This weekend saw stage 2 of the NPS take place in Cornwall, the SCHWALBE MTB Marathon was on in Bunith Wells, Wales and ROUND 2 of the UK Gravity Enduro has taken place in Innerleithen, Scotland. SCOTT- SPORTS had teams competing at all, here are all the race reports from father son team Nick and Tom Craig for the NPS as well as Caroline with the girls race. Also here's the reports from both Cal Dew and Helen Gaskell for the Gravity Enduro series. First up is Nick with the Schwalbe Marathon Report.
Team SCOTT UK
SCHWALBE MTB Marathon - Builth Wells, Wales - 13th/14th April.
Round 1 of the mtb Schwalbe marathon in Builth Wells is always a great event, with races on both the Saturday and Sunday there is something for all riders. On Saturday evening they have the exposure big night out followed by the Enduro on Sunday. It’s always tough to compete in both events with some riders only race one part. Well, on this occasion I decided to give the night event a miss, I had some work to do preparing my bike and the weather was due to close in. Sure enough the rain and high winds arrived in the night and the course which had been quite dry after all the snow and ice had cleared but I was sure we were in for some muddy (but fun) trails. Sure enough the 1st rider home from the evening before, Jonny Pugh was not on the start line but Ian Field, the current national Cyclo Cross Champion was, which confirmed my decision to miss the Saturday night was the right one! Neil Crampton rode both events and was in good form so soon into the event we cranked it up a gear putting pressure on Ian leaving him chasing. I rode with Neil and eventually pulled away to a good lead but on the moorland I turned into a
very strong head wind and could not keep warm so decided to stop and put on a skull cap. That was the easy part, but trying to get my gloves back on was not so easy! However I still made it back in good time. Second rider home was Neil Crampton riding for TORQ in 2013. A tough day out, I’m sure we will get some sun soon still a great event and some amazing new singletrack.
Looking forward to the next round at marshbrook in July!
Team SCOTT UK
NPS ROUND 2 - Redruth Cornwall - 27/28th April
From the Junior side of racing at the NPS here's Tom Craig with his race:
Wheal Maid Valley provided a technically challenging course for round 2 of the national point’s series in Cornwall. After a change of tire onto snake skin sidewalls, due to the rocky terrain (thanks to SCHWALBE) my race started at 9:30 AM and was increased to 4 laps on the day. After a front row gridding I had a good start and quickly settled into 3rd place going into the first section of single-track. By the bottom of the decent I had made my way briefly to the front of the pack. Unfortunately, as the race progressed I struggled to keep up with the fast pace and throughout the race steadily dropped back into 6th position. So a top ten finish for me, which puts me into 2nd place in the overall standings.
Thanks to all our sponsors and well done to everyone who raced.
Here's the NPS Coverage From Nick and his race report for round 2:
Round 2 of the NPS in redruth Cornwall last weekend and all the talk of it being worth the journey as a technically demanding fun course was true! I have not heard so many riders disusing the track since the Dalby world cup! At the Scott camp we decided to support each other and save our supports event in the form of Shaun the long drive from Newcastle so first up at 9.30AM women and youth categories with me and Greg in the feed zone prepping the guys ready for their ride. Next up it was me and Stu Wilcox with Caroline in the feed zone.
Stu had travelled a long way from Edinburgh and sitting in third twisted his chain and then snapped it, a real shame as he loved the tech course and was riding really strong. I had the usual steady start but moved up to 10th by mid distance on the final lap so went all out and pushed hard to come home in 7th place one spot behind Oli Beckingsale. I was happy with my result and enjoyed the event won by Grant Ferguson aged 19 and Kenta second (ex Scott) great to see the young guns coming through and doing so well for themselves. Still to go in the last event of the day was Greg! After his busy day on duty with the team and in the feed zone, we did a role reversal with me and Caz in the feed zone. However we might have over feed him a little bit but hey, it made us feel like we were doing our job.... All in a great event on a super course well done to the organisers, thanks for the support and thanks to Rob Barker for the great pics!
The woman's team laso had a great race, here's Caroline with her report on the NPS series:
What a difference a month makes!! Snow and freezing conditions last month, warm, sunny and bone dry trails this month….if that wasn’t enough, once we all rode the course we all definitely knew it was worth the 4 to 6 hour drive we all made down to Redruth in Cornwall for the second round of the NPS XC Series, a proper old skool course with great singletrack and white knuckle rocky descents greeted us which I’m sure kept all of us slightly awake the night before wondering what was going to happen on race day……
First off were Mel Alexander and Becky Preece in the Elite Woman’s race. With World Marathon Champion Sally Bingham there, the girls knew it was going to be a fast race.
Mel had a storming start round the start lap getting into 3rd place before they hit the fast, fun single track descent. On the first climb she lost a few places but once all had calmed down a little she positioned herself in 5th/6th place with race organiser and course designer, Maddie Horton.(always a good place to be with the course designer to know the best lines ;-) )
She then managed to pull away from Maddie and started to have a battle for 4th place rider, the Serbian National Champion who wasn’t going to give this place up with a fight but once Mel had another Torq gel, it kicked in and she pulled away to take a very pleasing 4th Place.
