Canada Heights Ipone Oil XC
Written by Manny Bernardez
Thursday, 18 June 2009
My third event in seven days and boy did my body know it. With just a few hours sleep under my belt it was time to load up the van pickup Jack and head of to Swanley in Kent, you could tell already that it’s was going to be a very hot day with a forecast 26 C high. I’m pretty sure that Sidcup must sacrifice a virgin or two because I have never done one of their events in the rain, this goes dating back to 1995. As I was doing the morning Over 40, 2 hour race, I wanted to arrive early to get the formalities over so I could select a decent place on the start line.
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With the bike safely parked up it was time to walk the course, well just the MX track wasn’t too bothered or nervous about the fields. The track was beautifully graded unlike the timecard events which they usually just leave it rough from the last meeting; you pretty much had a full run on the mx track without getting diverted. The course was more suited to a motocross bike than a softly sprung Enduro machine, even my slight frame can make the WRF suspension buckle on fairly regular looking jumps, a flying machine it is not. Sidcup tied the track and field’s together with some very tight going in the woods, also there were manmade obstacles to navigate, it was looking really good, could not wait to get going.
When you were waiting for the flag start you did get that feeling you were at a big event with crowds lining all along the uphill start fence. Fellow Witley club member Max Varney who was doing the Youth class and starting a couple of minutes after me, had been threatening to beat me before the race start (Max aim higher lol), so no pressure.
As SoM Peter Burrell dropped the flag the WRF fired up but I don’t know if it was the fact I started in second, it just didn’t seem to get any drive and just got squeezed into the mid pack. With every corner more riders went pass, dust stuck to the safety glasses I now prefer to wear and couldn’t see much until after the first jam, a bit of wind blast finally clearing them.
With only 3 laps completed I already felt hot and I mean hot and dehydrated. Progress through the pack also felt like it was going slow, didn’t really have the power or the drive on the fields to overtake anyone and didn’t feel confident on the mx track, a couple of heavy landings already putting me off from attacking it.
Caught up with John Barnett (No 427) and just could not get close enough to make a clean pass, he was quick enough everywhere to keep me at bay, by this time I was feeling a little bit sick from the heat . In the distance I could see SEEC sparring partner Phil Boreham (No 411), with John dragging me closer to him we finally caught Phil in the orchard. John managed to overtake him quickly as we entered the field for the first time, but once Phil looked back and realised who it was behind him, let’s say he got motivated, not only did he managed to put a couple of riders between us he also overtook John in the woods, all in one move, now I was motivated…game on!!
John, Phil and I all come into the transponder tent in that order, which was one of the easiest place to overtake or block a riders exit if you could get the wrist band to register you quickly. Alas that did not work for me but John did manage to squeeze in front of Phil.
Phil and I had a ding dong around the mx track; he even managed to flick me the finger going round a corner. Got past him on the ski jump and started chasing down John. I showed John my front wheel as we both tried to climb up the big ditch side by side, for some reason this was enough for him to wave me through. Now I needed to get my head down round the orchard and field to try and make a gap but was held up right near the finish by a fallen rider and both of them pushed pass me…DOH!!
This time I went past John on the mx track but had to wait for Phil to make a mistake on the very same ditch mentioned earlier for me to get past him. Once again got my head down a tried to make a bigger enough break so if I did come across some slow riders at least I had a gap. The next two laps were probably my quickest of the day; I was working hard enough to start breathing heavily. All the effort was not enough to get me the extra lap, missing it by 1 minute.
Thanks to Sidcup and District Motor Cycle Club for a well run, enjoyable event. With my race over it was time to watch the Pros, Experts and Clubman in the 3 hour afternoon race, also help my buddies in the pits….brilliant day out and really happy with my result.
What about Max? Well he never did catch me, if only the race was 3 hours instead of 2 you never know, still 2nd place in the Youth group is a great result and looked like a close race..well done!
Result = 6th