Fourth national crown for Paul
PAUL Hopkins (Merida Factory Racing) secured an amazing fourth National Veterans title at the final round of the British XC Championships held Hadleigh Farm in Essex.
This year was especially tough with Paul facing fierce competition throughout the series from runner-up Ian Taylor, third place overall Marc Chamberlain and Crispin Doyle who was fourth overall.
The final round was held on the 2012 London Olympics MTB course and saw Paul finish in third, securing enough points to take the Championship.
Other local riders also did well in the Vets race, with Andy Parsons (Offcamber) finishing in 10th in the race and 19th in the series, while Nigel Brown (Westbury Wheelers) was close behind in 14th and 21st overall in the series. In the Masters Championship series Kim Little (Gillingham and District Wheelers) put in another strong performance gaining enough points to finish in fifth place in the series.
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The penultimate round of the Gillingham and District Wheelers' evening time trial series was held in perfect conditions on the 10-mile Todber-Manston-Stour Row course. Several of the riders recorded either course or season best times with Paul Hopkins once again the fastest rider with a quick time of 22:27.
Junior rider Neil Mackinnon knocked over a minute off his previous best time for this distance to take an impressive second overall and First Junior place with a new junior record time for this course of 23:26. Third place went to fast newcomer Chris Sylvan with a time of 23:47. Jane Pritchard was First Lady in 28:01 with Jenny Lucas runner-up in 29:40. Rowan Birch was second Junior and 9th overall in 25:32 while James Hywel-Davies was third Junior and 17th overall in 28:04.
The 'Wiggo' effect and Olympic legacy has no doubt contributed to a big increase in the number of junior riders competing in this local time trial series. All have improved throughout the season, with four of the six riders in this latest race setting new sub-30 minute personal best times. With just one round left the 2013 Junior Championship looks to be in the bag for Liam Teesdale.