Gaddens Close Farm in Ringwood hosts UK National Cross-Country Series
THE country's top mountain bike riders competed in the third round of the HSBC UK National Cross-Country Series held at Gaddens Close Farm in Ringwood.
The course made the best of the New Forest's unique terrain with long, open climbs, tight rooted forest sections and dusty descents that led into jumps for riders to show off their tricks. A section that spectators found enthralling was the cliff climb that led into the finishing sprint.
The men's sport category opened on Saturday, and after completing five gruelling laps, Aled Jones took the win ahead of Alex Douche and Daniel Moore in second and third, respectively.
The women's expert/sport, elite, junior, veteran and grand veterans all rode together with staggered start times. The current U23 national champion Hattie Harnden took an early lead before winning the elite women's race. Anna Kay took second with Anna Flynn in third.
Wadebridge Coasters CC's Libby Hardman took the win in the combined expert and sport categories, with Emily Bridson in second and Roisin Browne rounding out the top three.
Ruth Miller took a narrow victory in the 40-49 women's race, with Lotta Mansfield winning the women's 17-18 race, and Catherine Kilburn came out on top in the over-50s race.
The afternoon races were affected by the rain and wind, which made the open sections even more challenging, with the root sections becoming slippery.
After a highly competitive four-way tussle, national champion Frazer Clacherty and Christoper Rotherwell pulled away in the final section to set up a thrilling battle of attrition. They flew over the line with Clacherty narrowly pipping Rotherwell.
The men's expert race was much less competitive, with Hope Factory Racing's Phillip Pearce cruising home more than four minutes ahead of second-placed David Bone. Kishan Bakrania followed two seconds later in third.
Joseph Blackmore won the men's 17-18 race ahead of Nathan Smith and Huw Buck Jones.