An ecstatic Andrew Blair bagged his first Real Insurance XCM Series win when he crossed the finish line first, smashing the Convict100 course record.
A better day for a race on the Convict100 course could not have been dreamed up! A fresh misty morning turned into a beautiful dry sunny day in St Albans for the third event in as many weeks in the Real Insurance XCM Series.
Slick event organisation by Maximum Adventure saw around 3,000 riders and spectators seamlessly fit into the tiny town, creating a buzzing and exciting atmosphere.
A heavily loaded Elite field once again lined up with Series leaders Shaun Lewis and Jenny Fay surrounded by riders like Adrian Jackson, Andrew Blair, Jason English, Matt Fleming, Andy Fellows, Ben Mather and Trenton Day to name but a few. The previous 2 weeks of back to back racing unfortunately knocked 2011 Series champion Dylan Cooper off his best form rendering him unfit to start due to a cold.
It was a fast start as usual with Matt Fleming looking eager to attack as he put his foot down from the word go. However it was Ben Mather who lead Trenton Day and Adrian Jackson over the KOM climb. With 3rd over KOM Jackson earned a vital point and took lead in the KOM competition over Shaun Lewis. Andrew Blair, Andy Fellows, Jason English and Anthony Shippard were not far behind. Series leader Shaun Lewis was still in the mix but was in visible difficulty, also nursing a cold. It was not meant to be for Lewis who sat up soon after the KOM and returned to the start line to see who would take the leader's jersey off of his back, going into the 4th leg of the Series.
In the final few kilometres it was Blair and promising youngster Trenton Day fighting it out, but Blair proved too strong crossing the finish and breaking the course record by over 9 minutes. This also places Blair in the overall Series lead going into the 4th leg of the Series - the Stevens Bikes Husky100. Day came in second, also breaking the course record and establishing himself as one to watch should he be able to juggle his road calendar to do more XCM Series events. Third place was taken by defending Convict100 champion Ben Mather, who we will undoubtedly see more of as he regains his form before the end of the Series. Adrian Jackson and Anthony Shippard rounded off the top 5.
The ladies race was once again dominated by Jenny Fay who seems to be in a class of her own this year. Fay was first over the top of the QOM ahead of Becky Mates and Janet Martin and went on to finish a very impressive 20th overall, almost 20 minutes ahead of Mates. Mates will wear the Queen of the Mountain jersey at the Husky in 6 weeks time.