UK number one Grant Ferguson to race in National Cross Country Series in Kentford this weekend
The UK number one Grant Ferguson will be the star attraction when the HSBC UK National Cross Country Series comes to Kentford this weekend.
The British mountain bike champion will be among the riders lining up for the fourth round of the British Cycling-affiliated competition, which takes place at Phoenix Cycleworks over Saturday and Sunday.
The Scot currently enjoys a 36-point lead at the top of the elite male standings after three rounds, having tasted victory in the last two rounds at Dalby Forest and Glentress Forest.
Ferguson’s expected appearance will only add to the excitement building at the Suffolk venue, which was created on land acquired between the A14 and the train track two years ago.
Graham Elliot, a director at British Cycling, who helps run mountain biking races in East Anglia, says despite being a predominantly flat area of the country, the sport is booming in Suffolk.
“Over the last 12 years we’ve seen East Anglia become one of the most vibrant and lively areas for mountain biking in the UK by some distance,” Elliot said.
“In 2017, 28 accredited British Cycling events were held across the region, the next best was 11 in Yorkshire.
“We’re very excited to be bringing this event to Suffolk.
“It’s a National Series race and it’s on the UCI calendar, so it’s a big deal.
“I’m more pleased for the guys at Phoenix for all the effort they’ve put in to help the sport grow around here.”
The two-day event will see a wide range of racing take place, headlined by the elite men’s and elite women’s races on Sunday.
Saturday’s programme starts with under-12s skills sessions at 12pm, followed by sport male and fun category races at 2.30pm, with official course practice running throughout the day.
An under-16s race gets Sunday’s programme under way at 9am, with a veteran men’s race at 10.45am and then the elite women (1pm), junior women (1.01pm), sport/expert and veteran women’s (both 1.02pm) races in the afternoon.
Scotland’s Kerry MacPhee leads the way in the elite female standings on 164 points, having secured top-three finishes in each race so far.
Amy-Jo Hansford, of Mud Sweat n Gears, is her closest challenger on 141 points, while rounds one and two winner Isla Short is third on 120 points.
The elite men’s race then gets started at 3.15pm, with the junior men (3.16pm) and expert men (3.17pm) races concluding the weekend’s action.
The competition culminates with the fifth round being held at the Royal Welsh Showground, in Builth Wells, on August 4-5.
l Elsewhere, the recent fifth round of the Mud, Sweat and Gears Eastern Series brought success for two Phoenix riders.
The under-9s race, which took place at Carver Barracks, in Essex, on May 27, was dominated by the Phoenix duo of George Collins and Bella Taylor, with Collins the first Eastern Region boy across the line and Taylor being the first girl to finish.