Race Report: UK Southern XC Round 1 - Checkendon

Apr 6, 2021
by Nick Bentley  

It seems like racing in the UK is a bit like busses, you wait for what feels like forever then two come along at once. Sunday saw the resumption of UK XC racing with the first round of the Southern XC series at Checkendon near Reading.

This was a good test of the feasibility of racing resuming in the UK throughout the summer with 506 riders participating all the way from under 10s up to the 50-59 age group. It has to be said that at no point did the event feel unsafe. The team at Southern XC, supported as always by British Cycling and their Commissaire, did an amazing job of laying out all the necessary precautions to ensure that not only social distancing was followed, but there was also plenty of hand sanitizer made available, with people sticking to mask-wearing in the main arena - it really was clear to see a lot of work and thought had gone into making sure an event of this size was safe.

This classic Southern XC venue is a super-compact course that’s relatively flat, making it great for both beginners having their first crack at mountain bike racing and more experienced competitors. Riders completed varying numbers of laps dependent on their category. The course was a mix of tight twisty woodland trails, with wide grass paths to allow plenty of overtaking for the fast riders and plenty of room for recovery time for everyone else. This course is definitely one for the sprinters with a long straight from the socially distanced start line up to the first corner. The kids racing, both the under 10s and the under 12s, took place on a small woodland course with the riders racing over 15 minutes and 25 minutes respectively.

The social distancing measures were well thought out and effectively put into place too.

Some things never change, the sound of riders warming up on rollers and turbo trainers is synonymous with XC racing the world over.

Socially distanced start lines seemed to work well

The sprint was on off the line

The riders were greeted by some tight grassy turns at the end of the first straight.

All the riders were super happy to be back racing, well on the first lap anyway.

James Styrin pushing hard along the open straight coming out of the first woods section.

The youth riders pushed hard all day.

Both the under 10s and the under 12s races were full of kids of all abilities just out having fun on bikes. I think sometimes the adults need to watch more kids racing just to realise that that's what it's all about, having a fun day on your bike.

Olivia Poole on her way to 2nd in the under 12 girls race.

Daniel Davies took the win in the under 12 boys race.

Riley Tonner seemed to be having more fun with each lap.

The youth section was not just full of riders from big cycling clubs but kids of all ages and abilities took part in the most fun race of the day.

The long, open straights allowed for overtaking.

James Britton carving through one of the many s-turns on the track.

Zoe Backstedt on her way to taking the win in the 17-18 girls race.

Jason Meaton showing even XC riders have style.

Joseph Wright's concentration face payed off with him placing 4th in the 15-16 boys race.

Alexa Hawkins sadly getting a long walk back to the start line with a mechanical.

A massive thank you to the medics who unfortunately had a busy day with a crash-filled first lap of race 6. A rider first went down during the start and had a suspected broken collarbone and while the medics were dealing with that injury more was to come. In the middle of one of the long straights about halfway through the first wood section of the lap lay a jump. This is where one of the worst crashes I've seen for a while happened. The crash was so bad I didn't even take a photo of it. A rider overshot the jump landing to flat on his front wheel went straight over the bars to the very hard compacted trail floor head first. Fortunately for this rider, 2 extra marshals had just arrived at the section and a full course red flag was issued as the medical team managed to treat and transfer the rider to an ambulance very quickly. I've said already how impressive the planning for covid restrictions was but this incident showed that the team at southern XC really are a very well organised team. Thank you to both them and the medics for keeping the riders safe. I don't have the names of the two riders who went down but I hope they both recover quickly.

Christopher Rothwell leading through the aforementioned jump after the restart.

James Pickeriing finished 12th today
Kishan Bakrania took 19th in the expert race.

Max Greensill pushing hard on one of the open straights.

Kirsty Spriggs riding for the Royal Air Force team. It's always good to see the armed forces out racing.

Peter Carpinter ended up 8th in the 13-14 boys race.
Richard Gorst leaning it in around one of the many twisting turns in the track.

Jason Bouttell finished 3rd in the men's elite race.

Yani Djelil on his way to 5th in the 17-18 boys race.

Max Greensill picked up the win in the 15-16 boys race.

the maze of twists and turns kept the riders on their toes.

Paul Hopkins with a well-earned 6th place in the 50-59 men's race.

