On Sunday 17 September, the National Disability and Para-cycling Circuit Championships took place at Northern Gateway Sports Park in Colchester, Essex. This deceivingly fast circuit, filled with tight corners, really let the riders put the power down.
The morning started with a tremendous turnout for the C1-5 classes with 19 riders taking to the start line. Callum Deboys took an early lead, powering into the first corner, but was soon caught up by the rest of the pack. An early breakaway of Finlay Graham, Archie Atkinson and Alex Jones formed and it became clear there was little the other riders could do to keep up with them. Having put a lap between themselves and their closest competition, the trio had plenty of time to discuss their tactics and having secured the win and the national jerseys in their respective categories, the riders crossed the line together.
Finlay Graham took the win in the C3 category, followed by Jacob Smith in second and Ben Hetherington in third. Archie Atkinson took the win in the C4 class, with Ben Payne taking second and Wayne Harrod rounding off the podium in third. In the C5 field, Alex Jones took the win, with Finlay Webb taking second and Mark Valentine in third. Recently back in competition from long-term injury, Matt Robertson took the win in the C2 class.
Rebecca Newark took the win in the women’s C4-5 race. Despite being in separate fields, a sprint finish ensued between Cheryl Went and Amelia Cass, with Cass just pipping Went to the finishing line. Went took second place in the women’s C4-5, with Cass taking the national jersey in the women’s C2 field.
Tandem and Hand-bike races
In the mixed tandem race, Chris McDonald took the top podium ahead of Christopher Wilkins in second and Sophie Unwin in third.
To round off the day’s racing, the hand-bike and trike racers took the start line of the Northern Gateway circuit. James Coxon had a powerful start and continued his ferocious pace over the hour-long circuit race, lapping his competitors and appearing to only get faster. Coxon ultimately took the win in the RT (Recumbent Tricycle category) with an astonishing time of 59:20.276, ahead of Jonathon Knott in second and James Hubbard in third.
Chasing down Coxon’s lead were the hand-bike riders who stayed grouped for much of the race, with breakaways attempted but soon caught by the rest of the pack. As the bell went for the final lap, Mark Allen put the power down to take the win in the H4-5 category and the handcycles overall. Callum Russell took second place in the H4-5, followed by Ben Whitney in third.
In the H2-3, Luke Jones took the win, ahead of Steven Marsh in second and James Puttrell in third place. In the O-T field, Felix Barrow powered on to take the win, ahead of Calum O’Neill in second and Shelley Halsey in third.