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Horsfield dominates in Ferry Reach

Mountain Bike Championships (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Robin Horsfield successfully retained his national title in emphatic style at Bermuda Bicycle Association’s National Mountain Bike Championships at Ferry Reach, St George’s, yesterday.

A highly anticipated male open race pitted defending Horsfield against nearest rival Dominique Mayho, who had already won the two races he had competed in locally this season.

However, amid blustery conditions, Horsfield, who studies in Barrie, Ontario, and specialises in the mountain bike discipline, demonstrated his technical prowess by winning comfortably in a time of 1hr 07min 42 sec, slightly over seven minutes ahead of Mayho, with Brian Steinhoff taking third place in 1:20:45.

The 20-year-old spoke of his delight at keeping his crown and highlighted the newer, more challenging technical aspects of the course as the key factor in his impressive victory.

“I was delighted with the race, the course was really challenging and I loved riding it,” he said.

“It was hard to start with because Dominique was pushing the pace early on with some high speeds, but once I managed to get ahead it played to my advantage.

“The technical elements of the course really played to my strengths and thankfully I could make the most of them because Dom is a really strong racer on the straights.

“My lap times were consistent and that’s always the aim, keep the pace strong, don’t lose anything and remain consistent throughout.

“I’m really excited to be national champion again and hopefully that will put me in good stead for the start of the season back in Canada.”

Mayho, who is renowned for his road racing exploits, conceded he had no answer for Horsfield’s greater mastery of the discipline and hailed the victor’s enviable performance.

“This new course was really challenging and Robin was just on another level when it came to the technical elements,” Mayho said.

“Today you could see the difference between someone who rides a mountain bike and a guy who races a mountain bike, he was in a class of his own.

“On the first lap I tried staying in front of him but once he got around me and opened up the gap that was it really.

“I tried chasing him down but I realised I had to try and just maintain second place because I couldn’t catch him.

“That was challenging mentally because I want to win every race, but I had to set aside my ego and finish the race because it would be disrespectful just to give up.

“The downhill section has become a lot harder; it is really technical, and seeing Robin’s performance, knowing how hard the course is, makes it even more impressive.

“When you’re in control of a race, you can maintain a pace but when you’re chasing it becomes a lot harder.”

The morning also consisted of four other championship categories including junior male, junior female, male masters and female open. Caitlin Conyers lived up to her favourites’ tag heading into to female open race, to take the honours in 1:04:04 ahead of Nicole Mitchell and Zina Jones.

“The course was super difficult today and it was really windy so certain areas were incredibly hard to ride on,” said Conyers, who will be representing the island in road racing at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru in July and August.

“It was a good course with a lot of technical elements which was challenging. I’m not known for my technical ability so that was a really good test.

“I haven’t been out a lot for the mountain biking this year but I really wanted to take part in the national championships.

“The mountain biking can be a lot more fun but technically it is very different to the road racing. It is something I really want to work on because I think it will benefit my road racing.

“I get criticised a bit for just coming out for the championship races but I wanted to challenge for a trophy.

“It’s a shame Ashley Robinson couldn’t come out because she is the best technical mountain biker and that would have been a great challenge for me.”

In the junior male category, Nicholas Narraway led from start to finish to claim victory in 51:07, two minutes ahead of Alexander Miller in second place, who finished a further three minutes ahead of Keiran Malitt to complete the podium places.

In the masters male category, Hans Hirschi was in contention for victory until a blown tyre ended his hopes of a podium place at the least. Charles Swart proved the eventual winner in 1:10:08 ahead of Grant Goudge in 1:12:54 and David Byrne, who crossed the line in 1:13:47.

Results, Page 32