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The fight for the stripes is always special. The biggest race of the domestic calendar, often in front of friends and family, and with the pride of a Champion’s jersey at stake.
We are delighted to say that the team retained both of its National Championship titles, with Great Britain’s Annie Last and South Africa’s Mariske Strauss. Isla Short also scored a medal in Britain, and Martin Gluth rounded out a top weekend with a top ten in Germany.
Mariske kicked of proceedings on Saturday in Mankele, SA. After some time away from racing to rest, reset and refocus following a hectic start to the year, the National Championships came with added uncertainty. However, Mariske was in it to win it, and she soon proved that she was still the strongest. Breaking away on lap two, she pulled out a comfortable lead and crossed the line with her trademark big grin!
Both our British riders went into Sunday’s race at Cannock Chase, England, with brilliant World Cup results behind them and looking to showcase their form in home soil. Annie led the Elite race from the gun and over six laps managed to increase her lead to an incredible fourteen minutes to take her fifth Elite National title.
In the U23 race, Isla had World Cup winning competition from Evie Richards. Richards went on to win the race but not without a brilliant fight from Isla who held Richards within a minute by the race finish. Isla took a superb silver medal and also a renewed confidence in her ability to challenge the best U23 riders in the World.
Over in Germany, Martin lined up amongst a strong field for the highly contested black, red and gold stripes. Martin got a great start and was in second wheel on lap one, behind the eventual winner Manuel Fumic. Unfortunately, a crash cost him a lot of time and places, and finding the rhythm again was hard. Martin rode in 12/13th position for the following laps and then managed to move up to 9th place by the finish.
Three medals and two Champion’s jerseys is not a bad haul from one weekend! We are really proud.