Defending National Trophy Cyclo-Cross Series champion Jody Crawforth is targeting a National Trophy and Championship double but has conceded his preparations for the new season haven’t been ideal.
Crawforth edged a closely fought 2010-11 National Trophy Series
Crawforth, who won the National Championship in 2009, also marked Paul Oldham as the main threat to his crown, with the two riders dominating the series in recent years.
“My aim is to win the National Championships and the National Trophy. Preparations this summer have been a bit interrupted – I’ve had a good year in personal terms getting married and moving house, but it’s meant I haven’t had as much time for racing as there’ve been a few clashes. Hopefully I can ease myself into the season and get stronger as I go. I’m reasonably confident [of retaining the title], I guess I’ll know more after the first race,” Crawforth said.
“I always get excited about cross at this time of year, gluing on tubs and trying to get two bikes to feel exactly the same. My first cross race of the season will be the National Trophy up at Southshields. I’m expecting to be a little rusty, but hopefully it will go OK,” he added.
Crawforth edged out Paul Oldham to the title by five points after winning a thrilling final round at Whitwell Sailing Club earlier this year, with Oldham beating Crawforth to the crown in 2010. Crawforth, who will continue to ride for Hargrove Cycles, is expecting another close battle. “Paul Oldham is always one to watch out for, we’ve seen how good he can be on his best day as at the National Championships which he thoroughly deserved to win. But hopefully I can have a few of my best days this winter too,” Crawforth explained.
With the popularity of cyclo-cross on the rise, Crawforth is hoping the discipline can attract new supporters on the eve of the first round of the series at Temple Park Centre and believes tapping into town centre racing could be the way forward.
“I think cycling in general is getting a lot bigger in the UK – look at town centre races with the Tour series and other crits. Cyclo-cross needs to try and attract some of this new popularity with spectators, and bring in people to try the sport for the first time. I’ve said before getting races nearer town centres might help with it, but I suppose it’s difficult to find venues.
“Organisers do a fantastic job of putting on all the races, but maybe one area that could be improved is publicity in the local areas, to try to get local people to come to watch the race - me saying that is easy but I’m not sure of the implications and restrictions organisers have in doing this or even how much it’s already done.”