New Forest MTB Race report by Sport category winner Tom Hughes
With an interesting start loop around some grassy turns and a climb before the first section of single track, I knew it was going to be a tough start, everyone super keen to get into the safety of the woods to avoid any overtakes. I managed to get into the singletrack first and knew right away I wouldn’t be let go so easy after the previous round, so I settled into a manageable pace to save some matches for later in the race.
Me and Max Filleul ( 3rd in the previous round ) settled into a good pace and noticed Ben Watts ( 2nd in the previous round ) bridging over on the long fire road with his big power, when Ben caught us he went right past setting a decent pace through the singletrack so we sat on until we distanced him again on the draggy climb, which feels very slow on the grass!
We took a few turns setting the pace and on the 3rd lap I did a small attack just to see the response but I wasn’t willing to commit so far out from the finish, but I made the climbs uncomfortable to get ready for an attack later on.
I was getting really confident on the mixed surfaces, the new Vittoria Mezcals with the G2 compound has incredible grip which meant I could really push in the twisty mulchy turns, so heading into the final lap I attacked where “possibly” least expected, downhill into the first section of woods to open the gap and committed 100% this time and opened up 45 seconds to get a solo win.
This is my first year racing Southern XC and have really enjoyed the varied courses, no two races have been the same, so a big thank you for keeping it interesting and fun, if you are considering giving racing a try, give it a go!