After a gap of three years, the League returned to MTB racing in Finsbury Park for the penultimate round in the post-lockdown mini-series.
With just two schools taking part, riders were able to compete in multiple races, boosting their teams’ standings with the extra points on offer.
Normally held in autumn or early spring, the track was a lot drier than in previous years. Despite the lack of mud, it was still a technical course which needed skill and confidence to handle at speed — and stamina for the uphill return straight.
The day saw expert bike handling by some riders who negotiated the twists and sharp turns with apparent ease. And there were the usual close finishes that make the races such fun to spectate.
The lack of riders on the day meant that some races were mixed categories, and the boys and girls races were combined in the three finals. It was great to see the girls giving the boys a run for their money, taking top spots in both the A and B finals.
Stroud Green maintained a comfortable lead over Risley (who were down two riders), winning most of the races (save the Boys 26”, which Risley dominated) and the team relay. Risley ended the day with 179 points, with Stroud Green on 265.
League standings after Round 3
But the fights to cross the line first are only part of the story.
In the day’s racing, we saw riders crash dramatically — and get back on and finish the race. There were riders who chased hard from the back, just so they could move up one place. And riders for whom just getting round the course was an achievement in itself.
So, while everyone races to win, what defines their win will not be the same for all.
The league’s final event this term will be on 9th July at Downhills Park.