National Cyclo-Cross Championships - Day 1
Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks? Nick Craig showed that he's not only a class rider, he's also still a fast learner, as he took his first national Veteran's title and turned the tables on Darren Atkins, who had beaten him a couple of weeks previously at the final round of the National Trophy.
The race featured a huge field of over 120 riders, but it was the predicted leading contenders - sadly minus defending champion, Nole Clough who was ill - who led going up the first climb away from the opening road section. Fast-starters Phil Roach and Darren Atkins were well placed, as was former champion Chris Young.
Behind the leaders, a crash on the start line caused temporary chaos, with regular top ten rider Keith Sheriden coming off worse. He was forced to reitre having only completed a few yards!
Back at the front, the race began to take shape as the riders entered the technically challenging fir-tree copse section for the first time. Atkins found himself in the company of Nick Craig at the front and the pair of them quickly moved 3 seconds clear of Chris Young. He in turn had a small gap over the chasing pack headed by Jonathan Watson, Phil Roach and Matt Denby.
The second lap saw Craig and Atkins open up a 24 second gap over Chris Young, on his own in third, with five riders just two seconds behind him, namely Geoff Giddings, Matt Denby, Mark James, Phil Roach and Steve Knight.
At the start of the third lap, Atkins and Craig continued to pull away at the front, whilst Young was joined by Geoff Giddings and Matt Denby as he crossed the line. Steve Knight was also looking good, driving on alone some 16 seconds behind and steadily pulling clear of James and Roach.
Lap four saw more of the same from the leaders who continued to draw away. For a time it began to look like a repeat of the Rutland National Trophy race, where Atkins disposed of Craig with a powerful sprint on the final corner to claim the win. But Craig wasn't prepared to let Atkins play to his strengths this time. The pair were still together at the bell, but Craig was surging through all the corners and technical sections, keeping intense pressure on his rival and, going into the copse section, he finally broke clear, cutting through the cambered and root-strewn terrain and past several back markers with characteristic smoothness. Atkins just couldn't hold on and suddenly there was a gap.
As often seems to happen in these situations, once the gap had formed, the race was as good as over and Atkins, clearly spent, settled for a safe second place, leaving Craig to cruise in for some typically low key celebrations. Atkins duly claimed second.
Behind, Chris Young, Matt Denby and Geoff Giddings were pursuing the final medal and after his brave move up into this group, Giddings began to pay for his efforts, leaving Denby and Craig to battle it out for the medal. Denby, in his best ride of the season, really took the fight to his fellow Yorkshireman, but in the end Young just had a little bit too much for him. Young drifted away on the final lap to claim third, whilst Denby took fourth, but had the consolation of a great ride and the team prize with Zepnat. Geoff Giddings was fifth, with Steve Knight - champion here 2 years ago - sixth.
Video Interviews: We hear post race reactions from Craig, Atkins & Young
Results (Full Results)
1 Nick Craig Team Scott UK 39 m 36 s
2 Darren Atkins Coventry RC/Ridecov.co.uk @ 0:28
3 Chris Young JD Cycles Ilkley (1st Vet 45) @ 1:3
4 Matthew Denby www.Zepnat.com RT/Xero/Bioracer @ 1:17
5 Geoff Giddings Raleigh Avanti RT/Michelin/High 5 @ 1:41
6 Stephen Knight Endura/Thule/24/7/Kinesis/MI Racing @ 1:59
7 Mark James Endura/Thule/24/7/Kinesis/MI Racing @ 2:32
8 Philip Roach Coventry RC/Ridecov.co.uk (2nd Vet 45) @ 2:33
9 Jonathan Watson www.Zepnat.com RT/Xero/Bioracer @ 3:7
10 Steve Barron VC Lincoln/Pygott/B&O/SPS/Impsport (3rd Vet 45) @ 3:9
The Under-16 boys' race saw the usual suspects, Sam Lowe, Ed McParland and Jonathan Dibben, taking the lead as they exited the start straight. With the whole field strung out, Hugo Robinson was making up for a slowish start by working his way to the front as the race reached the half lap distance. He completed a leading group of four alongside Lowe, Dibben and McPaland.
The second lap saw Robinson and Lowe break clear together and at the mid-lap point this duo were 7 seconds clear of Jonathan Dibben who was a couple of seconds clear of Ed McParland and Joseph Fox. Robinson and Lowe continued to pile on the pressure at the front and by the mid lap they were clearly going to decide the leading positions between themselves as the gap went out to almost half a minute.
