What with all this talk of foreign races from the AW Team, i feel like i should “continentalise” the Eastern MTB Champs. So here we are.
The first incarnation of the Eastern Champs in several years was run at Codham Park, and amazing little venue that has been so supportive of BMX and trials for years, encouraged by the super-enthusiastic family who live there. The whole place is basically like a giant play park designed around bikes, and i spotted at least two generations riding around on various forms of motorised transport over the course of the day. The course was a step up for the Easterns, but perhaps not yet worthy of a “championship” event; it still had some changes of elevation, and some trickier sections that required concentration, including a great motocross circuit. The strong wind and a couple of draggy little climbs did make some parts extremely heavy going however.
The Eastern races have been a case of many laps of a short course, but the champs had a lap of 20mins in length. Unfortunately, the commissaire decided that the race for the Elite/Expert cat should stay at 7laps, just as the sun came out to dry the remaining wet sections of the course. Since Rachel and I were racing at the same time, i was without a bottler, so had to make do with two 750ml bottle for the whole race, which lasted a full 2hrs30m for me.
On the start line we were called up after the leaders of the “racer” category had been gridded, which meant that most of the contenders for the elite win were stuck on the third row, a slightly strange approach, but it obviously didn’t impede Andrew Cockburn who went on to take a fine win nearly ten minutes ahead of his nearest competition. I got embroiled in an early battle with perennial competition James Hampshire and a couple of locals i didn’t recognise. Having been buzzed repeatedly by one chap, James and i hit the front, but as has become a regular fixture, he pulled away from me mid-race, leaving me to plough a lonely furrow. In the final lap, i lost my remaining company, and rode along to finish 4th of the Eastern riders.
Results: Eastern Champs
1st Andrew Cockburn (Cambridge CC)
2nd Trevor Allen (Ergon-24)
3rd Paul Beales (Orange Monkey)
4th Chris Pedder (AW Cycles)