Wareham Forest was the scene of Sunday’s two hour Hop Dog Horn mountain bike race, a course featuring a mix of single track and gravel fire roads, with some of it very muddy after some recent rain. Although the majority of the lap was flat, there were a couple of short, steep climbs. By the end of the race the combined effect of these and the mud was taking its toll on the energy levels of most of the competitors – even the free beer being handed out in the feed zone didn’t help!
Over 90 riders took to the start, with Paul Hopkins, Kim Little, Simon Allard (all racing for Merida) , James Horton (Cannondale) and John Samways (Bournemouth Wheelers) immediately raced off in to the lead. Kim, Paul and Horton were soon out on their own, with this trio lapping under 20 minutes. Kim had some really bad luck near the end with a puncture, but a big effort on the final lap from Paul gave him the win, 15 seconds ahead of Horton. Paul’s reward was a horn of beer from the makers of Hop Dog, Sunny Republic Brewery.
Simon Allard took third after, with Samways fourth while Kim was classified fifth after he got back underway. Andy Parsons was up near the sharp end, finishing well in eighth, Nigel Brown was second in the cyclocross bikes’ category, (20th overall, a lap down on the leaders) although some of his race was on an XC bike after a tyre rolled off of the bike he originally started out on. James Chant had a slow start and a crash on lap two which cost him a couple of places but was pleased with 29th overall and one lap down, while Liam Teesdale had his first outing on his new machine. After a fast getaway, Liam struggled with after a lack of riding recently and finished two laps behind.