Selkirk/Peebles, 30 April/1 May
Keith Dawson reports:
“The Scottish Borders hosted the Long and Middle British Championships at Bowhill Estate, Selkirk and Glentress Forest, Peebles respectively. Paul McGreal organised the Long with help from RR, and ESOC organised the Middle. Hilly terrain, ideal preparation for the World Masters Champs in Slovenia in two weeks’ time with five British World Masters Champs attending. The races were the first in the new Scottish League.
The Long was on a new MTBO area at Bowhill, well known to foot orienteers. Ideally suited to the long route choice legs favoured by the Long format, as you can see from the map below. After heavy rain overnight, the ground "took a stud" and favoured faster track route choices with one leg of just under 2km across the central ridge. Mary Williams rode well in the mud to win W70 with Hazel Dean FVO winning W60. Bob Cherry AYROC won M60 ahead of Rob Bloor INT and Richard Oxlade on his new Trek steed. Anna Murgatroyd INT won W21 Women's Open with Edwyn Oliver-Evans winning M21 and Men's Open.
The Middle Distance Champs on Monday was again hilly but with the better weather and free draining slopes it was less mud and speedier passage. A hilly course with a mix of longer route choices across the spurs and valleys, with shorter more technical navigation legs at the start and finish, tested competitors. The use of one way MTB trails added to the complexity and caught a few competitors out with "more haste giving less speed" particularly on the finale of Falla Brae. Riders could view the new UCI World Champs XC course being built for August.
A number of notable ESOC results in the Middle with Mary Williams wearing a broad smile, as she won W70 capitalising on her increasing MTB skills. Respect for the new British Champion. Jonathan Ellis won M40 with Martin Quirke 2nd on home ground. Multiple Masters World Champion Bob Cherry won M60 with Richard Oxlade 4th and Karena Hanley winning W60 ahead of Hazel Dean in 3rd. Eddie Harwood MOR won M70 ahead of Worlds medallist Kevin Pickering WIM. Hannah Inman FVO won W18 and her mother Janine both W40 and Women's Open, whilst Hollie Orr LOC won W21 just behind Janine on the same course. The Men's Open and M50 was won by evergreen World Champion Andy Conn. Thanks to Robert for all his considerable skills and patience on download, etc and to all those who collected controls.
Good to see newbies Martin and Hazel Dean competing and loving the new experience enthusiastically. There will be an opportunity to try MTBO at the Scottish Six Days this year in the long Moray evenings, with two Sprints and a Middle Race in Darnaway, Quarry Wood and Sanquhar near Forres. Great fun was had by all and the newbies loved it!”
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