Inter-Regional Mountain Bike Championships 2012 – Report by Lucy Grant

Written by  //  October 15, 2012  //  MTB, News, Uncategorized  //  No comments

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This year the inter-regional mountain bike champs were being held separate from the UK School Games and at the Olympic Venue in Essex. Scotland had entered 2 teams into it a North and a South. After the bar was set so high the previous year with Scotland South claiming first and Scotland North second, the pressure and competition was on. After a long drive everyone was glad to arrive at Hadleigh Farm. They were all in awe at seeing the Olympic circuit for the first time in real life. There were Olympic banners up everywhere and the sun was shining. Each team was allocated a place in the athletes village- Scotland North and South combined to form a “Scots Corner”, soon the flags and bunting were up marking their territory.

There were 4 races over the 3 days. The first event was the skills competition; this consisted of 7 European level skill sections. This was really important because it decided the gridding for the races to come. To start with there was water bottle squares, then plank traverse (skinnies) and then water bottle pick ups. This was followed by wheel lifts over logs and a slalom, in which you had to bunny hop around corners/poles. The last was a steep hill climb and the mini slalom time trial. Each section offered a total of 3 points depending on how far you cleared the progressively harder sections, with the final slalom time trial creating a tie breaker. Each rider went off individually. The silenced crowd made an intense atmosphere. As each rider rolled through each section the excitement grew as they counted up the points they were gaining. Everyone did extremely well and thoroughly enjoyed it. Liam McLaughlin did great coming third having only dropped 1 point and Lucy Grant scraped 1st by a mere 13 milliseconds. After the skills Scotland North were sitting with a comfortable lead in first while Scotland South sat in behind in second.

Into day 2 the sun was shining again and in the morning there was the dirt crit races split into heats, semi-finals and finals. Each race was 5 laps at 1 minute a lap. The course was directly below the athletes village so around the course the riders could hear the shouting and cheering from the team. Before each race as the riders were called forward intimidating heart beat like music was played. The riders had to stay focused though because the starts were so important. The races were super-fast, punchy and full of carnage!! In the afternoon there was the hill climb. This was an intense 2 and a half minutes long. This tested the riders to the limit as the hill was split into 3 sections, a steep drag, a short flat sprint and a steep switch back climb! The terrain was loose gravel, making line choice extremely important. The riders had to compete in heats and then finals.  At the end of the day Scotland North still had a lead over Scotland South who were in second.

Sunday was the final day and it held the XC. The riders were tired now from the previous two days of hard racing but they were excited to battle around some of the Olympic course. Having pre-rode the course the day before they all absolutely loved the course. There were a few main technical sections, which everyone managed to fly over; these were strung together by some steep climbs, fast descents and rock gardens. The course flowed really well and the riders were lapping in just over 10 minutes. Almost all of the way around the course they could hear the awesome, enthusiastic commentary which was being done by Tim Buckle. This made the race so different from any other one they had done before, not only could they see where everyone else was due to the exposed hill side but they were also getting time checks of how far away the leader was.

Throughout the weekend there had been an ongoing battle between the teams, although the “Scottish Mafia” (as they were constantly referred to) had been dominating. Scotland North and Scotland South took first and second places respectively after the first skills competition and Scotland North managed to sustain first place throughout. However, Scotland South suffered more than their fair share of crashes and mechanicals that saw them losing and regaining second spot. There was all to play for right up to the very last race, but luck was not on their side and broken SRAM had the last say; Scotland South had to settle for third spot on the podium.

The atmosphere of the whole weekend was just amazing and the set-up, event and course were awesome! Everyone had a great time and learnt a lot. A huge thank you to the Coaches and Team Managers who took them, looked after them and kept them all motivated throughout the weekend.

Teams:


North

Coach- Steve Field
Manager- Rachel Henderson

Calum Russel Erica Allen
Liam McLaughlin Ella Conolly
Mark McGuire Katie Allen
Lewis Champion Elena Melton


South

Coach- Iain Grant
Manager- Miranda Balfour

Ben Forsyth Eve Hanlon-Cole
Francis Webb Emma Borthwick
Harry Johnston Isla Short
Bryan Moodie Lucy Grant

Edit from Miranda:
Lucy is too modest to continue giving individual results past the Skills Competition. Basically she came first in every single race, and that wasn’t just scraping in ahead, it was MILES ahead! The ‘super fast, punchy racing’ suited her and she was in a league of her own. Eve from PCC also represented Scotland South and put in a phenomenally powerful performance and Isla (2nd claim PCC) likewise. If Calum Magowan had been able to join the team, as he should have, there would have been 50% representation in the Scotland South team by PCC members!

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