Vaudin family at the double

BRAD VAUDIN got his push for a Guernsey 2023 NatWest Island Games mountain bike spot off to a flier on Sunday morning.

The up-and-coming rider proved that he can run with one of the best of them – namely Commonwealth Games man Mike Serafin – in the Winter Mountain Bike Cross-Country Series opener before forging ahead and taking the win on a muddy, lumpy, and generally gruelling course near the German Underground Hospital.

It proved an evocative day for the family as younger sister Kylie Vaudin cruised to top woman, having nearly three years ago to the day rekindled her racing career on the same course after half-a-decade out.

There was no such dominance on Brad’s part as he battled over 15 laps against a worthy rival, who lost touch only when he suffered a derailleur mechanical. Not that Vaudin did not have his own misfortunes – he sustained two minor crashes.

Vaudin had set out assertively, building an early 10sec. lead, but then got reeled in.

However, Serafin’s mechanical misfortune allowed his rival to make vital ground around lap 10, eventually winning in 1hr 2min. 7sec. – just over 1min clear.

‘I am happy with that,’ the winner said after scalping a Guernsey mountain-biking star who, locally, has otherwise lost only to James Roe in recent times.

‘It’s probably one of my best races I’ve ever done.’

A pleased Vaudin added of the challenging Island Games selection period: ‘I’m going to be training a lot, putting in as much as I can, really – see what I can do, I suppose.’

The improving Mark Le Page clocked 1-05-52 to come out on top of a tight race for third.

After spending most of the race in very close contention with Guernsey’s most accomplished downhill rider, John Mapley, he made a decisive move on the final lap.

Young Charlie Tourtel – the juvenile (age 13-14) SouthernXC champion – finished highly placed among senior-level opposition.

In taking seventh overall, two laps down on the leaders, he also won the advanced category.

The 18-year-old Kylie Vaudin underlined her status as the top domestic women’s off-roader by covering 12 laps in 1-03-41.

Women's race winner Kylie Vaudin. (Picture by Andrew Le Poidevin, 31493675)

One lap down, two improving cyclists had enjoyed a good duel for that second spot.

Jade Packham and Jamy Petit-Fulgoni could not be split for the first five laps, but the former made some distance in the back half of the race to finish 1min. clear.

The turnout of nine senior women in the main race, including former Games cyclists Maddie Wilson and Megan Dowinton, bodes positively for the series.

Under-14 Zach Smith won a close duel against multi-sporter Braden Morris – who was taking podiums at the motocross track the previous day – by 16sec. in the junior support race. Sam de Garis placed a more distant third.

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