In a fitting end to the season, this weekend’s Autumn Classic headed back to Crowthorne Woods in Berkshire, where the Gorrick series was ‘born’ 17 years ago.
Despite grey skies and drizzle, the second round attracted nearly 500 riders, including lots of newcomers eager to try out racing for the first time.
The 4.5-mile course held up well, after several days of rain, with just the occasional deep puddle to keep riders on their toes. It combined some short, sharp uphill efforts with plenty of fast flowing singletrack and some fun technical sections.
In the Expert category, all eyes were on Jon Pybus and Gary Record, after the first Classic at Tunnel Hill where Record took the win. Over five long laps it was clear that Pybus was smarting after his defeat at the last race and determined to avoid a repeat. He put down the hammer early on to open up a big gap and went on to take the win with a comfortable margin, marking a return to form after a season out through injury.
Open & Sport
In the Open Men’s race, Ed Rose headed the 90-strong field to take the win ahead of Lloyd Curling and Ben Smith. Marc Chamberlain had a 48-second lead in the Sport category over Stuart Harvey and Martin Lenney.
In the Open Women’s race, 12 riders battled it out for top spot. That honour over two fast laps went to Kathy Beresford, with Pippa Alford and Cathy Thomas in hot pursuit. Rose’s team-mate Natasha Barry took another win for Progression Fitness in the Sport Women’s race ahead of Stephania Magri and Helen Major.
Natasha Barry on her way to top spot on the Sport Women podium
Masters and Vets
Despite a worthy challenge by Mark Hutt, Scott Forbes resplendent in his national champion jersey made short work of his four laps, taking the win in the Super Masters race. In the Super Vets, eventual winner John Smith had a harder battle on his hands. In the end, he beat rivals Lewis King and Daran Blackwell by just 59 seconds.
Ian Petherbridge had a tense battle with Clive Ely in the Grand Veterans. Over their three laps just a hair’s breadth separated them, with Petherbridge emerging victorious just 13 seconds ahead of Ely.
There was only one female Grand Vet, Viv Hazelton, but she gave it 100 percent and would have finished second behind Veteran Women winner Jacqueline Easton. In the Senior Veterans, Denis Boltwood took the win with a comfy margin of 85 seconds over runner-up Andy Smith.
Ian Petherbridge emerged victorious just 13 seconds ahead of Clive Ely in the Grand Vets
Youth, juvenile and beginners
Martin Turton made short work once again of his Youth race, taking a comfortable win ahead of Ben Hawker. Juvenile Joe Broadhead once again came home in top spot. Gretel Warner held off rival Sveva Marais to take the win in the Juvenile Women race. In the Beginners race, it was Anthony Ward who topped the podium after completing his lap in just under 29 minutes.
Nearly 100 riders took on the two-lap Fun race. Phil Wellard had the best start and managed to keep his lead despite a strong challenge by Duncan Coutts and Justin Radford. A mere 29 seconds separated the three at the end.
There was some stiff competition in the Juvenile category
For full results in all categories, visit www.gorrick.com.
The Gorrick Spring series starts on 17 January. If you don’t want to wait that long, the first round of the new Merida Brass Monkeys Enduro Winter Series is later this month. Check out www.gorrick.com or www.meridabrassmonkeys.com for more details.