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Report: Southern XC Championships

Report: Southern XC Championships
Posted August 2 2009

The Southern Area Championships and Round 5 of the Southern series returned once again to Chawton Park Woods near Alton in Hampshire. This time however the race had moved to a much improved arena site on the north side of the woods. From the arena the course dropped for almost a mile on fast, winding singletrack. The venue has recently been announced as the site for the 2010 National Cross Country Championships so there were a few riders keen to check it out, well over 300 in fact.

The course traverses two valleys deep in the woods which are a mix of ancient beech woods and more recent pine woods. The hills are short and steep but are frequent and relentless. The heavy rain through July had made the ground very wet leading up the race but on race day luckily the sun came out at last. This made the early morning races wet and muddy but the ground was drying quickly so the races around midday got harder as they went on with the sticky conditions. The afternoon races probably had it best with a nearly dry course with some nice smooth lines appearing.

Jenny Copnall and Adrian Lansley both took impressive wins in the Elite category. Lansley fighting off a strong challenge from Lee Williams who recently made it on to the podium at the National Champs in Scotland. Carla Haines and Sion O'Boyle took the Expert wins. In the Juniors is was Ben Roff taking the win ahead of Max Fileul.

The wet ground didn't keep the kids away, with racing starting around a specially designed course for the under 8 year olds. The youngest entrant was too young even to have a bike with pedals, although dad might have helped. In the Youth and Juvenile categories the racing was a bit more serious with Harvey Lowe, Harry Smith, Rachel Denman and Gretel Warner taking wins.

Round 6 of the series goes to the stunning Pippingford Estate near East Grinstead. You can get all event info and enter at, using the link in the top right corner.