For Becky, it was always going to be a tougher battle and she was gridded on the second row which meant she had to have a cracking start to move up and get herself into a good position for the singletrack after the start loop. It didn’t go completely to plan but she did manage to position herself into 8th place on the first decent. There seemed only one perfect clear race line around the whole circuit with lots of loose rock all over the track and not many good places to overtake but she kept focused and managed to pull back one place to finish a very credible 7th place. This being Beckys first season as an elite after moving up from Juniors and she is positioning herself as a top 10 contender already-brilliant start Becky!!
In the old ladies race (Veterans), both Cazza and Nicky knew this course was right up their street. It was very much like courses they used to ride 10-15 years ago, being very technical and tough and with both being very technically apt, they knew this was going to be a good race. Cazza was fully aware it would be Nicky that would be chasing her and how true that was-both having great starts and going 1st and 2nd out of the arena. It stayed like this with Cazza managing to pull away with a very small gap on the first lap.
Cazza knew Nicky had been doing some long mileage in training and was very conscious that Nicky would get stronger as the race went on and Cazza would get tired(due to lack of training ) so she knew she had to try and get away on the descents. This seemed to work a little until I Cazza realised something must have happened as Nicky was no longer there. It gave her a bit of respite but she knew Jane Cummings would come strong towards the end but she kept focused and made no mistakes to win her second NPS in a row over a minute ahead of Jane from Southfork Racing. Nicky unfortunately punctured on her 2nd lap and after 5 minutes of fixing it she had a red mist and needed to gain some places she had lost. She picked up to places and if there had been another lap, she most certainly would have gained some more places.
It was great to finally get the whole team together and get the team spirit going. All the bikes performed perfectly and thank you to all our sponsors-Scott, Syncros, Schwalbe, Sram, and Torq. As always, we couldn’t do it without you. And thanks to Maddie and Jay Horton for an absolutely fantastic course. Fingers crossed it’s in the series next year.
Next NPS is at the fantastic Hopton Woods course in Shropshire where all the girls will meet again but before then, Mel and Nicky will be at the Daisy Chain Woman’s Marathon Event at Builth Wells on the 11th May.
UK Gravity Enduro
PIONEER SCOTT SYNCROS - ENDURO
UK GRAVITY ENDURO ROUND 2 - Innerleithen, SCOTLAND 27th April
After some success in the first round of the UK Gravity Enduro, the PIONEER SCOTT SYNCROS ENDURO team headed up to Scotland for round two at Innerleithen. While there wasn’t any snow this time around, we all know how fickle the Scottish weather can be, with rain making the track muddy, wet and slippery. Here’s Cal with how the race went!
Due to some time off from uni lectures before my exams I was looking forward to the race at Inners because I knew I could set off on Friday afternoon and get there in plenty of time. I’m pretty chilled out generally and not a fan of rushing anywhere fast other than down hills. My dad came along to this event with me, which is always a great help and he loves the atmosphere. We’ve been to a fair few Downhill races together at Inners in the past and always loved it, so it was smiles all round.
After a quick windscreen change at Autoglass in Salford and a dodgy meet in a car-park to sell an old xc bike, we were on the road and my wallet was a fair bit heavier! We set off in sunshine and blue skies and the journey was ace…that was until we got within 5 minutes of Innerleithen and found ourselves in the middle of a hale storm! Haha, I should have expected it of Scotland to be fair, it always seems to present weather that’s out of character for the time of year. Anyhow I hadn’t gone all that way to sit in the van, so I got the lycra, waterproof jacket and wind-stopper gloves on and went out prepared in the blizzard to ride stages 2 and 5 and get a general feel for the weekend’s racing: downhill and muddy!
Thankfully I was booked into a B&B in Innerleithen village, when the Scottish weather’s up to its usual tricks it’s pretty necessary if you want to perform at your best for the weekend and makes life a hell of a lot easier. So after a good night’s sleep and breakfast I was up the hill at 9.30am, with a bit of blue sky above, in between the hale and showers. After riding stage 1 I knew it was going to be a real fun weekend. Tight, twisty, rooty and fast: classic Inners downhill. I’d ridden clips on Friday afternoon but after seeing stage 1 I fancied giving flat pedals a go, thinking they’d suit the conditions and downhill oriented sections of the weekend more. It turned out to be a perfect decision for me, and I went and rode stage 2 about twice as fast as I had on clips! Awesome. Stages 3 and 4 were long and physical, but both with their fair share of technical downhill, so it was a massive change from round 1 at Afan and I was loving every second.
I was all done practicing by early afternoon so got wrapped up in my SCOTT winter jacket (warmer than a sleeping bag!) in the pits and enjoyed a TORQ chocolate recovery shake. These guys have got it sorted when it comes to sports supplements and the flavours are unbelievable. Rhubarb and Custard flavoured energy gels, enough said. Check them out at torqfitness.co.uk . Qualifying soon came around and I headed up the hill in a bit of sunshine ready for fun. Stage 5 was running flat-out and was bermy and jumpy and all-round good fun. I rode well in between a handful of mistakes in the woods mid-run and qualified 11th. With such a competitive Elite category my aim for this weekend was a top 10, so I was happy knowing that I was on track for my goal if I rode well on the Sunday.
