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UK Premier MTB Series #3 - E2
Thetford Forest, UK, June 12, 2005
Craig and Copnall tame Thetford
The third round of the Premier Mountain Bike series took competitors to the Brecklands of Suffolk and Thetford Forest. Although pretty much pan-flat, this venue has a reputation for producing superb racing and once again the forestry tracks and fire-roads saw Britain's best cross-country riders produce some thrilling battles.
The Elite races went to Nick Craig and Jenny Copnall who won in contrasting fashion. Nick found himself embroiled in a race-long battle whilst Jenny was able to get away from the rest of the field early in her race.
The Elite Men's race got off to a blistering start, with Adrian Lansley - a real force this season - setting the early pace. He was at the head of a group, which included series' leader and rider of the season so far, Oli Beckingsale, Ian Wilkinson, Stuart Bowers, Nick Craig and Dave Collins. These riders featured at the head of the race pretty much throughout, with constant splits and re-groupings adding to the interest.
Scott team-mates Craig, Beckingsale and Collins were able to exert increasing pressure on their opponents in the latter stages and finally Nick was able to win himself a little breathing space on the last lap and claim the win from Stuart Bowers, with Adrian Lansley third and Oli Beckingsale fourth.
The Elite Women's racing this year has been the closest in living memory, which made Jenny Copnall's first lap move which got her clear of the rest of the field all the more impressive. Behind her the other riders battled hard, but until the last lap they were losing ground on Jenny all the time. Jenny did finally begin to tire on the last lap of four, but by then she had done enough to secure the win, her first in the National Series this year. Jenn O'Conner continued her excellent season finishing second, whilst Hazel Wakefiled was third.
Earlier in the Day, Alex Atkins took a brilliant win in a fast and tightly contested Junior Men's race. It wasn't a race where he could have expected to dominate - his strength probably being his climbing - but his main rival for the season, Ireland's Andy McCullogh crashed on the last lap, handing the race to Atkins.
Another race which really caught fire was the Master men's event. Geoff Beetham, unbeaten in the series this year found himself under intense pressure from Ben Dale and Paul Hopkins. The three of them disposed on the rest of the field on the opening lap. With two laps to go it was anybody's race, but then Hopkins lost touch and Dale and Beetham went into the last lap knowing that one of them would win it. In the end it came down to a long sprint finish, which Beetham took only in the closing few metres, to record his third straight win.
There was drama in the Youth Women's race in the morning when pre-race favourites Amy Thompson and Marie Stewart both briefly went the wrong way on the course, handing the advantage to a rather bemused Annabel Simpson, couldn't work out how she had won until someone explained the situation to her.
In the Youth Men's race there was a great win by the flamboyant and popular Adam Turner, returning to racing after six months away from the sport. Turner was clearly enjoying himself and won with all his old mixture of bike handling skills and stunning speed. It was good to see him back. Second was the rapidly improving Tom Skubula, with Alex Paton third.
Nick Craig: "I was briefly off the back of the main group on the first lap. When I got on to the back it was a nightmare. Riders don't like you coming past on this course, but eventually it settled down and we [the Scott riders] were able to use our numbers to dominate the race. On the last lap Stuart Bowers hit a tree ahead of me and Oli and Adrian Lansley got a gap. I got across to them and then started attacking. I got a small gap and held it to the finish."
Oli Beckingsale: We had hoped to get all the Scoot team into the lead group and we managed that and for Nick to win was satisfying. It's such a tight fast course you've got to concentrate hard: it felt a bit like playing Playstation for two hours and I hate playing Playstation!"
Jenny Copnall: "I got to the front at the start of the singletrack and then pushed on up the one rise on the course and got a gap. On this course you don't want to be riding on the front of a group, but once you are away you know that the leader of the chasing group has to be working at least as hard as you are. My tactics were then to push on on the straights and ride the technical single-track at my own pace."
Alex Atkins: "It was hard to get away. I tried attacking on the fire roads, but couldn't get away and I was afraid it would go to a sprint finish, which would have been a bit dodgy for me. But then Andy crashed and I was finally able to get clear."
