Race Report – Army Cycling MTB XC Series Rd 3 Tidworth
14 June 2017

Kindly sponsored by Helyx

Yes again another Army MTB XC race was blessed with fantastic weather, over 200 riders attended this year’s Army Cycling MTB XC Championships held at Tidworth in Wiltshire.  The course was a challenging one, with several short but intense climbs to test the legs as well as some fun twisty descents.  A tricky A line challenged many riders, though the B line also required skillful riding to roll over.

Race 1 - First race away was the Army Championship race.  Here all riders from the various races who had a chance to be their category Champion lined up.  Also on offer was the crown of Army Overall Champion for both male and female riders, basically the first rider across the lines regardless of age or sub category. The start loop was just under a km and before the riders hit the first short sharp climb, so it was crucial to be at the front before this climb. Out of the start 4 riders quickly set the pace these being Maj Ficke, SSgt Loynes, WO1 Pearson and Cpl Craig with 2Lt Warner just dangling a few seconds back.  Halfway through the first lap Loynes retired with a mechanical with Warner still about 10 seconds back leaving Ficke, Pearson and Craig dueling out front.  The pace was high but each rider tried various attacks throughout lap 2, the subsequence of which saw Craig fall off the pace and in to 3rd Place. Ficke and Pearson went into lap 3 with Ficke having a lead of a few seconds over Pearson.  Pearson fought hard and caught the back wheel of Ficke and then waited for his time to attack.  However, it was still neck and neck into the last 500m and the winner would be decided by a sprint.  They were shoulder to shoulder all the way to the line but Pearson managed to find that little bit extra to get in front to take the win as The Army Champion and Male Master Champion, Ficke crossing the line a few seconds later took the prize as the Senior Male Champion.  


The racing was just as frantic in the Grand Master Category.  Maj Hendry and Capt Hale had close battles in Rds 1 and 2, this race was to be no different.   Hendry had a blistering start and soon put distance into Hale who had to work hard to bring him back which he did so half way into the lap.  First time into the A line Hendry rode through but Hale chose the B line which lost him 3 places and about 20 seconds on Hendry.  Hale again had to chase hard but by the end of lap 1 he was back with him.  Hale then decided to ride hard for lap 2 and despite Hendry valiantly chasing Hale managed to draw out a gap of about 30 seconds.  Through lap 3 the gap stayed more or less constant with the efforts of laps 1 and 2 beginning to tell.  Hale crossed the line 1st to be crowned the Grand Masters Champion. In the ladies race a battle was set between Maj Toop and Maj Laycock.  From the gun Laycock went off hard getting to the top of the first climb as first lady rider and then pushing hard through the first lap to attain a lead over Toop of around 30 seconds.  Throughout lap 2 Toop chased hard and bought the gap in by about 10 seconds but Laycok was still looking strong.  Into the 3rd and final lap Laycock held the 20 second gap and pushed harder to draw out the buffer. Toop saw this and battled in an attempt to pull her back.  Laycock was to hold her lead and cross the line first to take the crown of Female Army Champion.  In the junior men’s race OCdt Robinson pushed out hard chased by Spr Clayton and Spr Kick.  On the day though it was Robinson who was the strongest and crossed the line after 3 hard laps to win the Junior Male Army Championship.

Phillip Pearce attended the event, rode the course, then after answered questions and spoke with Army Riders.  He also awarded the prizes to the Army Champions, it was great to have him at our event inspiring the riders to be very competitive indeed. Phil is one of the UK's top MTB riders and we are honored to have him at our events, he is also an ambassador for Army MTB XC racing. We hope to see him at future events.

Many thanks to the series organisers Stuart Crighton and Coops for making sure the event ran smoothly as well as having the difficult job of ensuring the results are correct.  To Mark Wadham for helping set the course and the many helpers who assisted in dismantling the course and infrastructure once the racing had finished.

Lastly, to all the riders, you were amazing, you all tackled an extremely challenging course with some fantastic riding, many riders through themselves on the A line, a few crashed but they dusted themselves off and pushed on and then cleared it on the next lap.  It was great to watch you all and very rewarding to the organisers seeing you get the best out of the racing and smiling, though it may have been grimaces that we saw..... hopefully not.

Thanks to Tinks Taylor for some fantastic photos, please click here to see the full album 

And to our sponsors who help make this all happen

ABF The Soldiers' Charity



Army Sport Control Board

The 2017 Army MTB XC  Champions are;

Male Army Champion - WO1 Pearson 3MI

Female Army Champion - Maj Laycock 42 ENG

Male Junior Champion - OCdt Robinson EMUOTC

Male Senior Champion - Maj Ficke RMAS

Male Master Champion - WO1 Pearson 3MI

Male Grand Master Champion - Capt Hale - EMUOTC

The next race in the series takes place on 28 June 2017 at RMAS, hopefully the sun will be out and we will have another great turnout.


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