Race organiser Mick Style and a small army of volunteers from the Manchester Wheelers Club and the NWCCA defied a small ocean of thick mud to put on another cracking round of the Northwest Cyclocross League.
Despite a clash with a National Trophy Cyclo-Cross round, there was a good turnout for all the events. With music and plenty of banter over the PA system, the junior races were an excellent warmup for the days racing. With the events split between more age groups than last year, it might have been expected that fields would suffer. However, this was far from the case with the summer of sport seemingly attracting more young riders than ever to cyclocross racing.
Although Nick Craig (Team Scott) was absent after winning last week’s round, his sons Thomas and Charlie carried on his good form, finishing first and seventh in their events.
In Craig’s absence, the senior field was left to be divided between the usual suspects of the Northwest League. With the course deep under mud, the going was hard and within the first lap there were several retirements from serious mechanicals, riders walking disconsolately back to the start line carrying or pushing their bikes. As the lead riders came up the tarmac climb it was Giles Drake of Team Elite-Paul Bethel Electrical in the lead, followed by his team mate Paul Bethel and then Alex McNicol in third.
Fortunately untroubled by mechanicals, Drake gradually pushed out his lead to over two minutes, with a similar gap between second and third. He was able to cruise over the line, celebrating his first win of the winter season.