Sunday the 19th of May saw the 2nd round of the Southern XC Series, this round was the Southern Area Championships. I was on the hunt for the title of Southern Expert champion! – race preparation leading up to the race was quite poor to be honest which left me really stressed out on Saturday (the last thing you need the day before a race). Luckily I had booked the Friday and Saturday off work as I was supposed to be going on a family weekend away. I had to cancel the holiday and stay at home to get my bike sorted as it needed a couple of minor tweaks before the race.
Onto race day, me, my Dad and Tom Bidder travelled down to Crow Hill in one van to save petrol. Me and Tom went on a practice lap and I wasn’t expecting the couple of boggy sections that there was out on course. I had to stick with my tyre choices as I didn’t have any spares, onto my race which kicked of at 2.02pm just behind the Elites. It was quite a fast start with me going into the 1st bit of singletrack barely in the top 10 so had it all to do. I could see Michael Guildford leading out through the twists and turns in the earlier part of the lap. From there on I bridged the gap to Michael then taking a big turn on the front and eventually dropping Michael just after 1/3 of way through the 1st lap. From here on I rode the race alone and didn’t take any unnecessary risks as I knew I had a decent gap and just needed to keep my composure and take it home. I was hoping I could catch some of the back end of the Elite field and was caught a good few of them, nearly 1/2 of the field in fact! Coming up the last little rise into the finish I knew I had a healthy lead so thought shall I put my hands up or pull a wheelie?.. I went for the wheelie in the end.
I won the race by a comfortable margin of 2 mins 6 seconds, Looking at comparing lap times with the Elites I knew I could have given more than I did but that was all that I needed to give on the Day. It would have been different if I was hanging onto wheels in the Elite race.