Sunday morning showed that it had rained overnight, which is what I had been hoping for as the mud suited the flat pedals perfectly! I was riding well throughout Sunday and kept well fuelled up even with the long steep and slow-going climbs on the linking sections between stages. Despite the tough conditions the SCOTT Genius710 650b ran amazingly and mechanical free all day. With a chain device fitted since Round 1 by the boys at North West Mountain Bike Centre it really was the perfect bike for the job. Really impressive, nice one guys! I rode hard throughout the day and by stage 5 was feeling the effects of slogging through the mud all day. But I dug deep and rode home into 10th place overall for the weekend, out of another strong field of 26 Elites. I was pleased with my result, showing good improvement from round 1 despite being in the middle of final year uni exams, and even more impressed with the performance of the bike.
Massive thanks has to go to Ricky and the boys at North West Mountain Bike Centre for getting the bike running perfectly for a weekend of tough conditions, and to Phil at SCOTT UK for posting a spare mech hanger up to the B&B to make sure I was fully mechanically prepared for the weekend, that’s proper first class service! Thanks too to Dave Dew who was on hand as team mechanic for the weekend. Cheers guys, couldn’t have done it without ya.
Big thanks to Duncan Philpott for the funky fish-eye image.
Already excited for Round 3 at Hamsterley Forest on May 25/26th! See ya there.
Cal's team mate Helen had a unfortunate crash in her race, here's her review from the weekend:
What a weekend of racing this was, Innerleithen is one of my all time favourite places to ride. We arrived on Thursday evening all excited to get up Friday morning and do the whole 30 km loop as It is a very physical race at Inners, with lots of climbing and technical long stages of up to 8minutes. The plan was to practice all the stages on Friday then have an easier day Saturday and Concentrate on seeding, it worked well, I didn't feel that tired so my legs were pretty fresh ready for the battle on Sunday. Out of all the stages I have to say that stage 5 was my favourite just because of the fun factor, it has a great mix of riding, roots, jumps, high speed and tech tight woods. I seeded 2nd behind Tracy and Sarah Newman took 3rd spot. A great start to the race on Sunday, no mechanical's or crashes.
With the climate over the last month or so here being cold and snowy, the forest was running as well as expected, it was under snow for at least a month in march, we had all sorts of weather this weekend, sun, rain, wind, massive golf ball hail storm's on Friday when we out there practicing. After 350 riders had been on the stages the roots did become a little more exposed and greasy.
Team mate Cal Dew was there too flying the flag for Scott, we both chose to ride our Genius 650b bikes, they are great, super light and 150mm of travel. Tyre choice was a tough one here, you needed the grip but also some fast rolling tyres too, we both chose to run our Schwalbe Hans Dampf and Nobbly Nics.
So race day came and it was an early start time for us, 9am leaving the pits, not to return till after 2pm. I made sure I had enough fuel and Torq energy gels to keep me going. There was another great turn out of girls racing, even though the conditions were brutal. Stage one was the famous Gold run track, starting just above the quarry. I was all ready and excited for this, the beeps went and less than a minute into the stage, I started to have a big moment, before I knew it I was straight into a tree with my head and shoulder taking the impact. I tried quickly to get up but couldn't feel my arm, I Was concerned that I had maybe dislocated it, which I have done in the past with my other shoulder. I sat down trying to get my breath and managed to move my arm so I was quickly relieved that it had just taken a massive impact on the tree and it was bruising and a little inflammation to the ligaments.
I basically had a massive dead arm and tried to carry on to stage 2, I couldn't ride, pulling on the bars was not happening for me. I was totally gutted and had to pull out of the race, my first Enduro that I have never got to finish. I never give easy, but this was one I had too. I’ve been looking after my shoulder, ice packs, anti-flams so I'm hoping in a week or so I’ll be back on the bike and getting ready for round 3 at Hamsterley Forest.
Big respect to all the girls that finished, it was one tough course, results were Tracy Moseley taking the win, she looked so fast all weekend, I can’t wait to see her smash the world series up, Sarah Newman rode amazingly well to take 2nd spot, and the battle for 3rd was between Carrie Poole and Cheri Mills, there was only 4 seconds between them, with Carrie taking the last podium spot.
My team mate Cal Dew had a great solid result in the Elite men's taking 10th spot. He is going for that Top 5 at Hamsterley for sure. Mark Scott took the Elite Men’s win, Neil Donoghue 2nd and Gary Forest ended up 3rd even with a mechanical. Another top weekend racing from the man organising these events Steve Parr, he does a great job and keep supporting him and his crew, he is still learning like we all are. I still crash after 20years of Racing. See you all at the next round, I can barely wait already.
You can always keep up to date with the teams activities at: SCOTT UK Facebook.
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