A good turn out for all classes to compete the fourth round of the Oxford Ixion MCC Club Championship held in brilliant sunshine although the temperature dipped dramatically towards the end of proceedings as an easterly wind whipped up. The venue was the very popular Standlake Pits where course plotting was put to the test as many areas were flooded after recent persistent torrential rain. Ten tricky sections were plotted to be ridden four times with a variety of gravely banks- muddy climbs - fallen trees and steep cambered rooty hills.
Experienced Expert status riders traveled over from the extremities of the South Midland Centre to compete this event with Steve Swanson running out best Expert with a loss of 11. Four brilliant cleans at section four was not to be equaled all day on the hard route a steep drop before hopping over a log then a drop into a watery pit with a pivot turn necessary to line up a slippy climb. Rob Warner was runner-up on 14 with a five on section eight removing any chance of the win. Rob was inch perfect along the cambered rooty bank with a drop to a water splash no problem but the final steep angled ascent was fraught with danger and an innocent looking severed root was enough to catch him out and catapult him into the bushes.
Ryan Tomkins 250 Gasser was best Intermediate he was first up at section one setting the precedent for the day with a controlled clean. A certain amount of trick riding was required to achieve this but forward momentum was maintained as a soft leafy turn was negotiated before a double large low growing bough had to be judged at the right pace to have any chance.
On the middle yellow course there is always fierce competition and today was no exception with the circa 1980 TY of Alan Taylor doing the business over the new kit on show losing 6. Alan drew all of his experience and knew any slip-up at all would be costly so four great cleans at section ten was enough to validate the win by a single prod. This section was of value for money length starting with a couple of mulchy turns before crossing several ditches then a muddy gully and an awkward low branch.
Alex Taylor 300 Sherco had a good day with with best Inter on this route although an unfortunate five on section nine more than doubled his tally.
Two 'Western Centre Raiders' Nigel Tomkins and Richard Smith took the first two places on the gentlemanly sportsman route with Nigel going clean. With 10 marks separating the first six competitors there wasn't much room for error with section seven no bother for the top riders a steep grassy drop before a gravely climb then a wall-of-death bowl before gently inching down a very sharp camber then a loose sandy bank to the end cards.
Many thanks to the land owner and all the observers.
Report Ken O'Brien