Here's Matti's report:
"Sunday was the fourth round of the Irish XC NPS held in Lady Dixon and having been training hard I was looking forward to it, though not having done much mountain bike racing so for this season I was unsure how my off-road form would be.
After a practice lap of the fast dry course I was looking forward to the race as the course was nice with some flowing sections and some not so great dead turns – but still a good course in general.
The race started well for me having started on the second row of the grid. I quickly made up places and went into the forest in fifth place. Through the first half of the lap the race was grouped up but through the singletrack at the back of the course I was caught behind a rider that was just slightly slower than the riders in front so gaps started to open up; this rider then went off-course on a tight tricky corner so I passed him and was up to fourth. Coming out of the singletrack there was a gap of about 20 seconds to the leading three riders including fellow team-mate Gareth McKee.
I pushed hard to try and catch them but they weren't in the mood to hang about and they quickly pulled away. My focus then turned to pacing myself, especially in the excessive heat, and making sure I didn't get caught by the riders behind.
Throughout the next four laps I pulled out more time on fifth place and coming into the final lap I noticed the third place was closer the previous laps so I started to push hard in order to try and catch him. Pedalling through a singletrack section though, my pedal caught a low covered stump, throwing me of the bike. I quickly got back on, got my chain on again and kept going. Realising after this point I wasn't going to catch third place I made sure to keep fifth at a distance.
I finished the race in fourth place which I was happy with, but there is room for improvement."