Hebridean Cycle Club

Paul at Swordale


Race Report
2008 SXC MTB Series: Race 5 Fort William

27 July 2008

Three club members made the trip to Fort William for what turned out to be a mixed day for the club! We were represented in three categories:

Elite – Paul Smith
Sport  - Steven Liddle
Grand Vets – Gavin Earons

Gavin was first into action in the starting at 11am, with the conditions really starting to heat up with a unrelenting heat up the initial fire track climb. Gav was flying posting a 36,37,and 37min laps for the first three laps. The heat took its toll on the final lap resulting in a 46min lap, however, the heat was up to around 30 degrees at this point. With fluid on take a real issue as the bottle station was halfway up the worst climb of the 6 mile circuit, Gavin could not get the fluid on board. However, in his first action of the year and dare I say it with no preparation he still came a fantastic fourth place.

Next to go would have been Paul in the Elite Category, however disaster struck as Paul had an off whilst completing his warm up. He damaged his knee and his thumb in a fall at the entrance to "Nessie", he tried to get the medics to strap him up and allow him to compete but they insisted he take a trip to Fort William's A&E instead! Sensible advice, it would have been impossible for him to complete the technically demanding rocky features of the Fort Bill course with a bust thumb! This was a real blow for Paul who was looking sharp and was confident of a good finish given the courses hilly nature. Perhaps some compensation is that Pauls main rival for the championship Andy Barlow also Did Not Finish (DNF), lessoning the impact of Pauls bad luck.

Finally it was turn of Steve to compete for the first time in the Sports Category.  A first lap time of 34mins was Steve’s best as the heat took its toll. However, a respectable 10th place finish in his first race at this level was a good start. Unusually, it was not the hill sections in which he lost time but the rocky man made single track. This surface is fast but probably less technical than that found in the Western Isles and proved a steep learning curve for the Tree.



Gavin starts the next lapGavin starts the next lap

Steve on the way down
Steve on the way down


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