British Enduro Series Round 3 - Afan, Day One

Jun 12, 2016 at 2:14
by Ian Lean  





bigquotes The Afan Forest Park is a 48-square-mile forest park in Britain. It is set in the Afan Valley in Neath Port Talbot, in south Wales. It is well known for its mountain biking and hiking or hillwalking trails. - Wikipedia

With Britain experiencing glorious weather over the past week and a half, it was only fitting it wouldn't continue... Most of the competitors were likely expecting to be competing in dry, dusty conditions but with rain falling for the most part of Friday the exposed parts of each stage were a little greasy, catching a few riders out. With the forecast not looking too promising on the radar, we could be in for an interesting weekend of racing.

We're at the halfway stage of the 2016 series, the Elite men's category is still highly contestable with 5 of the top riders still in contention with Leigh Johnson (Marin/StansNoTubes) out in front. With the absence of Chris Hutchens, the contest this weekend looks like it'll be between Sam Shucksmith, Nikki Whiles and Matt Stuttard who is fresh off a 42nd place last week at the Fort William world cup. As for the Women, top spot looks set to go to either Martha Gill or Becky Cook in the absence of Tracy Moseley.

Qualification took place late afternoon on Stage 6 where the riders were greeted with sunny, humid conditions and a distinct lack of midges which was a nice change after being mauled alive for most of the day.

Men:
1st - Leigh Johnson
2nd - Sam Shucksmith
3rd - Nikki Whiles
4th - Matthew Stuttard

Women:
1st - Becky Cook
2nd - Martha Gill
3rd - Claire Bennett





British Enduro Series - Round 3 - Afan
Picturesque south wales countryside.

British Enduro Series - Round 3 - Afan
Some of the course under cover were still bone dry, others a little more greasy.

British Enduro Series - Round 3 - Afan
Hiding from the deluge of midges.

British Enduro Series - Round 3 - Afan
Won't be needing a dip in here this weekend, certainly no heatwave here this weekend!

British Enduro Series - Round 3 - Afan
Gorgeous scenery to be competing in.

British Enduro Series - Round 3 - Afan
Matt Stuttard fresh off his 42nd place at Fort William World Cup hucking parts of the course with ease.

British Enduro Series - Round 3 - Afan
Dappled light in the woods

British Enduro Series - Round 3 - Afan

British Enduro Series - Round 3 - Afan
Fast out of the gate.

British Enduro Series - Round 3 - Afan
Towards the end of the day, the sun decided to show its face.

British Enduro Series - Round 3 - Afan
The painstaking sprint to the finish causing all sorts of grimaces.

British Enduro Series - Round 3 - Afan
Martha Gill of Marin/Stans Racing 2nd in qualifying looking comfortable on the Afan 4X track at the end of stage 6.

British Enduro Series - Round 3 - Afan

British Enduro Series - Round 3 - Afan
Stage 2 is an open hillside with lots of loose rock and swooping corners.

British Enduro Series - Round 3 - Afan
Your Elite number 1 qualifier and current series leader is Marin/Stans Leigh Johnson.

British Enduro Series - Round 3 - Afan
Nikki Whiles another Marin/Stans rider, currently sitting in 3rd spot.

British Enduro Series - Round 3 - Afan
Carl Jennings putting the hammer down in the Vet category on his Whyte G-160.

British Enduro Series - Round 3 - Afan
Essential for riders on the race circuit, Shimano support keeps competitors on the hill.

British Enduro Series - Round 3 - Afan
GT85 are here on hand to assist riders on a free jet wash this weekend. Wonder if many riders know that former Trials legend Martin Hawyes is the man behind that...

British Enduro Series - Round 3 - Afan
Ian Austermuhle of Hope Tech on board the new carbon dream machine.

British Enduro Series - Round 3 - Afan

British Enduro Series - Round 3 - Afan
By mid afternoon trails looked like this but, question is will they look quite as good in the morning?

British Enduro Series - Round 3 - Afan
This was the sight as the day came to a close, with thunderstorms predicted tomorrow we could see these heavy clouds unload.

Tune in Sunday evening for a full report of the days finals. Will we see the Marin/Stans duo Leigh Johnson and Nikki Whiles go 1 & 2? Or Sam Shucksmith spoil the show? With only 3 Elite Women on course today they'll all be sure of a podium, but who will take the top spot?




3 Comments

  • + 6
 For our American cousins; a midge is a tiny insect, typically the size of the ball end of a 2.5mm hex key, with teeth the size of a great white shark and the venom of a cobra, that will leave you itching and scratching for a week. No joke...
  • + 0
 They're just a minor annoyance to me generally, and the effects are short lived. I think some parts of America call them no-see-ums, IIRC.

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