Unlike previous years where the Championships were run as part of the SXC series, this year they were run as a stand-alone event. It was the first time since 2002 this has happened, and it’s good to see the Champs get to be their own headline. Having no series to contend for, means that everyone between 18 and 30 (and above if they choose) gets to race for the senior championship. So sport riders got to join expert and elite riders to see how they stack up. This results in quite a healthy field, unlike the last two rounds.

I managed to sort out my knee niggles about a week and a half before this event, and with only one interval session in three months, I wasn’t expecting much. Even though I normally make the trip down to Drumlanrig, the venue, on the Saturday for a pre-ride, I didn’t feel my fitness warrantied the extra effort involved in the preparation. I didn’t even bother with a proper pre-ride on the day, riding only the first and last kilometer or so of the course. This wasn’t a worry as I know the ins and outs of Drumlanrig pretty well after racing there for ten years.

The gridding was a bit lacking, the commissaries just left us in whatever order we turned up in. This meant that Rab Wardell was back on the third row. Luckily things got off pretty cleanly, and Rab was back up the front where he was supposed to be. I totally overcooked it on the first half lap, with a mega-high heart rate on the descents as well as the climbs. I told myself to settle down and lose a few places.

The race was pretty uneventful, I was cruising the climbs and railing the descents with lots of confidence. After a few bad months it was nice just to be able to ride fast without pain. I was so chilled I even turned down Gary Macrae’s offer to get past him on a descent after he caught me on the way to the vets win (thanks Gary).

I eventually finished in 7th, in what turned out to be my longest XC race of the year at 2:19. Roll on next year!

Dave Henderson defended his title from last year, Grant Ferguson took the silver, and Rab the bronze.

Full results are on the SXC website.