Two of the region’s championships got underway today (1st March), one on Tarmac and one on the rough stuff, with both featuring a few of the club’s riders.

The Southern XC mountain bike series got off the mark at Black Park, bit of a trek from down this way so there was only a handful of locals in action but they got some good results.  Paul Hopkins (Merida UK) won the always competitive Vets race, after a good battle with Lewis King (Beeline Cycles).  King led the first couple of laps with Paul putting in a fast fourth lap to take control of the race and then hang on to win at the end of the five lap event.  Andy Parsons (Offcamber) was also competing in this race, getting to grips with his new Scott bike and finishing in 28th out of the 54 starters.
Kim Little (Merida UK) has stepped up from the Masters category to Expert for this season, and had a good race, leading lap one but ultimately coming home in sixth place.  Liam Teesdale is another to have moved up a category after his recent win in the Open race at the second Gorrick winter race.  Now in the Sport cat, Liam did well coming home in 16th after a minor delay with a shipped chain.  
Jim Broom was taking part in his first SXC event, joining 44 other riders in the three lap Open race.  With a tumble or two along the way, Jim was pleased to get to the finish in 37th place.  Finally, Zoe Buckland (MB Swindon), who some members will know from competing at Alfred’s Tower and Inside Park, won the women’s Open race.
The Western Time Trial Association Hardriders championship also began today, with an 18 mile hilly route near Malmesbury.  Sadly, the Chippenham Wheelers-run event had to be shortened from its original 24 mile distance due to roadworks.  A big tailwind helped the riders over the first half of the course, especially beneficial up the big climb of Lyneham Bank.  James Chant was the quickest of the GDW riders, albeit down in 44th of the 76 entrants, with a time of 49.04.  Chris Mullett completed the route in 52.50 while Sarah Wheeler was pleased to not be the slowest rider with her time of 57.51.  There was a dead heat for the win, with Dean Robson (Cheltenham CCC) and Rob Pears (Bath CC) both setting times of 40.02.
At the Odd Down cycle circuit at Bath, James Foster put in a good ride in the 4th cat crit race, staying in the mix at the head of the field throughout.  James couldn’t quite match the sprint speed of his competitors at the end but was nonetheless very pleased with how he performed.  In the 2/3 cat race, George Smith was riding well again, keeping at the sharp end behind a two-rider breakaway.  In the sprint for third, George just missed out on soem points, coming home in 11th.