WILL'S THE CHAMP
Sunday, September 21, 2003 11.00pm
Helen Gaskell too. Peaty's in pot for 6 weeks
It didn't rain, it blew plenty, but in the end Dan Atherton's course produced some good racing and a deserving winner in Will Longden (MBUK/SCOTT) his first National Title since 1995. Better still, in the final, he beat Fabian Barel into third place. Crawford Carrick-Anderson won the last race, which pleased most everyone.
Helen Gaskell (Halfords/Bike Hut) is Women's Champion, which confirms her at the top table in British downhill, despite the fact that Tracy Moseley and Ffionn Griffiths did most of their racing in the States this year.
Tracy won the final race, with Helen second and Vanessa Quinn third.
Meanwhile, Steve Peat, who crashed his monkey bike, had more than a chunk taken out of his leg, as we reported yesterday. The poor sod's in Wrexham hospital following an operation to have a tendon re-attached, and will be in plaster for six weeks.
Bit of a bummer with his MX day scheduled for next weekend.
We've said get well soon Peaty so many times this season I think we'll take it as read.
For full results browser over to: http://www.cambrian-timing.co.uk
Main pics: Overall series winners Will and Helen, with final race winners, Tracy and Crawford.
Pic 1: Dan Atherton's new course shows the way ahead for British Racing - the riders must get more involved.
Previous reports: Will Longden (MBUK/SCOTT) must still be favourite to win the National Series, but finishing 6th in qualifying gives him lots to do. In the women's, Helen Gaskell (Halford's/BikeHut) qualified 2nd and looks favourite if all goes OK tomorrow.
Meanwhile Steve Peat took a great chunk out of his leg messing around on a Monkey Bike and has been taken to hospital. Best guess is that he won't race tomorrow, but knowing Peaty's courage and sheer obstinacy, we wouldn't bet on that.
Fabian Barel, (qualifying 1st), Marc Beaumont (qualifying 3rd), Dave Wardell,(qualifying 4th), and Gee Atherton (qualifying 7th),are the main threats to Will (qualifying 6th).
We'd just like to say to Fabian: "You're French, go home!" We'd like to, but we can't because he's such a nice guy.Damn!
So Will has plenty to do. Helen, on the other hand, can only be caught by Vanessa Quinn. Tracy Moseley qualified first, but she has been racing in the States most of the season and is well back on points.
It's one of those damp Welsh weekends and the course, which was wonderfully fast when we previewed it in June, is a tad slippery. British riders are moaning that it's wet, grassy and off camber. Which is exactly what they were moaning about at the World Cup final round. Come on guys, we used to be good at wet off camber courses!
To be fair, while there are tyres which can deal with mud or almost anything else, no tyre in the world can be much help on wet grass.
Down to skill then!
We'll see who has the most tomorrow.
Previous reports: If you can get to Oswestry this weekend, be there. It's the fifth and final round of the GIANT National Points Series Downhill at Gyrn Moelfre, close by.
This is a new course, discovered and designed by Elite rider Dan Atherton and previewed by Dan, Gee and Rob Warner in the current MBUK. With a 1000 ft drop over its mile and a bit length it looks like a good one. It's also very different to that used in previous rounds as it is mostly open moorland, with scree slopes and only a few trees near the bottom.
So good spectating too. And there should be plenty to watch.
MBUK/SCOTT rider Will Longden is the clear favourite to take the Elite Men's title, he has 202 points, 21 ahead of nearest rival Marc Beaumont, with the Atherton brothers next (and before anyone asks they haven't ridden this new track in its final state yet either!)
It's been half a dozen years since the hard man won a National Championship and he can use all the support on offer. Remember hard is often brittle, so can Will hold it all together and claim the top spot?
Rob Warner needs a good ride like he needs Oxygen and Steve Peat is going to want to show he's still way off the front.
In the women's race, Halfords Bikehut Azonic's Helen Gaskell holds an equally commanding lead in the Elite category. Her 201 points is 24 more than her nearest challenger, New Zealander Vanessa Quinn. Making a return to the series after winning rounds one and two, then racing in the states for the remainder of the summer is Team Kona Clarks Tracy Moseley who has plenty to prove after Sabrina Jonnier nicked the World Cup place Tracy had been nursing for so long.
Lee Pincher is a coming name in Youth and the youth pack is well worth watching with Brendan Fairclough and Mike Strickland on his butt.
Want to be a marshal for the event? Call NPS HQ on 0870 8000 234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Full series scores, maps to the venue and pictures of the course can be found here
Nice course Dan's sorted out. Why not join him on the hill?
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