Congratulations to Paul Hopkins who secured a fourth National Vets title at the final round of the British XC Championships on Sunday.

Paul, who has been racing for Merida again this year, has had to work even harder than usual for this year’s title, with strong opposition coming from Ian Taylor (Jedi), Marc Chamberlain and Crispin Doyle (Hargroves Cycles).  Paul finished in second place at the opening two rounds of the season (a snowy Sherwood Pines in March and then Wheal Valley near Redruth).  He then got his sole victory at Hopton Woods, recovering from a jammed chain at the start of the final lap to make up the lost ground and get into the lead.  A double puncture led to a DNF at Margam Park, leaving the overall title very much in the balance.
The last race was held at Hadleigh Farm in Essex, scene of last year’s thrilling men’s Olympic title showdown.  It’s a tough course with some harsh features and ‘rock gardens’ to test the bikes and riders.  Paul came home in third place, enough to take the top spot again.  Andy Parsons had another good showing in the same event, getting another top 10 finish at National level (10th) with Nigel Brown not far behind in 14th.
Kim Little was also right in the mix again in the Masters race, finishing in fifth.
Thanks to Vermont Images for the photos of Paul inaction at Hadleigh –