The South of England championships for the Central, South and South West regions was held today at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Didcot (the UK’s version of CERN, minus Hadron Collider by the looks of things) on a challenging course as befits a Championship race, that could have been cooked up by the nutty professor himself – it wasn’t. That accolade went to Didcot Phoenix CC’s Mervyn Hughes look-a-like, Australian MC, strapped up to a megaphone and shouting ‘encouragement’ to any and all racers throughout the day to much amusement.

Based around a huge grassy hill of old construction rubble with a Euro-style two stories worth of steps to climb, followed by another 25% climb then several nasty off camber turns and a steep decent to test the nerve of the riders, the starting straight also featured a block headwind to top things off.

Sotonia fielded three riders in the Vets race – Jon Dudley, John Phillips and Jez Hart. A mere 138 riders lined up for the combined vets/women/youth race which was thankfully gridded and with separate starts. The race itself was won by Crispin Doyle, Jon D 70th and John P 79th – both really good results as they had to start from the back of this enormous field, Jez finished in 48th.

A world away from the last round and the endless grassy laps of Thruxton, all agreed this venue is tougher but definitely worth experiencing!

Pic courtesy of Siobhan Butler

Full BC report and photos: Graham Robins