The Manx Mountain Bike Club held the 5th round of the popular Bikestyle Winter series at Arrasey Plantation on Sunday 9th February. The course followed an anti-clockwise route around the plantation taking in the snake like twists of the End to End route down though the trees before being shot out on the fire road at the bottom. Conditions were far from perfect, the course was very wet and muddy most of the way around and an industrial strength headwind forced the competitors to push hard over the exposed section, that being said, the fact that the sun made a rare appearance and the rain stayed well away was indeed welcome.
As normal very little change in the top spot, with local fireman and one time professional racer Elliot Baxter taking the honours with no real threat from second placed Steve Franklin and Mark Blair chasing hard and starting to make ground on Steve in the latter stages arriving in third.
Despite having difficulty avoiding the trees Les Corrin took command of the Expert category winning with a margin of 6 minutes over second placed Scott Morgan. A titanic battle between old friends Graham Hughes and Guy Whaley bore itself out with the latter managing to hold on to the finish third despite Graham's best efforts.
The closest racing was in the sports category with less than a minute between the first three places. Glynn Thomas beat Matt Garside by only 17 seconds with third placed Mark Hutchinson again 17 seconds behind Matt.
The win in the Novice class was awarded to Peter Houghton finishing 5 minutes ahead of Andrew Jones in second and Ron Guest in third.
Another no contest in the junior race with Nick Corlett rocketing around the course to finish 5 minutes ahead of Joe Haddock, Joseph Ricciardi tried hard to grab the second place but despite some great riding had to settle for third only seconds behind.
Finally the Youth category saw Nathan Hinks and Peobe Ferguson both manage to ride very well around the demanding course to finish first and second.
Of course we need to thank everyone involved, the marshals and race officials, course designers, Fiona for playing mum and indeed the Red Cross for support. Having said that non of this is possible without those who got up early on a Sunday and came to Arrasey to take part, it makes it all worthwhile.