Round seven of the Wessex League was held in the grass land just outside of the Thruxton Motor Racing circuit five miles west of Andover on the Hampshire-Wilshire Borders.
The course was laid out with miles of tape and the course wound its way up and down the banking using full use of the space provided. To break things up there were a couple of jumps and a long Belgium style sand pit, which was ride able.
The morning started of very foggy and chilly but by the time the seniors raced the fog had cleared and the sun had come out.
Once gridded and away it was Jody Crawforth (Hargroves Cycles) who started to show his class as he soon opened up a gap over League leader Michael Cotty (Cannondale Racing) and Dan Lewis (RAF CC with Chris Minter (Pedal On) and Crispin Doyle (Swindon RC) not too far behind.
Crawforth was eking out time on each lap and entertaining the crowd gathered around the jumps by ‘bunny hoping’ them on each lap. Cotty was 19 seconds back and Doyle was 36 seconds down on the leader.
Next up was Dan Lewis and close to him was Matt Macdonald (Stevens UK). These places did not change much until Matt got past Crispin and Dan for a fine third place.
The combined vet, junior and women’s races as usual saw the largest group of the day and the most competitive of the day. The fog had lifted enough to see the whole course from the marquee and start finish line.
The first rider to show on the front was junior Matt Hargroves (Hargroves Cycles) with vet Sean Williams (Wight Mountain) 16secs down and junior Matt Woods (Swindon RC) third 14 seconds behind him.
The leading Women was Tamina Oliver (Squadra Donna) who had trouble clipping into her pedals from the start line and then had to stop to refit her chain followed by the Wight Mountain pair of Nina French and Sarah Woods.
Once the race settled into some sort of order it was Matt Hargroves from Sean Williams with Matt Woods third. Next up was Dave McNamara (GWR) and Keith Sheridan (Hargroves Cycles). Having a little tussle of their own was Malcolm Cross and Martin Eadon from Hargroves and Stevens UK respectively.
The leading duo was now pulling away from third and this is how the race played out. The women’s race was also decided on the early laps and places did not alter throughout the race.
The morning got underway in the fog with the under 12s race. A rather large entry kept the lap scorers busy as the young riders sped around a small course laid out in the middle of the main venue. The race was eventually won by Harry Dridge (Southdown Velo) from Bethany Lewis (Palmer Park Velo) and team mate Jay Allen.
The youth race was held over the full course size including jumps and sand. The long uphill run out soon sorted them out and it wasn’t long before Harvey Lowe (Hargroves Cycles) was opening up a lead over Robbie Bolwell (Wight Mountain).
Jack Saunders (Swindon RC) was next 35secs down and Jack Phillips (Banjo Cycles) was a further 10secs back but was having trouble staying upright in the sand pit. The first girls were Zoe Sheehan (Swindon RC) with Bethany Taylor (BCDS) not to far back.
Harvey soon had a large lead when Robbie slipped from his bike and getting the chain jammed in the rear sprocket causing the wheel to lock up forcing him to shoulder his bike and run to the pits for a change of bike.
With a couple of laps completed Harvey’s lead over Robbie was now 2min 30secs, third was Jack Saunders (Swindon RC) at 3min 48secs. Bethany was now applying the pressure on Zoe and soon passed her with Emily Wadsworth (Beeline Cycles) now in third.
Leaving the rest in his wake Harvey coasted to a comfortable win by over 2min 30secs.
The next round of the Wessex League is next Sunday at Reading in the joint promoted event with the Central League.
1 Jody Crawforth (Hargroves Cycles)
2 Michael Cotty (Cannondale Racing)
3 Matt MacDonald (Stevens UK)
4 Crispin Doyle (Swindon RC)
5 Dan Lewis (RAF CC)
1 Matt Hargroves Hargroves Cycles 41:27
2 Sean Williams (Wight Mountain) @ 27secs
3 Matt Woods (Hargroves Cycles) @ 45secs
4 Keith Sheridan (Hargroves Cycles) @ 1:09
5 Dave McMullen (GWR Team) @1:21
1 Tamina Oliver (Squadra Donna)
2 Nina French (Wight Mountain)
3 Sarah Woods (Wight Mountain)
1 Harvey Lowe (Hargroves Cycles) 30:31
2 Robbie Bolwell (Wight Mountain) @ 2:42
3 Jack Saunders (Swindon RC) @ 3:56
4 Tom Sewell (Swindon RC) @ 4:47
5 Jack Phillips (Banjo Cycles) @ 5:16
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.