This year’s Cannock Chase Classic was a special one for Run and Ride, in more ways than one.
Firstly, we were incredibly proud to be invited to co-organise the Midlands XC series event and take care of the course design and build, marketing and promotion for the day. As the first mountain biking event we were officially part of, we naturally wanted it to be special and set the bar high. Secondly, as a new outfit with a newly formed Performance Team, we desperately wanted our ‘home’ race to remembered for all the right reasons.
A record high number of pre-entry riders took part this year, over 400, so as well as being pleased as punch, the pressure was also on to make things run as slick as possible. It was actually something of a relief when Sunday morning rolled round… finally we were going to see if all our hard work was going to pay off. As it turned out, thankfully, we had little to worry about. It seemed that not even the ridiculously changeable weather could dampen the spirits of the riders, staff and spectators.
For our own Performance Team interest to really take hold we had to wait till 2pm when all the Senior Male categories got started. It was worth the wait. Matt Barrett & Ryan Henry put in sterling efforts in the Elite race. Matt finished in an respectable 10th place while Ryan was looking comfortable in 4th until he suffered a mechanical problem in the shape of a broken spoke after Lap 3.
Our home team interest was finished off in style though as Lee Gratton put in a fantastically strong performance in the ‘Sport’ category to bring home the win. In typical @1wheeled_wonder style, Lee showboated his way to the finish with a 40 yard wheelie to cross the line. Normally we’d say… “nobody like a show-off Lee”, however seeing as Lee played his part with hours of work on the course build we’re happy for him (& us) to enjoy his moment of glory! So far, Lee is now our leading Performance Team member with 2 podiums in his first 2 races (he placed 2nd in the Midlands XC Rd 1).
All that’s left is to say a huge thank you to everyone that raced, volunteered, manned a trade stand and simply watched the racing and enjoyed the day. We could not have done it without you. Rest assured though, this is just the start. We have no intention of sitting back now and giving ourselves a big pat on the back. Our next event is already in mind and we can’t wait to see you all again soon.
You can follow Neil on Twitter @NeilScriven