Vauxhall Motors Cycling Team – another busy couple of weeks with 7 days of racing including the European Marathon Championships!!!

June 18, 2014

It’s been another busy couple of weeks with 7 days of racing including the European Marathon Championships. The highlight being Isaac recording his career best result with a 6th place at the British Cycling XC National Series against strong competition. Here’s a roundup of the last few races.

On Sunday 8th June Sam and Isaac raced round 5 of the Southern XC Series. Here’s Sam’s take on the race.

“The course at the Queen Elizabeth Country Park was made up of two large climbs and two long descents, which made for hard racing. Off the start I felt comfortable and was in 3rd place up the first singletrack climb, going down the first descent I had a small bike issue and had to stop to fix it loosing time and momentum. I then had to put in a big effort on the first climb which I think I paid for during the next laps. It was a warm day so nutrition was important, I had a USN Vooma gels every half an hour and 250ml of USN Cytopower each lap.

“With the bike problem not going away I decided to ride the descents smoothly and push on the climbs. For the next few laps I rode with Lee Williams and George Budd. On the last lap I pushed the pace up the first climb into the descent and had a small gap onto the last big climb. Lee caught me at the top but I managed to hold him off down the descent to the finish. Happy to finish 4th and to have been in contention for the podium. After the last few weeks of hard training I know feel a lot better prepared for the next few races.”

On Sunday 15th June Ben raced European Marathon Championships, “this was my second big goal of the year so travelled out to Ireland on Wednesday to get some good practise around the 93km lap which began at the Ballyhoura Forest trail centre. The event deserves praise for the fantastic circuit they put together and the perfect organisation. Event promotion was everywhere including on the aeroplane with British rider Sally Bigham the face of the advertising. The trails were wet when I practised the course on Wednesday and Thursday so I was pleased to have packed my Weldtite cleaning and lubricant products for the trip. By Sunday the sun had dried up the course and spectators could enjoy getting a suntan.

“Although the field was relatively small compared to events over in mainland Europe all the main riders where here. I lined up on the third row next to Olympic champion Jaroslav Kulhavy thanks to my top 20 results at this year’s Marathon World Cup. After sitting on the wheels of Kulhavy and Christophe Sauser I was top 15 heading into the first singletrack but this is where things started to go wrong. Whilst a gap opened to allow the Specialized duo through at the first singletrack bottleneck there were no such openings for me. On the next climb my legs felt like led and my heart rate wouldn’t go over 165bpm, I thought it would improve as the race went on. 20km on and no improvement, I normally average a heart rate of 165bpm. 40 kilometres in and bang I was on the ground, I small innocent slide on a gravel corner resulted in a big hit and a snapped set of handlebars. Race over. It’s disappointing to DNF at any event, let alone an international race, especially a continental championship. At least I didn’t break any bones, my poor bike can be fixed. All I’m left with is an expensive travel bill, a black eye and some extensive grazing. Onto the next race! It wasn’t all disappointing news for the Great Britain riders though with Sally Bigham winning a fantastic silver medal just 30 seconds off gold, congrats Sally!”

Between the 12th and 15th June Tim raced the 4 day UCI Alpen Tour in Schladming, Austria, here’s how Tim got on.

“Wow, that was hilly! 4 stages all featuring big mountains, we don’t get many hour long climbs in the UK. Most of the racing was on fireroad but there were some great singletrack sections where I was able to make up loads of time on the Scott Spark 900 RC. It took me a few days to find my nerve on the very fast loose, fireroad descents, definitely a technique to hitting those loose corners at speed! Most days I was locked in battle with the same few people which made for some pretty exciting racing. A couple of the stages also finished down the last part of the Schladming World Cup Downhill course which was pretty intense at the end of a marathon. My only regret is I was a little over geared for the time trial, really could have used a smaller Rotor Q-ring. Very pleased with 26th overall in a quality field.”

On Sunday 15th June the 3rd round of the British Cycling XC Series took place at Margam Park, Wales. Warm sunshine and dry trails greeted racers. Sam and Isaac were there representing the team. Isaac reports:

“The elite men had 7 laps of a physically and technically demanding track. Off the start I felt good, and rode a lot of the race with road pro Dan Fleeman. He dropped off the pace after 4.5 laps so I was left to hunt down the top 7 riders. Our Rockshox Sid forks worked great over the rocky trails and definitely helped make up time on my rivals on the descents. Current world number 4 Dan McConnell won the event. I was really pleased to secure my best result ever finishing 6th place. A huge improvement on round 1′s 16th, looking forward to Sherwood Pines on the 13th July.”

Sam rode well but could only finish 18th whilst managing illness picked up during the week.


Next event for the team is 29th June where the team will ride the full 75km marathon event at the Scott MTB Marathon Series in Shropshire.

Thanks to our fantastic sponsors for their continued support.

Follow the team on Facebook. T eam/330790256947713

Mountain Trax – Vauxhall Motors Cycling Team Rider Roster.

Ben Thomas, Isaac Pucci, Sam Stean, Tim Dunford


Words… Ben Thomas


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