Hope XC Race 1 Report and Race 2 Preview

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Hope XC Race Series Race 1 (6th September) Race Report

Continuing their drive to get the North West XC Race scene back on it’s feet the Brownbacks team are back again with another race series. The rather irrational feeling of “we can do more” had taken them over with three dates sponsored again by Hope launched into the calendar mid July. So what happened….

Having taken the “barbeque summer” TM off the first race in series 2 was on a mild and dry weekend with little in the way weather to worry about. The racing now open to riders from the age of 15 was as fast and furious as ever. With a record number of riders entering, the course had the usual surprises for all with the recycling of a section of “lost” and a tricky little descent testing the ability of riders on the main course.

The Minx-Girl sponsored women’s categories saw a record entry and some class technical riding from Lizzie Bowler and Kate Johnson (Red Necks) amongst others. Verity Appleyard (Race Co Cycles) dominated the ladies field with Molly Whittall (White Nancy Boys) back from injury winning the Mountain Diva Category and Gill Crane (Clifton CC) taking the honours in the Have-a-go Heroines.

Tom Bell (LUCC/Torq/Stif) dominated the Leisure Lakes sponsored men’s racer field taking the first lap prime and never looking in danger of being caught despite the efforts of Michael Coward (Velo29 Cycling team) who was still asking for the gap up to the final lap and Dave Powell (Ragley) withdrew early on. A new sponsor Blazing Saddles from Hebden Bridge saw a new winner in the Weekend Warriors with Tom Albutt taking the honours. Craig Holden the winner in the previous series clearly suffered with a loss of form and struggled on the new technical sections. Mark Horsely-Frost (White Nancy Boys) was going well until a fall on lap 4 which then slowed him down.

The Have-a-go Heroes winner Adam Newall (Sad Cycling) in his first ever race was clearly stoked to get the trophy after being pushed hard by Mark Ellis and Matt Hartley. The new “Lads” and “Lasses” category for younger riders ran with mixed success with a small but quality field for the Lads, Benjamin Mossman taking the honours. Unfortunately there were no Lasses to race for the trophies and prizes, so plenty of opportunity to win prizes in race 2.


Yet again the feedback from all was of a great morning’s grassroots racing. The all volunteer team delivering a simple format with plenty of prizes and the emphasis on fun and racing for all levels. Thanks especially go to the marshals and the sign-on/ timing team who gave up their morning lie-in to let others race.


RACE DATE: 27th September
XC Racing returns to Lee Quarry with race 2 of the Hope Technology sponsored XC races this Sunday. Race 1 saw 94 riders taking part across the categories and new winners with Tom Bell LUCC/Torq/ Stif taking an early lead in the racer category and emerging talent in the new “Lads” category. The women’s categories had a strong field with technical skills that put many of the men to shame. This week’s race sees a substantially altered course in order to shake the whole thing up.

The “just for fun” trade competition sees a strong entry from Leisure Lakes as they try and take the competition by the throat. They are keen to get the kudos and bragging rights as the fastest trade team and it will be interesting to see how this competition develops.

Race 2 retains the same simple single race format of race 1, there is the new category for 15 and 16 year old’s and 17 year olds can race in the main categories and most importantly the event “hamlet” sees the sponsors bring retail stands and the improved catering with bacon butties etc available for that important pre/ post race carbohydrate/ protein intake.

Entry on the day is available, registration opens at 08:30 on the day.

See you on the start line!

Orange Switch 6er. Stif Squatcher. Schwalbe Magic Mary Purple Addix front. Maxxis DHR II 3C MaxxTerra rear. Coil fan. Ebikes are not evil. I have been a writer for nigh on 20 years, a photographer for 25 years and a mountain biker for 30 years. I have written countless magazine and website features and route guides for the UK mountain bike press, most notably for the esteemed and highly regarded Singletrackworld. Although I am a Lancastrian, I freely admit that West Yorkshire is my favourite place to ride. Rarely a week goes by without me riding and exploring the South Pennines.

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