One notable absence at last weekend’s Sea Otter Classic Pro XCT race was that of Geoff Kabush.
When on the start line of any North American race, Kabush (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) is a sure bet for a podium spot. But the Canadian opted to skip the 2011 Sea Otter and instead begin his journey to the first World Cup race of the season at this coming weekend’s event in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
And that journey included a stop in the United Kingdom, where Kabush topped the field in an UCI C1-ranked British XC Series race last weekend. The event was held at Dalby Forest as a prelude to the World Cup round there in five weeks and was an opportunity for racers to gain UCI points as the 2012 Olympics nears.
Midway through the race it was Oli Beckingsale — multiple British Champion, Olympian and Commonwealth Games medalist — and Kabush battling for the lead, according to a report from the British Cycling Federation. Beckingsale was on a hardtail gaining a lead on the climbs and Kabush on a full-suspension nullifying any gains on the flats.
For Beckingsale, his advantage was lost with the smallest of errors — jumping a gear at the bottom of climb that allowed Kabush to latch onto his wheel, cancelling out Beckingsale’s biggest advantage point on the course. From there, Kabush had the ideal platform to punish the Brit on the rough descents and in convincing style, the Canadian entered the arena with a textbook race-winning celebration.
Ten seconds later Beckingsale brought home second position, while Frenchmen Maxime Marotte was third.