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The latest from Maldon rider Russ Welch on his 2014 MTB Season so far.

Russ Welch continued his MTB campaign at MSG 3 Codham park.

MSG Round 3 - Codham Park 

On the same site as round 1 of the national point series but on an excellently reworked course providing a much more flowing route with some added technical features.

Chances of a podium were slim as Antony White (xcracer) the uk's top vet and Dan Howe turned up to play in the codham dust along with Nick Ainsworth(aero cycles) and Chris Hunter (EHF Racing) both of whom had the better of Russ in round 2.

From the gun Russ managed to stay with the lead group of five for the majority of lap 1 a significant improvement on previous rounds but the pace began to toll and Russ settled into a more comfortable rhythm dropping back from 4th place Hunter by about 30 seconds at the end of lap three. Feeling good Russ pushed on in lap four and gained 15 seconds or so back but Hunter spotted this and extended his lead back out. The race was cut short by a lap due to the lack of medical cover caused by an earlier crash and everyone gave it there all on the now early last lap.  Positions held with Ant taking the win from Dan. Nick and his trade mark camel back under his jersey in third. Chris holding off Russ who took 5th.

After missing round 2 of the nps (Cornwall too far to go in a day and back.) Russ just clings onto a top twenty national points position for vets.

Beastway Evening Series (Hog Hill) 

The following Wednesday he traveled 20mins from work to race at the beastway evening series (hog hill.)  lining up with the vets some way down the grid he was a little disappointed to find that it was no a mass start event like days of old at the lee valley site but a gridded affair. With expert and juniors heading out first and being allowed a decent gap before masters were then set off and the a further gap before the vets were released. 

A half lap tussle with old friend and MAD cow racer Graham Pentney with much banter about wheel sizes and corner speeds taking place before the first climb open an easy 10 second gap which sealed the debate. 

Head down with the gap expanding Russ turned his attention on chasing the leaders down clear that none of the vets were going to cause trouble. With an hours racing and the leading juniors and experts having a 90 second or more head start and no field to climb through it was going to be a tough ask. However after 45 mins Welch had cleared the masters field completely and already taken back two of the experts finishing the race in 4th overall behind two experts and a junior James Flury (vicious velo)

Beastway remains an excellent intro into MTB Racing and the organisers have an any bike (that's safe) policy so you can ride your cross if you wish.  A more relaxed attitude pervade the event which includes kids events. If you are thinking about MTB racing for the first time you could do a lot worse than head down one evening. google Beastway will get you all the details.

For The Remainder Of The Season

Attentions now turn to the next 8 weeks which see several races at XCO distance at national and regional level and in late July a 24hr solo. 

Russ's early season aim of a top ten vets nps score is looking shakey now with a miss at the up coming Margam park nps round due to family commitments. Sights set on staying in the top twenty seem more realistic. 

Russ would like to extend a big thank you to Fluid Cycles for their continued support