Out in front - Philip Pearce
PHILIP Pearce capped a superb first season at Elite level by claiming The National Cross Country MTB Series at Cannock Chase on Sunday.
The Banjo Cycles rider’s success came just a year after he had won the expert series and he may be the first rider to make such a rapid transition.
Pearce went into the final championship round heading the series, just ahead of Grant Ferguson but needing only to avoid an absolute disaster out in the course to seal the crown.
David Fletcher was the only other major contender, but in the event, none of the three took top spot on the day, but that suited Pearce, whose fourth place was more than enough to complete his championship one-two.
Pearce got off to a good start and headed the field for a spell before settling back to shadow Liam Killeen, Jason Boutell, Alex Welburn and Fletcher, knowing that he had only to remain among the front-runners to take the title.
Killeen and Boutell went ahead over the forest tracks and held their places into the final lap with Killeen out in front.
Welburn returned in third place while Pearce was a contended fourth, a minute ahead of Fletcher to confirm his championship success.
“I’m really over the moon with that,” said Pearce. “It’s just unbelievable.
“I had a plan to win the race today, it’s what racing is all about after all, but the important thing was to stay out of trouble and to keep the bike rolling and just get to the finish line in one piece.
“When I came into the Elites this year I really didn’t think I would be a top contender.”