Elite Female 1 Jenny Copnall (Subaru/Gary Fisher) 1.53.42 2 Jenn O'Connor (Specialized) 0.25 3 Hazel Wakefield (Raleigh/ERV) 1.03 4 Sue Thomas 1.30 5 Katy Simcock (Giant Racing) 2.27 6 Kate Potter (Specialized) 4.34 7 Rebecca Webb (justridingalong.com) 5.09 8 Sophie Johnson (Raleigh/ERV) 6.38 9 Ruth Macgavigan (Raleigh/ERV) 8.11 10 Dr Kim Hurst (RAF Cycling) 10.32 Elite Male 1 Nick Craig (Scott UK) 2.02.54 2 Stu Bowers (Hargroves-Trant/Next) 0.03 3 Adrian Lansley (Pedalon.co.uk) 0.05 4 Oli Beckingsale (Scott UK) 0.08 5 Dave Collins (Scott UK) 1.10 6 Ian Wilkinson (Giant Racing) 1.10 7 William Bjergfelt (Saracen) 2.41 8 Ian Bibby (Trek UK) 2.57 9 James Ouchterlony (MASSI) 3.03 10 Jamie Newall (Evans Cycles RT) 3.07 Expert Female 1 Paula Moseley (Climb On Bikes RT) 1.29.05 2 Marcie Reinhart (Oxford Uni CC) 1.23 3 Jules Toone (Climb on Bikes RT) 1.56 4 Abi Greenaway (Saracen) 2.52 5 Pippa Lansdown 3.08 6 Nicky Hughes (Trek/Activ) 4.50 7 Ciara Macmanus 12.57 8 Gemma Carter (VC Deal/Activ) Expert Male 1 Luke Smith (Marin UK) 1.45.16 2 Philip Smith (GA Cycles) 0.00 3 Adam Broyad (Climb On Bikes RT) 0.02 4 Luke Moseley (Climb On Bikes RT) 0.16 5 Adrian Scott (Leisure Lakes) 1.19 6 Will Simmons (Mountain Trax) 2.04 7 Andrew Wardman (Glentress Riders) 2.35 8 Robert Hunt (ERV/Bianchi) 3.15 9 Paul Beales (Orange Monkey) 3.59 10 Joe Richards 4.37 Sport Female 1 Katy Curtis (Leeds Uni/Torq/Evans) 1.03.05 2 Kate George (Specialized) 0.03 3 Sarah Carter 4.15 4 Fran Moore 5.56 5 Hayley Barnett Sport Male 1 Daniel Troitino (Evans Cycles) 1.21.43 2 James Furniss (Matlock CC) 0.22 3 Will Thomas (vinnerbikes/agisko) 0.28 4 Gerald Tudor (Robin Cycles/West Dr) 0.37 5 Daniel Hunt (Science In Sport) 1.18 6 Tim Burnett (Leeds Uni-Torq-Evans) 1.42 7 Steve Shaw (Team Torq Bar) 1.43 8 Mike Moleschi (Oxford University CC) 1.43 9 David Wright (Leeds Uni/Torq/Evans) 1.44 10 Alistair Booth (Border Bike Sport) 2.02 Junior Female 1 Fiona Blagg (Esporta Crawley) 1.06.15 Junior Male 1 Alex Atkins (Evans Cycles RT) 1.18.07 2 Sam Thompson (Kinesis UK) 0.25 3 Andrew McCullough (XMTB) 0.34 4 Mark Thwaites (Kinesis UK) 0.42 5 Tom Last (Matlock CC) 0.50 6 Ross Creber (Sandy Wallace Cycles) 0.50 7 Martyn Brookes (Yeti, Goldtec) 2.20 8 Peter Banham (Wyre Forest CC) 2.31 9 Matthew Ferguson (Cycling Ulster) 2.49 10 Paul Cox (websters Cycles) 3.15 Juvenile 1 William Verney (Shockwave) 27.24 2 Michael Butler (VC Deal/Hammonds/Act) 0.03 3 Luke Gray (443335) 0.57 4 Michael Gordon 3.02 5 Jonny Beers (XMTB) 3.13 6 James Vicary 6.54 7 Bruce Dalton (Matlock CC) 7.20 8 Thomas Walker (Abergavenny CC) 8.03 9 Liam Naylor 8.59 10 Russell Scurr 13.41 Juvenile Female 1 Rebecca Thomas (Bike Plus) 31.55 2 Rebecca