Whilst those of you on the internet continue to cry out “wheres the rain” those racers in attendance have been able to see the elemental track changes from just a taster of drizzle. A late storm yesterday and a deluge in the night saw a wet, greasy track come racing this morning for the junior men and masters fields.

Some carnage reigned in the rock garden but not too much, with injuries minimal, the rest was pure hard racing. There was some impressive riding from young star Riley King in U17's a clear winner over half a minute ahead. Beating the field on his eight year old Scott and in his boardies and tshirt no less. Bringing some old school style to juniors racing.

Masters 5,6,7 and 8 bled amongst the other racers, of both their own and other categories as they fought for postion. David Harris made a strong charge to take out Masters 5 ahead of Tony Tucknott. Masters 6 saw some competive racing between Brett Stevens and John Henderson, the later finishing just 41 seconds off the pace.Whilst Masters 7 and 8 were won by John Allison and Guy Falla respectively.

By late morning the Women were on track, the sun was out in force along with copious amounts of sunscreen, the trails drying beneath them. Zoe Cuthbert showed that her Trek sponsorship has only sped her on, putting a nearly four minute deficit to take out U17's. Whilst younger Maizy Evans seems to be a name popping up everywhere this weekend, her turn of speed earning her the U15's National jersey.

The masters Women fields were strongly contended with Jayne Rutter sealing the win well ahead of the battle of Jodi Mayled and Joanne Koy. Masters 3, 4 and 5 were won with decisive victories from Meaghan Stanton, Wendy Snowball and Jo Worrell respectively but it was the win of Sharon Heap that truly stole the day. In a categorie alone in Masters 6 she rode like the rest the rest of the field were her competitors, ever on the hunt.

In the final act of the day Expert riders and the remaining Male Masters categories dogged it out in style. Earth shook and deathly moves were made, even in the middle of the rock garden. No one wanted to miss out on a chance of wearing that green and gold. Troy Garth took home the win in Expert men despite a rather nasty crash. Meanwhile Simon Frederikson seemed to be the name on the airwaves as he stole an almost seven minute win in Masters 1, while the hotly contested Masters 2 was taken by David Penhaligon in a tough battle with Peter Horwood. Geoff Vietz and Paul Brodie bringing home the jersey in Masters 3 and 4.

Sweat dripping and spectators cheering day one of the xco racing has come to an end. With a shifting forecast on rain, the track enters the night dry but who knows what tomorrow will bring. Stay tuned for the final show down of the National Championships XCO with the Elite Men, Women and juniors.

Words and Photos: Robert Conroy