The penultimate lap saw Lowe pressing on the short climbs and technical sections at the back of the course, but suddenly it was Robinson who was in charge as he broke clear with a well timed burst and he took the bell some nine seconds clear. Lowe was chasing hard, but on a course which was by now riding very fast, despite some slick corners, he was never going to get back in touch with Robinson.
Robinson duly took the win by almost 20 seconds, a reward for a very fine attacking ride. Lowe was second, having given his all in an excellent race.
Behind the two leaders, Ed McParland overcome a bad patch mid-race and he eventually disposed of Fox and came in third on his own. Fox was left in no-man's land, unable to catch McParland, but under no threat from behind and he came in alone in fourth. As usual, the Youth men put on a really impressive diplay, matching their speed with an attacking spirit which characterises this category. If you're only going to watch one race, this is always a safe choice for quality viewing!
However, the Youth girls race was, if anything, even better. The riders in this category are very evenly matched and after a long drawn out selection process, which saw a big line at the front of the race for much of the first two laps, four riders eventually emerged at the head of affairs: Amy Roberts, Lucy Garner, Bethany Crumpton and Hannah Payton.
These four rode together for over a lap before Roberts lost touch with a lap to go, leaving three riders to contest the medals.
Hannah Payton attacked at the copse section at the mid point of the last lap and Crumpton lost touch, leaving it to be settled by a sprint between Payton and Garner. They came onto the finish straight together, but Garner is in her element in this situation and she smoothly pulled clear to claim the win by a couple of lengths, to her obvious delight. Payton was a deserving second, with Crumpton some 17 seconds back taking third.
Results (Full Results)
1 Hugo Robinson Ipswich BC 32 m 39 s
2 Samuel Lowe Raleigh Avanti RT/Michelin High 5 @ 0:17
3 Edward McParland JD Cycles Ilkley @ 0:57
4 Joseph Fox Solihull CC @ 1:05
5 Jonathan Dibben Hargroves Cycles/Trant/Next/Scott/GSI @ 1:09
6 William Worrall Towy Riders @ 1:13
7 Thomas Armstrong Ribble Valley CRC - Juniors @ 1:49
8 Adam Martin Activ Cycles - Fentimans RT @ 2:03
9 Jack Humphreys Red Rose Olympic CC @ 2:21
10 Harry Franklin VC Londres @ 2:33
1 Lucy Garner Leicestershire RC 37 m 22 s
2 Hannah Payton Stourbridge CC @ 0:02
3 Bethany Crumpton Halesowen A & CC @ 0:24
4 Amy Roberts Cardiff Ajax CC @ 1:06
5 Alice Barnes Palmer Park Velo @ 2:01
6 Imogen Buick Thetford MTB Racing @ 3:18
7 Elinor Barker Lifeforce Cervelo @ 3:18
8 Rebecca Hunt Newport Youth Velo CC @ 4:26
9 Zoe Armstrong Ribble Valley CRC - Juniors @ 5:15
10 Emily Barnes Palmer Park Velo @ 5:16
The Under-14 race saw an outstanding ride by Billy Harding, who was at the head of the race from the start alongside national series winner Harvey Lowe and Jack Ravenscroft. Lowe soon dropped back as the first lap unfolded and Ravenscroft and Hardin were joined at the front by James Shaw.
These three riders drove the race along for a lap and a half, but then Harding attacked towards the end of the second lap and broke free. At the line at the end of the second lap he'd surged into an 11seconds lead over Shaw, who had in turn dropped Ravenscroft, who was a further 9 seconds back. Dyland Kerfoot Robson was back in fourth with Harvey Lowe, many people's favcourite for the title, struggling in fifth.
Harding continued to pull away over the last lap and was able to celebrate his win in grand style, coming in 24 seconds clear of Shaw, with Ravenscroft picking up bronze a further 29 seconds back.
The Girls race was a lot closer: Kimberly English emerged from the melee of the first lap to lead the race into the second circuit. Lucy Grant from Scotland was just behind her with Ffion James looking comfortable in third.
However, although English was just able to hold on at the front, a great charge by Emily Nelson saw her coming through all the other leaders on the final lap and a half to claim the silver medal, just 4 seconds down. Grant took a hard-earned bronze medal, making her long trip from Scotland well worthwhile. Ffion James took fourth.
