Summer is finally here… actually I think we will need to wait a little longer for that but todays race was the first time this year I have not had to wear anything more that shorts and a jersey. Matterley Basin was the location for Round 1 of the Southern Area Mountain Bike races and it was on the side of a wind swept hill next to a Moto cross track that the series kick started into life.
The team had riders in the Vets Sport and Masters categories today and it was nice to see Banjo cycles well represented. After a pre lap team Riders Dan Smith and Peter Kench, who were down to race the Masters, found that the course had 4 climbs on mainly fire track and 4 descents that were not overly technical but were very slippy and had a lot of off camber and roots to catch weary riders out on.
The Masters race got underway with the usual mad dash to get to the front. With the start being up the main climb into a head wind from a spectators point of view it looked a very slow start to the race but from a riders point of veiw it was a maximal effort just to keep some forward momentum into the wind and to be the first to hit the single track. Dan managed to hit the single track just outside the top ten with Peter not too many place back. The single track split the race up with riders able to pass and make places up on the fire road climbing sections. Mid race Dan had worked his way up to 7th place and was looking comfortable. Pete had started to find his legs and was working his way into the top ten. Both riders were only 2mins back from the leader of the race at this point. Coming into the final lap Peter had managed to move up to 8th place and was gaining on Dan. With less than 1/2 a lap to go on the main steep climb the two riders made contact, and tried to work together on the climb as 9th place rider was only 10 seconds back and 7th only 10 secs in front.
With the last stretch of single track to go both riders were still together and on the last turn back out onto the fire road into the finish, knowing his team mate was safe in 8th, Peter jumped clear to take 7th place. A good start to the Southern Series with both Dan and Peter now being gridded front row for round 2 in Crow Hill in May.