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With points and places up for grabs the Mondraker XC team headed to round 4 of the Natonal XC series in South Wales. The sun was well and truly shinning and the racing was hot and dusty. Check out how they got on here

National XC Round 4 - Margam Park, Wales

Report by - Dexter Hurlock - Expert

Jumping in the van at 5.45am Sunday morning for the three and a half hour drive up to Margam Park we were eager and excited. The sun had just come up and we were feeling fresh ready for some South Wales racing action. The course at Margan was going to be very hot and dusty and the racing was going to be very competitive as always.

I was going to be up against some stiff competition in the expert category as riders look to stack up as many points as possible with only a few more XC races left in the calendar. Knowing the heat was going to be relentless, the course technical and the climbs gnarly it was going to be no walk in the (Margam) park!

Due to my series position I was gridded 2nd on the line and was happy with the position I was in as we waited for the start. The gun fired and the expert field sprinted into the 1st corner. I kept my inside line and found myself in the lead group of 7 or 8 riders. Looking around to see who would be up for an early break I could see Pucci and Gratton going well and looking to break. I Knew these were the guys I needed to stay with so into the first steep section Pucci, Gratton and I got to the front and started setting the pace. After half a lap it became apparent that we had already dropped the chasing riders and Gratton took the opportunity to up the pace. For the next couple of laps we worked as a team adding more time to our lead. I was finding it hard to settle while climbing at Margam and lost 2 minutes in one lap on Pucci and Gratton as the heat the pace rose. Settling down into my own pace I found a good rhythm to my pedalling and started to catch the two leaders again.

I've never ridden in heat that was exceeding 30c with no wind and found myself overheating on the climbs as the exposed track cut its way up the hillside. Coming into lap 5 I was around 2 minutes behind the lead pack of 2 riders and although digging deep in the heat I crossed the line in 3rd place behind Gratton and Pucci.

Stephen Hodge - Elite

Stephen made a great start from the gun but a snapped chain soon after the start put him to the side of the track. A quick fix got him back riding and he made his way up the field to a solid 36th place finish.

Brendan Murphy - Veteran

Having been suffering a chest injury a few weeks ago while training Brendan was not quite back to 100% fitness. Despite this he still rode well to a top ten finish.

The next race for the team will be the National Championship in Glasgow where we will get to take on the Common Wealth Games track.

Hurlock happy with 3rd place finish under the Margam sun. Currently sitting in second place in the series Dexter is still on the hunt for the overall series title.

Photo Credit to Andy Whitehouse

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