Elite men

1st. Christopher ROTHWELL
2nd. Jason BOUTTELL
Expert Men

1st. Phillip PEARCE
2nd. David BONE
3rd. Thomas TIMBERLAKE
40-49 men

1st. Justin FEURER
2nd. Stephen MARLOW
3rd. Nigel DINNING
17-18 boys

1st. Joseph BLACKMORE
2nd. Nathan SMITH
3rd. William SMITH
13-14 boys

1st. Leon ATKINS
2nd. Oscar AMEY
3rd. Jacob STEED
60+ men

1st. Robert JACKSON
2nd. Andy FIRMAN
3rd. Nigel HERROD
FUN13-16 boys

1st. Matthew LAING
2nd. Alfie GRANTHAM
3rd. Matthew LEWINGTON
Sport men

1st. Joe TAYLOR
2nd. Joseph RICCIARDI
3rd. David JANES
50-59 men

1st. Paul HOPKINS
2nd. David KING-SMITH
Open men

1st. Andrew COATES
2nd. Will DIXON
3rd. Dominic BELL
15-16 boys

2nd. Alfie AMEY
3rd. Ben COPPOLA
Fun: 16+ men

1st. Gregory SMITH
2nd. Mark DAVIES
3rd. Robert BROWN
U12 boys

1st. Daniel DAVIES
2nd. joe CARPENTER
3rd. Noah SMITH
U10 boys

1st. Isaac VICKERY
2nd. Guy RORKE
3rd. Woody CLAYTON
U12 girls

1st. Katie ALLSOP
2nd. Olivia POOLE
3rd. Sage BEETGE
U10 girls

1st. Harriet BUTCHER
2nd. Eva GIBSON
3rd. Amy LONGDEN
3rd. Sophie LONGDEN
Elite women

1st. Sharn HOOPER
2nd. Holly MACMAHON
3rd. Maddie WADSWORTH
Expert women

1st. Emily BRIDSON
2nd. Jessica COBBE
3rd. Rachel CONNERNEY
Sport women

1st. Ellie MACKMAN
2nd. Joanne CLARKE
17-18 girls

2nd.Charlotte-Louise MCGREEVY
3rd. Daphne JONES
40-49 women

1st. Julia HAMLYN
2nd. Maxine FILBY
3rd. Helen NICHOLLS
50+ women

1st. Helen PATTINSON
2nd. Lydia GOULD
3rd. Kate DANCE
15-16 girls

1st. Libby BELL
2nd. Evie STEED
3rd. Phoebe ROCHE
Open women

1st. Olivia FITZ-POOLE
2nd Claire HAMMOND
3rd. Caroline MULLIGAN
13-14 girls

1st. Zoe ROCHE
2nd. Tulsi BAKRANIA
3rd. Zoe PARKER
Fun: 16+ women

1st. Erica CHAMBERS
2nd Judolene BERGH
3rd. Amanda SEDDON


  • 2 0
 Nice to see race reports.
Couple of mistakes Thou.
Paul Hoskins was first not 1st not 6th (last photo)
Hope tech rider "James Pickeriing finished 12th today" is not James it is Phillip PEARCE and won Expert cat

More phots/results www.rootsandrain.com/event9133/2021-apr-4-southern-xc-1-checkendon/results
  • 3 0
 Thanks sorry it’s been a long weekend I must be loosing my ability to read! Glad you like the report
  • 2 0
 @Mandownmedia: no worries, thank you for taking the time to do it and quickly!
Great to see racing started again in the UK.
  • 1 0
 @Mandownmedia: Same with Peter Carpenter - he was fourth - not eighth. No biggee though Smile Great picture - looks so happy to be back racing
  • 1 0
 Great write up of a great race. Kudos to Adam and the team for organising such a big, safe, super enjoyable event in these times.

Just to note that the mens 40-49 results are wrong and must have come from rootsandrain (also wrong) rather than the official race results site. Well done to Paul Lloyd for taking the win there.
  • 2 0
 Aww so I’m not going mad !! Haha
  • 1 0
 @Mandownmedia: roots and rain results are now fixed :-)
  • 1 0
 That second rider who had the worst crash you’ve ever seen was me I’ve recovered decently a week on from the accident but initially it was pretty bad resulting in a bleed on the brain, broken nose, loose teeth and some stitches needed next to my right eye. I’m just happy to be here at this point.
  • 1 0
 Wow man !!! Rest up I’m glad to hear your on the mend !!
  • 1 0
 @Mandownmedia: many thanks man
  • 2 0
 clicked on a pic of some dude doing a nice whip with triple crown forks on the front page. Wondered if downcountry had finally arrived. is dissapoint.
  • 1 0
 Haha yeah my bad it’s been a long weekend Wink
  • 1 1
 Was there an E bike category? hahahahaahaha

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