James (Abergavenny CC) 1.20 3 Jessica Laird (XMT Cycling Ulster) 3.48 Youth Female 1 Annabel Simpson (Marie Curie) 1.03.13 2 Amy Thompson (Bike Plus) 0.34 3 Annie Last (Matlock CC) 0.45 4 Marie Stuart (Raleigh/ERV) 2.05 5 Gabriella Coates (Evans Cycles RT) 5.10 Youth Male 1 Adam Turner (Sherwood Pines Cycle) 52.07 2 Tom Skubala (Giant Racing) 0.01 3 Alex Paton (VC Deal/Activ/Hammon) 0.04 4 David Fletcher (Sherwood Pines Cycle) 0.17 5 Andrew Griffiths (Lee Valley Youth CC) 0.22 6 Lewis Marsh (Interbike RT) 0.41 7 Matthew Hill (Bmth Arrows/Primera) 1.11 8 Jay Spetch (Team Torq) 1.33 9 Ben Roach (Shokwave) 2.02 10 Andrew Hunter (Cycling Ulster) 2.10 Grand Vet Male 1 Roy Hunt (Rock Lobster) 55.18 2 John Galway (Keswick MTB) 0.10 3 Clive Powell (Team Dirty Weekend) 0.18 4 Andy Roberts (Evans Cycles RT) 0.35 5 Carl McDonagh (Brixton Cycles) 2.31 6 Victor Barnett (Welland Valley CC) 2.35 7 John Lloyd (Merida) 5.33 8 Richard Wood (VC Deal/Activ) 6.35 9 Trevor Patey 6.36 10 David Hamilton (Mid Devon CC) 7.24 Master Female 1 Michelle Bergstrand (Raleigh/ERV) 1.29.47 2 Renell Bartlett (John Lloyd Race Even) 5.53 3 Claire Paginton (Evans Cycles) 6.20 4 Theresa Jackson 7.46 5 Jane Steele (Port Sunlight Wheele) 8.22 6 Gaynor Lea (Climb on bikes) 11.37 7 Sarah Owen 12.21 8 Gail Birkett (Dysynni CC) 14.09 9 Julie Barrett (Ride-On) 17.25 10 Sandra Owen 18.50 Master Male 1 Geoff Beetham (Shokwave/661/H5) 1.42.10 2 Ben Dale (Climb On Bikes RT) 0.02 3 Paul Hopkins (Hambledon/Wheels) 1.15 4 Simon Willats (Ride Cycleworks) 2.59 5 Jim Bryan (ACE RT) 3.43 6 Richard John 3.44 7 David Miller (API-Metrow) 4.00 8 Andrew Claridge (Liphook/Michelin) 4.01 9 Phil Rayner (Halfords Bikehut) 4.46 10 Matt Craner (RN RM CA) 5.31 Open Female 1 Sarah Arnold 1.17.53 2 Sarah Griffiths (Team Tiger Club) Open Male 1 Stephen Reid (Shokwave) 1.29.29 2 Damien Corrigan (pedalon) 3.34 3 Ricky White (pedalon.co.uk) 3.54 4 Dom Mingaye (RAF CC) 6.42 5 James Cooper (Goldtec/182 Dirty) 6.49 6 Stephen Bunn 9.30 7 Eldrik Hartley 9.43 8 Andrew Seeney 10.28 9 Charles Singh 12.26 10 Oliver Squirrell 12.26 Veteran Female 1 Lydia Gould 1.02.37 2 Debbie Burton (Activ/Trek) 1.16 3 Tracy Miles (Climb On Bikes) 3.42 4 Riana Howlett 4.23 5 Kate Wheeler 4.51 6 Carol Tilley (Ride Cycleworks) 8.33 Veteran Male 1 Paul Ashby (API Metrow) 1.16.49 2 Mark Chadbourne (Ride Cycle works) 2.04 3 Mark Cracknell (AW cycles.co.uk) 2.05 4 David Nelson (Beyond MTB/WDMBC) 2.37 5 Garry Clark (Evans Cycles RT) 2.41 5 Kevin Townsend (Climb On Bikes RT) 6 Ian Wright (pearce cycles) 4.47 7 Peter Turnbull (M&D Cycles Specializ) 4.48 8 Andy Weaving (Climb On Bikes RT) 4.58 9 Roland Tilley 4.58 10 Gary Coltman (Leic Off Road Club) 5.58