The start was dodgy with a slight downhill sprint off the line straight into a tight right hander on recently cut dry grass. It was pretty loose coming in at full gas from the gun but I managed to navigate it safely and from there sat in 4th place round the start loop moving up into second wheel into the first single trail section.
Over the first lap Anton Cooper and I set the pace and we opened up a slight lead halfway through. I ended up riding in the lead over the next few laps working hard to build on the gap to the chasing group and trying to keep Anton in check in the single trail.
By halfway through the six lap race we had a pretty safe advantage over everyone else and it was clear it was going to be just the two of us battling for the win. During the 4th lap Anton attacked and even though I had been expecting it I was caught a little unprepared and was immediately on the back foot and struggling to close the gap. I seemed to be able to match him on the open grass parts but once back in the single track he clearly had the advantage and quickly built an unassailable lead. I rode hard chasing but eventually finished up 1min 38seconds behind in second place.
So although a second for the weekend it was still a successful race with the points earned enabling me to take the overall National Cup win for 2013. It was also a good last test before the National Championships this weekend in Rotorua. I have been training well including countless laps of the course and with the form looking good things are on track for a good day so I am pretty excited about the weekend and can’t wait to race.
Photos: Simon Watts/bwp.co.nz/bikeNZ © Simon Watts/bwp.co.nz/BikeNZ.