Fritton Lake – 20th October 2013 – race report
If I said I was a little under prepared for this race I wouldn’t be fibbing. Fortunately, everyone else involved in the organisation and the running of the event was on top form and my shortcomings were therefore ably disguised by Simon Edwards and his team at Fritton Lake, by the commissaires Graham and Darren and by Anna and Jonas who were on rake, tape, judging and photography duty.
Did anyone notice the tricky little chicane added in the 4th section of single track? Well, you have our guest Belgian to thank for that – he was desperate to add some Belgian bends to the course! It seemed to make him happy!
As always, it was great to see a sizeable field of under 12s lined up and ready to roll. And with some new faces among the regulars from last year it’s good to know that word about the series is spreading.
Mountain biking, like cyclo cross, is a really inclusive sport and it is fabulous to see whole families turning up and giving racing a go – new faces in the U12 this year included three girls, Grace Bushell, Mia Rutterford and Grace Laborde joining Imogen Pitcher who raced last year. Imogen was the first girl home at Fritton – with Grace B close behind.
As the race got underway, it was no surprise that it was Josun Cole leading the charge up the first hill with Jack Styles, Ben Laflin and Colin Mantle tucked in on his wheel. Josun established an early lead and powered his way round 6 laps for the win. Behind him Colin Mantle settled himself into second place by the end of lap one and stayed there for the remainder of the race and Ben Laflin and Jack Styles pulled back the fast starting younger Cole, Edward, to finish 3rd and 4th with Edward coming home in 5th.
Once the U12s had finished the course was opened up into the longer lap for the second race. The trail pixies reported that a number of riders were having difficulty with the rooty section by the lake so this was left out – although I aim to get some level of technical difficulty into each race, the aim is for new racers to be challenged but not to encounter obstacles way beyond their ability.
So, with the monster roots sidelined on this occasion, the seniors were invited to grid themselves in anticipation of 60 minutes of fun racing!
Few would have bet against Shaun Aldous for the win – and he duly delivered! Likewise, Amy Cole who started racing in last years series was odds on favourite for the win and this went to form as well. However, in both races there was plenty of action and position swapping going on behind the respective race leader. And, importantly, some nice little clusters of riders having their own battles throughout the field.
What the U16s lacked in numbers, they made up for in the quality of racing. Oliver Riley from Hethersett CSC got himself settled in first place from the end of lap one, with Sophie Wright and Zak Coleman riding together in 2nd and 3rd places. Sophie had a strong mid-race performance and distanced Zak and was closing in on Oliver however, she was unable to sustain this effort and Zak came back strongly to finish 2nd with Sophie – always smiling – in 3rd.
My award for rider of the day goes to Mini Rutterford – first time MTB racer, first time riding off road in clipless pedals and the first person to believe me when I promised her she wouldn’t crash! Almost a DNS after a practice lap, Mini allowed herself to be persuaded to race, completed 5 laps and I think she enjoyed it (and she only crashed a little bit!).