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Certini At Soggy 1

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Published: 22nd November, 2012

Soggy Bottom Round 1.

 Living on the doorstep of what we call the 'Sacred land' that is known as Newnham Park is a privilege and rather good luck.  So when Martyn Salt announced the dates for the 2012/2013 Soggies, well it would be damn rude not to don the lycra and pay homage, especially as it's been 10 years getting the rear end all moist! 

10 years! I know what you're thinking and I don't know where it's gone either.

Martyn and his team had been busy designing a traditional course, which was never going to disappoint any competitor of any ability.  Classic sections, as usual, were all that were being promised prior to the event and on the frost littered morning of the day, Cottage Return, River Crossing, Clif Climb, The Main Arena, ah the stuff we can only dream of!  So bearing that in mind where did he put the start?   At the bottom of the Clif Climb!  My god, within seconds of the race starting my lungs would be taking their normal second position where an exposure six pack would look rather nice.

As the second half of the day's racing drew ever nearer, the masses gathered on the start line in the normal chaos, which always leaves some lonely master marooned amongst the saga louts of the Southwest.

Having had the privilege of helping Maddie and Jay on the Saturday with a Newnham Park training session for the Southwest MTB Youth Development Team, I felt at an advantage over the other Vets and as the starting whistle blew our explosive efforts where only marred by the Master competitors who started some two minutes earlier and where now walking up the Clif Climb. The first lap traffic was normal for a Vets race and we soon stretched out through the single track like the usual Devon Conga all singing merrily away until a passing space arose.

It was 21 years ago I did my first race at Newnham and the only change since then is in 1991 the riders were all fast and the bikes were rigid and slow, nowadays it's the bike which is fast and me who is rigid and slow. 

Throughout my four laps, my usual race ding dong with Southfork Racings Nick Butler developed.  Our cat and mouse antics lasted right down to the last section of the race with Nick, once again, taking home the spoils to take a well-deserved third place.  (I'll get you Butler)!!

As usual, the event surpassed our expectations and for the Certini and Fully Sussed crowd it was a good day at the races.  Maddie and Jay, back racing for a change, both took top honours in their respective categories.  Dexter Hurlock won the expert male category and Kim Long (new recruit to the team) took first place in the female grand vet category.  Harry Smith took the last podium position for the team as third placed expert.

Martyn and your team, we salute you.  Well done for the first 10 years and good luck for the next 10.

Gary Andrews
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