National champs 2021 Newnham Park - Plymouth

XC National Champs 2021 Newnham Park - Plymouth

Taking the opportunity to attend the national champs and spend a family holiday on the coast.  

The week started with a long drive down to the event for a Friday night track walk, needing to stetch the legs after the journey. Having accidently missed reviewing the rock garden an essential pre-race pactice lap and line choice on Saturday morning.

First up was Alison in the open category passing nearly half the men from the back of the grid and taking the win - photo from 

Richard Howes Photography 

Having only raced MSG this year I had no BC points and started on the back row of the grid in 38th place. Avoiding the risk of the rock garden and putting the effort into the many climbs I progressed my way up the field. Finishing 15th on the road and 8th in the age category. My best result ever at a national champs.

Never a dull moment with these around ....

MudSweatGears RD4 Thickthorn 2021 - a sweaty mess!

 MudSweatGears RD4 Thickthorn 2021 - a sweaty mess!

Our last MSG race for the year, as round five is not an option for us to attend. 

 Nate and Ali headed off for the practice lap and Lily and I went off to MSG registration to correct my administration error, having mistakenly entered myself for the Div1 males, Div1 female and U13 (i'm blaming autocomplete!) 

Even though the weather was hot and humid the wooded pit was still very loose in places and changed texture each lap. The lap was shorter than previous visits to Thickthorn with the fast bus stop chicanes long straights and a couple of A-lines keeping things interesting. I think most of my memories will be the 'sponge' like drag past the start finish line.

      Ali had a solid race coming in 3rd and setting up a good end of season result in Div1 and Vets.

Nate finished in the top 10, keeping consistant all year and Lily kept the cheering going all day long.. 

I had my best reult of the year coming in 7th in Div1 and 3rd vet. The last round will decide overall positions but we've all done a much as we can and had fun doing it!   

Chasing bubles in the woods

Basil Thornton




 Roots and rain - results and extended photos

MudSweatGears RD3 Haughley Park 2021 - sloppy seconds!

 MudSweatGears RD3 Haughley Park 2021 - sloppy seconds! 

Returning to Haughley Park on a slightly damp/drizzly fathers day.

With this being one on the closer venues to us we decided to get up early and finally give Ali that practice practice lap and Nate was happy to accompany her ..

Nate was up next in the U13's 

And finally the old man ... following the mantra of smooth is fast ..

On a mainly flat albeit very sloppy course, we were pleasently suprised that we had our best results of the series thus far. 

Basil Thornton




 Roots and rain - results and extended photos

MudSweatGears RD2 Twisted Oaks 2021 - the slip up!

MudSweatGears RD2 Twisted Oaks 2021

Round2 at Twisted Oaks was a new venue on the circuit and with all the trail features and jump lines available its was an excuse to pack the bouncer for Nate to have some fun post race. 

Using most of the XC loop with some great single-track and introducing a couple of leg busting climbs it suited both Ali and myself, although Nate wasn't so sure ;). We both did the same laps as the leaders, but unfortunately we didn't make the timing cut off.. 

At the end of Alison's race and the beginning of Nate the heavens opened and a mad dash back to the van for the rain coats ...

Nate likes the downs more then the ups! 

With the race start going straight up the start/finish climb and into a narrow bus stop bomb hole, getting into the front pack was essential to avoid any collisions or dismounts.  

MudSweatGears RD1 Haughley Park 2021 - the wake up!

MudSweatGears RD1 Haughley Park 2021

A very safe, welcome return to racing and some normality with MSG.

Category 1 for the women's and Ali was our first event. Testing the new bike for real and running well. This was after the very well attended male cat3s and 4s who loosened up the ground nicely. 

Nate was next up with an amazing result in the u13s gridded from the back and picking his way through the pack to a sprint finish to 8th place. 

I was the last out and was late into the socially distanced paddock. Thankfully gridded on the front row of the cat1 males. This wasn't expected but always happy to be there. With current form and returning from shoulder reconstruction / rehab, I settled into the pack and was extremely happy to finish with some good lap consistency and remain injury free.


John Styles
My pictures are on Flickr, for the morning races and, for the afternoon races.