By Luke Webber
“The biggest and strongest women's field the British Mountain Bike Series has ever seen” is how organiser Martyn Salt describes the international entry so far for round two of the Freerange Sports Optics XC, this weekend at Sherwood Pines. The lure of big UCI points has been enough to entice two riders who are top ten in the world, along with the best UK talent making up over 100 female racers for the weekend.
Race favourite will be Kiwi Rosara Joseph who, after finishing 15th at the first World Cup is sure to be chasing her first UK win after getting pipped in Round One. America's Mary McConneloug will however be hoping to change that; ranked fifth in the world it will be interesting to see if a flat race at low altitude will suit.
Representing the Euro's will be Slovakian Janka Stevkova, who at UCI rank 21 will be a good outside bet to spoil the party. Aussie Kate Potter will be hoping for a podium on the course she designed, while Jenn O'Connor (New Zealand) is sure to be in contention.
Heading up the battle on the home front will be round one winner and rising star Amy Hunt. After coming back to the mountain bike fold Amy has had some exceptional performances and this weekend will be hoping to thwart the foreign contingent once more.
Our other big hope comes in the form of national champion of everything, Jenny Copnall. After a steady start to the season Jenny is ramping things up with a better performance at the first World Cup and her eye on a place at the World Champs later this year.
Alongside Amy and Jenny there are several other strong riders, including Sophie Johnson, Liz Scalia, Tarja Owens and Ruth McGavigan - all will be aiming for the podium on a course that promotes such close racing!
There really has never been a better race on English soil so come and see how the fastest ladies on two wheels do, this Saturday, Sherwood Pines. The Elite gun goes at 12noon, with racing and entertainment throughout the day - full details on www.xcracer.com