Results (Full Results)
1 Billy Harding Paul Milnes RT/Bradford Olympic 26 m 32 s
2 James Shaw Heanor Clarion CC @ 0:21
3 Jack Ravenscroft Solihull CC @ 0:51
4 Dylan Kerfott-Robson Rhos on Sea CC @ 1:16
5 Harvey Lowe Hargroves Cycles/Trant/Next/Scott/GSI @ 1:54
6 Daniel Fox Solihull CC @ 2:25
7 Arthur Green Matlock CC/Impsport/Farmers/Wards @ 2:47
8 Christian Braybrooke Eastlands Velo @ 2:47
9 Jacob Kelly Lichfield City CC @ 2:49
10 Sebastian Marsh Seacroft Wheelers @ 3:30
1 Kimberley English Palmer Park Velo 32 m 20 s
2 Emily Nelson Lichfield City CC @ 0:03
3 Lucy Grant Peebles CC @ 0:15
4 Ffion James Abergavenny RC/Lane/Govilon/Gateway @ 0:35
5 Harmonie Waterman Holme Valley Wheelers @ 1:35
6 Sophie Faulkner Solihull CC @ 1:55
7 Lauren O'Brien Wakefield Junior Triathlon Club @ 2:03
8 Katie Hubbard Welland Valley CC @ 2:46
9 Jessica Wilkinson Birkenhead North End CC @ 3:27
10 Keira McVitty Kings Cliffe Flyers CC @ 3:43
Ian Wright got the weekend underway with a classy defense of his national over-50 title. He's not been unbeatable in the National Trophy this season, but he put his inconsistency behind him with a dominating ride from the front. He was at the head of the race as the first lap unfolded, with Roy Hunt and Martin Eadon also showing well.
Wright was briefly joined at the front by Eadon and this pair broke free from Dave McMullen, Hunt and Peter Wilkin. However, by the end of the first lap, Wright had a lead of 10 secondsover Eadon, who looked to be suffering, with Peter Wilkin and Roy Hunt together a further 10 seconds back, with McMullen on their heels.
The second lap saw eadon dropping back and Hunt getting clear of Wilkin, was soon closing him down. Hunt caught Eadon at the end of the lap and briefly pulled a few yards clear of him. However, eadon wasn't finished and dragged himself up to Hunt's wheel.
From then on in to the finish it was clear that, barring problems, the race was Wright's. He stretched his elad by some six to ten seconds a lap until he had a comfortable half minute lead, which he held to the line to take a convincing and popular win.
Meanwhile, behind him, Hunt and Eadon enjoyed, if that's the word, a great battle for second. Hunt was on the font almost throughout, but Eadon had a little extra energy left and jumped his companion on the last lap. Hunt had nothing left and eadon came in to take silver, just 25 seconds down. Hunt was third, some 14 seconds further back, though he had the consolation of taking the over 55 title. Peter Wilin was fourth over the line, just holding off Dave McMullen who had been chasing him, ultimately in vain, for much of the race.
Video Interview: We hear post race reactions from Ian Wright
Results (Full Results)
1 Ian Wright Raleigh Avanti RT/Michelin/High 5 42 m 59 s
2 Martin Eadon Hargroves Cycles/Trant/Next/Scott/GSI @ 0:25
3 Roy Hunt Colnago-Microshift-Skins (1st Vet 55) @ 0:39
4 Peter Wilkin Fietsen Tempo/The House/Chapters @ 1:12
5 Dave McMullen Evans Cycles RT (2nd Vet 55) @ 1:15
6 Michael Davies Lichfield City CC @ 1:55
7 John Galway Keswickbikes.co.uk @ 2:09
8 Peter Harris Pearce Cycles RT @ 2:09
9 Douglas Fox Crawley Wheelers @ 2:51
10 Clifford Featherstone MTS Cycle Sport/Indbuild (3rd Vet 55) @ 3:4
other category winners
20 Vic Barnett Welland Valley Wheelers (1st Vet 60) @ 5:00
26 Philip Cooper Individual Member (2nd Vet 60) @ 6:39
30 John Ginley Condor RC (1st Vet 65) @ 7:26
31 Peter Mooney Rugby Velo (3rd Vet 60) @ 7:55
46 Mick Ives Endura/Thule/24/7/Kinesis/MI Racing (1st Vet 70) @ 1 lap
50 Michael Parkins Bourne Wheelers CC (2nd Vet 65) @ 1 lap
51 Stuart Walters Kettering CC (3rd Vet 65) @ 1 lap
57 John Dowell Heanor Clarion CC (2nd Vet 70) @ 1 lap
59 Jim Thomas Lakes RC (3rd Vet 70) @ 1 la