Newnham Park, Plymouth was the venue for the second round of the National MTB Cross-country Series that took place on the weekend of 18th and 19th April.
However, before the weekend’s National action got underway, Newnham Park hosted its first night XC event as 39 riders lined up in the Moonlit Soggy Bottom XC race. On the first lap, Taw Velo’s Graham Garnsworthy was tied with Paul Rose of Dept.26 Mountain Biking Club and Mark Hudson of Kernow Riders. The three-way skirmish continued as darkness fell until Mark and Graham edged away at the start of the last lap. On the final corner though, Graham moved ahead of Mark and took 7th place in the Veteran category.
Taw Velo’s representation commenced on Saturday with Simon Harmer racing in the Fun Male category. A strong start saw Simon in third place as the 17 riders made their first accent of one of the many wooded climbs. Re-sighted later in race, Simon had slipped into fourth place. But, without losing further ground, Simon was unfortunate not to be on the podium; finishing only 25 seconds behind the second place rider from Lichfield City Cycling Club and 18 seconds behind Towy Racing Cycle Club’s rider in third.
Saturday evening saw 16 young riders take to the dry and dusty track for the combined U10s and U12s race. Freddy Birchill of Certini gave the spectators a masterclass in MTB riding; finishing over 2 minutes ahead of the second place rider from Mid Lancs BMX. Not to be outdone, Taw Velo’s Chuck Harmer demonstrated great technique and deserved to finish higher than his sixth place finish. In the U10s race, Taw Velo’s Ellen Garnsworthy lined up again Abergavenny Road Club’s Evelyn Higgins-Worrall. Although Evelyn was quicker over the 20 minute race, Ellen continued to ride hard and, as well as finishing in second place, her determination was rewarded by finishing ahead of a number of the older U12 riders.
With no Taw Velo riders racing on Saturday, Louis Garnsworthy was Taw Velo’s final representative for the weekend. Against nine other U8 riders, Louis had almost the worst start possible and left the start line in second-to-last position. Things didn’t immediately improve as Louis crashed, 30 seconds later, on the first major obstacle. Covered in dust and dirt, and now over a minute down, Louis had to work hard to make up ground. It took another two laps, but Louis eventually reeled in the lead rider, Jack Livesey, to take first place overall and his place on the British Cycling podium.