Hammerfest cross-country race a big success

The weather was cool but dry for Sunday’s 20th running of the Hammerfest XC.

The start of Sunday’s Hammerfest XC.

The start of Sunday’s Hammerfest XC.

The weather was cool but dry for Sunday’s 20th running of the Hammerfest XC, just right for the big field of 98 riders that tackled ‘one of the funnest’ courses to date.

“That was really good — we weren’t expecting anything even close to that numbers wise,” Kebble Sheaff, president of the host Arrowsmith Mountain Bike Club, said after the dust had settled, confirming that Saturday’s Island Bike event helped bolster Sunday’s XC, adding “there’s a trail that’s been there for years which has just been re-worked this year. It’s so much fun,” he said, echoing what many others that day echoed, “it’s fast, flowy and really tight through the trees.”

The entire lap is eight kilometres, and the trail dubbed ‘Jughead’, which all the riders raved about, is about two.

“We’ve got a lot of people out today,” one local said looking on as the riders started to stage at the new start line, pointing out the series opened two weekends ago in Victoria with good numbers.

“Awesome course,” another reported through a huge smile as he pulled up alongside his pals to high fives after a pre-ride, “some great trails.”

“I heard it’s going to be over two hours; I’m just glad it’s on the cool side,” another older chap surmised as he looked down the slight hill at the start line.

The Hammerfest XC was broken into three categories — Beginner, Intermediate and Expert, with the Beginners doing one lap of the 8 km course, the Intermediates two, and the Experts three.

As expected, there were also a few pro riders in the mix with entries from up and down the Island and the mainland as well.

Thomas Skinner from Victoria was the top rider on the day finishing first in the field of 38 in the three lap Expert class at 1:45.50. Oscar Cope, 13, from QB, was the top local rider finishing fourth in the Beginner Men.