Specialized UK's Jody Crawforth powered to the elite win in the What Mountain Bike Dirt Crit Champs powered by Rose Bikes yesterday, capitalising after two of the race's early leaders punctured.
Crawforth built up such a strong lead on the tight, loose 1km course at BikeRadar Live after first Paul Oldham (Hope) and then Oli Beckinsale (Giant) flatted that it looked like he had the 12-lap race in the bag. And so it proved.
He eventually crossed the line in 00:37:52. Nick Craig (Scott) came home second, 41 seconds behind, and third place went to Whyte Bikes' Billy Whenman (although a timing mixup meant Rourke Croeser took his place on the podium), another 50 seconds back.
Cross-country veteran Nick Craig, 41, proved he can still cut it with the young guns
Whyte's Billy Whenman fought hard for third place
"It was hot and dusty, and quite hard work," said Crawforth. "The course was a bit tighter than I was expecting. It's tough when you're going at full race pace; because the climbs are really loose, you can't really put the power down.
"I was comfortable for the first few laps and Paul was in the lead and he punctured. Oli's a really fast rider but I was determined to hang in there and then he punctured too, and that gifted me the victory. I had a bit of luck come my way this time."
A puncture ruined Oli Beckinsale's race, but he picked up £100 for being the lap 4 leader
Conspicuous among the 25-strong elite field was multiple BMX, four-cross and dual slalom world champion Brian Lopes, riding his Ibis Tranny four-cross bike on flat pedals and in baggy shorts. After a strong start he finished eighth.
Also in the mix was BikeRadar product tester Guy Kesteven, proving that he has the bike handling skills and fitness to back up his writing prowess. He finished a creditable 15th on his Santa Cruz Tallboy test bike – watch out for a review on BikeRadar soon!
Brian Lopes proved he can cut it at cross-country, finishing eighth in the elites
BikeRadar's Guy Kesteven finished a creditable 15th
The elite women's race saw a battle for first place between Lily Mathews (100% Me) and Cait Elliot (WXC Racing) after early leader Annie Last (100% me) punctured, with the former eventually claiming victory. Third place went to Maddie Horton (Team Certini).
Of course, it wasn't just the elites who were racing in the Dirt Crit Champs – there were categories for riders aged eight and upwards and there was plenty of cross-country action going on in the What Mountain Bike Hot Laps too. There'll be a full report on all the cross-country racing at BikeRadar Live in issue 113 of What Mountain Bike magazine.
Women's podium (L-R): Cait Elliot, Lily Mathews and Maddie Horton
Perhaps the biggest winner on the day was Andy Bishop, who won a £1,500 bike from race sponsors Rose after his race number was pulled out of a hat. "When my mate told me I'd won a bike I thought he was winding me up," he said. "I'd had a really good day and that put the icing on the cake."
Rose's Andy Mayne, who handed out £3,000 worth of prizes in total, said: "What a race! Great weather and great riders hammering away on a super-fast spectator-friendly course! Being a family run company ourselves, it was brilliant to see so many parents and children taking part, never mind the number of elite riders who turned up. Rose were really pleased to support the inaugural What Mountain Bike Dirt Crit Champs and it's certainly something we'd like to continue to support."
Andy Bishop won a £1,500 bike from Andy Mayne of Rose Bikes
Unfortunately, some errors have cropped up in the results of the cross-country racing. If you spot any mistakes, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Mountain Bike Dirt Crit Champs powered by Rose Bikes
|Position||Race #||Name||Chip Time||Laps|
|Pro elite men|
|Pro elite women|
|Veteran men (40+)|
|Veteran women (40+)|
|Sport men (18+)|
|12||126||R S Matthews||00:31:57||7|
|Sport women (18+)|
|Sport men (15-17)|
What Mountain Bike Hot Laps
|38||457||M Sw Tinay||M||06:43.00|
Team Darenth had a strong showing in the junior categories and walked away with a spot prize of a pair of wheels as well as numerous podium places