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Hopkins pedals to Winter glory
8:14am Tuesday 22nd January 2013 in Sport
PAUL Hopkins (Merida UK) won round four of the Off-Camber XC Winter Series with predictable ease.
After shaking off the challenge of training partner Kim Little (Gillingham & District Wheelers), Shaftesbury-based Hopkins could afford to enjoy himself on the 4.9-mile circuit at Inside Park near Blandford Forum.
A mix of woodland trails, single track, field edges and concrete road asked questions of technique for the riders, but there was plenty of opportunity for overtaking.
Stumps and roots demand concentration and the notorious Bomb Hole allows the more confident to get some air.
Neutralised for the first 600 metres on a smooth, concrete pathway, the route then headed out into the country on the first of three laps and it was here that Hopkins hit the front.
Powering away through deep puddles and thick mud, only Little could respond to the former national 40+ champion.
The Gillingham rider even took the lead as, uncharacteristically, Hopkins got his line wrong through the mud.
However, normal service was quickly resumed and Little started to lose ground as the trail started to rise.
Barring a mishap, the race was Hopkins and Little, who won round three in December, was clear in second place.
Marcus Wilkinson held third spot after the first lap but could not hold off the charge of Alex Day (Off-Camber).
Day had helped set up the course and was busy dismantling it as the prize-giving went ahead.
First lady, Julie Crane, finished ahead of Yeovil CC juniors, Patsy Caine and Evie Lane.
While another Yeovil youngster, Kris Caine was first junior.
The final round will be held on March 17.