and a half minute flat out dash across open fields and off-camber moorland separated by a steep hillside of switchbacks, where riders pushed hard to inch out an advantage over their competitors. The finish area was a popular spot for spectators, who witnessed high speed and high flying antics from the all the best riders.
Mistakes on this fast track were costly with times so tight among the elite riders. After great qualifying runs Neil [Donoghue] and myself fell foul to the dusty slippy conditions making small mistakes which pushed us down the order to 8th and 13th respectively. Luckily, Marc's mistakes came for him in practice and qualifying, saving a perfect run for the final and taking first place ahead of Dan Atherton and Frenchman Julien Camelini.
Marc said after the race, "After some mixed results so far in the NPS series, I was well up for getting my title defence back on track. Confident I could beat the rest on the track I won my first National Championships on last season, I headed up for some practice.
"After a couple of good warm up runs I pushed pretty hard and took a fall, nothing serious but a sign I was pushing myself to try and get every second I could out of the switchbacks on the track, on the fast open track this was one of few places to make up time on the other riders.
"In qualifying on Saturday I had a smooth run, made a mistake in the last slippy grass corner and ran wide, I lost a little bit of time but was still 3rd behind Moelfre locals Gee and Dan Atherton.
"Soon enough it was Sunday's race which went exactly as I'd hoped, I managed to go 6 seconds faster than my qualifying time and took the win by 1.4 seconds. I'm really pleased to win here and now as we head towards Caersws NPS and world's at Fort William, it gives me great confidence to know I'm coming into top form."
For the race report and results click here.