Welch back to winning ways

Simon pips the pedal powered boys


Report by James Welch

It was the Gloucester and Cotswold MC's turn to hold the latest round of the Western Centre Championship at the notoriously slippery Smith Trial.

The Winstone Wood venue regularly sorts the men from the boys and this year was to be no different with a challenging 13 section, 3 lap course.

It was a 15 strong expert class which started the event but there could be only one winner.

Following a 12 month injury induced break, multiple western centre champion Simon Welch returned to winning ways on his Rawsports Gas Gas to claim the honour with a well deserved victory. Consistent lap scores of 8, 9 and 7 proved too good for the chasing pack.

Early leader after lap one however was popular visitor to the Western Centre, downhill mountainbiker Rob Warner.

Rob set the pace early on with just 6 marks lost on the first lap following the ride of the day on the challenging rocks and banks of section 5 with Rob being the only rider all day to drop less a 3 on this section.

Unfortunately for Rob he had a second lap to forget and dropped to a distant 4th at the finish.

Improving at a rapid rate is cyclo trials expert Kurt Brain who matched Welch's consistency and took a very well earned second place on the day just 14 marks behind.

Once again promising young welsh schoolboy Joel Edwards made the trip across the border to finish 3rd overall and claim the best youth A award, a very impressive ride on his 125 Beta given the nature of the terrain.

Reigning Centre champion Henry Bendall finished a hard earned 5th, a final lap score of 16 clawed Henry back into contention but just wasn't enough to claim a top 4 spot.

Elder brother of event winner Matthew Welch showed little sign of the back injury which has been hampering his current form to finish best of the rest and take the ‘Best G&C club member' award.

Unfortunately not all expert class riders finished, with local Gloucester hero Barry Husband damaging his back while recovering from an inconspicuous 5. All at the Gloucester and Cotswold club wish Barry a speedy recovery.

The clubman expert route was dominated by Stefan Walters on his Beta with a clear 11 mark victory. Walters had a particularly good day with a route and class victory picking up best intermediate.

Chris Wickham may still be getting used to his new Beta but clearly likes the machine with a brilliant ride to second position in the clubman expert class losing 40 marks in total.

Recent returnee to the sport Michael Hughes took the spoils in a very tightly contested clubman class with a victory by a single mark from best over 40 intermediate winner Nick Toms.

As with the clubman expert route, the route winner picked a further award with Michael winning best novice. Such was the close competition on the clubman route that Alex Muirhead had a very good day and dropped just 4 marks more than winner Hughes but finished in 7th position, this ride was however plenty good enough to take the schoolboy B class.

The sportsman's class was won by veteran Ron Walters finishing with just 2 marks lost and gaining the "Best Adult" award. Ever improving James Saunders was riding confidently and lost just 20 marks to win the "Best Youth" award on this route.

Last man home was Paul Robinson competing in his first ever trial making it some achievement just to finish given the nature of the event.

As always the Gloucester and Cotswold MCC would like to thank the land owner and all observers for making the days sport possible.


S. Welch – Smith Cup

K. Brain - Second Best Performance

J. Edwards – Best Youth A

R. Warner – Third Best Performance

H. Bendall – 1st Class

M. Welch Best G&C Member

S. Walters – Best Intermediate

C. Wickham – Second Intermediate

A. Colburn – Best Over 40

M. Hughes – Best Novice

N. Toms – Best Over 40 Intermediate

A. Muirhead – Best Youth B

P. marsh Best Over 40 Novice.