Pearce Cycles #6 – Hopton Woods – Race Report

Check out our race report and photos from another top event at Hopton Woods from the Pearce Cycles crew

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Can you believe it’s the end of another seasons racing? Well for many the last Pearce race of the year signifies the seasons end, and what a season…… more Gwin domination, a new world champion, a new British champion and some stand out performances by young British riders a regional and National events.

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Round 6 of the Pearce series this year was held at Hopton Castle, a venue that has been used for many years but never disappoints, especially with all the work that the hero that is Dave Pearce had done to the track. The track on the far right of the hill was used and had been given a much needed face lift after a few years of neglect. Riders were quickly enjoying fast runs of the relatively simple track, however as the day progress and speeds increased riders were finding the track more complex the faster they went.

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As ever the fleet of Land Rovers were running faultlessly which meant even when the que was at its biggest you were only waiting 15minutes max! This being the last race of the year many riders were making the most of the rapid turn around and glorious sunshine and were easily getting in 10+ runs. Even that amount of riders passing over it the track held up well, and when there was any damage to the track the team were on it in a second.

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Saturday practice was over before we knew it and then the focus was turned from bikes to balls, as all the locals dashed home to watch the biggest game of the rugby world cup – England vs Wales. With the large number of Welsh riders at the race there was a “lively” atmosphere in the pits throughout the evening, especially around the TV that playing the game.

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As the dust settled on a game to forget for the English the sun was rising on the hill and doing a fine job of burning off the morning mist. Yet again riders were blessed with the quick uplift and many people were getting 4 runs in during morning practice, although only the brave got up first thing to go out on the greasy track.

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As ever the venue was set up perfectly to allow good spectator access and build an atmosphere around the finish area for racing. There were large numbers of people stood watching on the steeper bottom section of the track and the way the finishing straight went straight through the middle of the pits meant everyone had a good view of what was going on. This was made even better by the massive Redbull tent that was set up by the finish allowing riders and friends to chill out on and enjoy some of the free drinks!

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As this was the last round of the year there was more than just the race win at stake, all weekend there was chit chat in the uplifts about who was where in the overall and who could win it…. Or in some categories who could fight for the scraps after certain riders had already won the overall with phenomenal consistency throughout the year.

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Up first was the juveniles, this category has been a close battle between local lad Harry Barret and Atherton academy rider Morgan Tyrrell. The overall was still up for grabs, so the win was crucial. Morgan came out on top on the day with a time of 2:22.

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Youth boys were next, or should we say the Matt Walker show? This series overall was already wrapped up with 8 out of 12 runs counting towards the points total, and with Matt already on a perfect score of 1000 there was only really one outcome. Matt took and impressive win with a time of 2:04 which also landed him the third fastest time of the day. Joe Breeden took second in the race and 2nd overall whilst Jake Gaskell knocked Nat Nott down to 3rd on the day but the overall stayed the same with Nat in third and Jake in 4th.

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The junior mens race was a close fought affair between Charlie Hatton and Alistair Warrell with Charlie coming out on top with a time of 2:08. Warrell came in a very close second and Nathen Foster came in for third. The overall was taken by Hatton with Tom Davies in second and local boy Robin Spence in third.

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Dave List took a convincing win in the masters category in both the race and overall. Pete Crookes and Adam Smith took second and third in the race and then Jon Brain and Neil White round out the podium for the overall.
In senior the race results were just a mix up of the overall results, with Lewis Boyce taking the, Matt Barret taking second and Daniel Maxey taking third. However the overall results read Maxey, Boyce and Barret after a close season of racing between the trio.

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For someone the expert race was one to write home about. The domination of Shaun Richards has been demoralising to most but with a bit of perseverance someone did manage to take him down and stop him from getting a perfect score in the overall. Will Weston managed to sneak the win in his second race run meaning that Richards could was restricted to 796 out of a possible 800 points in the overall. The race podium was rounded out by Mike Spence in 3rd and the overall was a good reflection of a long years racing with Shaun Richards on top, Zac Blackwell in second and Will Weston in third.

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The elite mens race was dominated by the return of new farther Marc Beaumont, who took the fastest time of the day with a 2:02. He edged out a charging Matt Simmonds and Adam Brayton in the race podium. The overall was a close affair between Rob Smith who took the win and Ash Maller in second and James Hughes in third.

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On behalf of all the riders who entered the series I would like to thank Dave and Lindsey and all the other crucial staff for their relentless work that has created this amazing series. The 2016 race dates have been released and riders are waiting with baited breath to find out the how and when they can enter!

Words By Ben Nott
Photos By Sarah Barrett Photography