Hope Technology secured overall victory in the prestigious and lucrative Rapha Supercross Series when their top rider, National Champion Paul Oldham, secured victory in the third and final round of the short series at Alexandra Palace in London on Sunday.
Andy Whitehouse's Images
Just one point separated the top two teams in the final round of the Rapha Super Cross at Alexandra Palace but Hope Technology clung on for the overall victory from final round winners Scott UK.
Oldham crossed the line almost a minute ahead of his nearest rival Jody Crawforth (Hargroves Cycles) after escaping early in the race to avoid a sprint finish which cost him victory in the second round at Huddersfield last weekend.
Team Wiggle’s Lee Williams led the early exchanges of the elite race with Crawforth not far behind, and the rest of the field trailing around 10 seconds behind.
But Oldham had settled into a good rhythm, and it wasn’t long before the Lancashire rider was challenging the leaders. By the end of lap four Oldham had gone alone and established a 20 second lead over Crawforth, while Williams was by now involved in a battle for third place with Nick Craig (Scott UK) which he would ultimately lose.
The tightly packed Scott UK trio of Nick Craig, Kenta Gallagher and Luke Grivell-Mellor tackled the gruelling ascent to Alexandra Palace with style to land the day’s team award, but it was not enough to topple the Hope squad of Oldham, Dave Collins, Dan Booth, Lee Westwood and Keith Murray.
The day was not all about the Elite racing, however, with a crowd of several thousand encouraging everybody from toddlers on balance bikes to novices on mountain bikes whilst enjoying beer, pies, frites, cowbells and coffee at this spectacular London venue.
The course also featured a tequila shortcut for the brave-hearted, a popular option in the novice event. “It’s better than most of the ‘cross races I’ve been to in Belgium this year,” said team boss Peter Hargroves.
The Rapha Super Cross Series will return in 2012.
After the race, Paul Oldham commented: “I ripped the buckle off my shoe on the first lap so that was a bit of a problem. I was well up for today to be fair because I messed up big time last week. Saturday proved to be a disaster and I got worked over on the Sunday so I had a point to prove today and it was nice to ride away.
“The course was difficult today. Jody is going really well at the moment and I was a bit worried about him, Nick (Craig) can ride these courses well and soon come back but I think he was a bit under the weather this week so that ruled him out a bit this week. As a team its good to win the first series, I hope this carries on next year I really do, its been a great series.The atmosphere has been good at every event.I think the crowds have enjoyed watching it as much as we've enjoyed riding it.”
1. Paul Oldham (Hope Technology)
2. Jody Crawforth (Hargroves)
3. Lee Williams (Wiggle)
4. Nick Craig (Scott UK)
5. Steve Adams (Sigma Sport)
6. Kenta Gallagher (Scott UK)
7. Dave Collins (Hope Technology)
8. Luke Grivell-Mellor (Scott UK)
9. Steve James (Hargroves)
10. Seb Batchelor (Wiggle)
Under 23 – Kenta Gallagher (Scott UK)
1. Hope Technology
2. Scott UK
Under 23 – Luke Grivell-Mellor (Scott UK)
British Cycling would like to thank the organising team, officials and everyone else who helped promote this event. Our sport could not exist without the hundreds of people, many of them unpaid volunteers, who put in many hours of hard work running events, activities and clubs.