I don’t really know where to start with this report, except to say it was a day when if it COULD happen, it DID happen. In fact this report is going to be about what happened to me, Phil and Jon – everyone else is welcome to fill in their stories… there should be a few!

Today was a bad day for:
• Thumbs
• Staying upright
• Punctures
• White kit
• Spectators and photographers

Today was a good day for:
• Sliding around
• Cake
• Watching everyone else fall off too

Conditions today were nudging the ‘epic’ bracket with gale force winds and sideways rain. Add to that a large helping of slick mud and you’ve got a rough picture.

Held at Sparsholt College, on a largely flat, grassy course with plenty of tight corners of either grass or mud to catch riders out. The laps were long and took in two wooded sections and a concrete starting straight.

Lining up for Sotonia in the Vets race were Jon Dudley, Phil Connell, John Phillips and me. In the seniors, Dave Belcher, Dan Edwards (in his first cross race) and Darren Sell were in attendance.

After hiding in the team bus as long as we dared, things quickly got ‘interesting’. Jon went over his bars on the warm-up lap, dislocating his thumb and had to be whisked off to Winchester A&E. In true-grit cross style, he was hoping a doctor could pop it back in and he could get back to race. Sadly, it being Sunday (ie. rugby day in Winchester) there must have been quite a queue for dislocated thumbs and he didn’t get released until late afternoon, complete with cast and permanant ‘thumbs up’.

The race itself was swings and roundabouts, after keeping rubber side down for the first two laps, I managed a proper moto-gp 20metre slide down a fast secton before recovering and then catching Phil, who had a puncture – he asked if he could borrow one of my spare wheels and I told him to go for it as we only had a lap or so to go. I wasn’t going to need it… or so I thought. The jinx of the double-tub-rolling struck and as I figured out how to finish – Simon Guard, missing today with a sprained ankle will surely be chuckling at this :), Phil then passed me, asking if I wanted the wheel back! I figured it was game over but tried to push the tyres back on the rims. To my surprise they stayed on and although I lost 6 or 7 hard-fought places, I managed to finish a couple of spots behind Phil.

In senior race I can’t say what happened but I do know that Dave got a thorn stuck in his tyre just before the start and like Jon it was all over before the gun. On the plus side, Jon’s wife, Ann made another delicious cake which went down very well and I won a bottle of wine.

To sum it up, it was one of those days that had you grinning from ear to ear and shaking your head at the same time… unless you were poor old Jon – heal soon mate!