Rivalries heat up ahead of Rapha Super Cross Series opener

Rivalries heat up ahead of Rapha Super Cross Series opener

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On Saturday 15 October, the current and former national champions will lead their teams in the first of three races in the Rapha Super Cross series. Hope Factory Racing and current National Team Champions, Hargroves Cycles-Specialized-Trant-Next, will be racing on three specially designed and challenging courses, starting with Brockhole, Windermere, in a week’s time.

The big rivals of the series, Hargroves Cycles-Specialized-Trant-Next, headed up by 2009 National Champion and current National Trophy Series Champion, Jody Crawforth, and Hope Factory Racing, lead by current National Champion, Paul Oldham ,will be competing to win a share of the £6000 prize money. Other confirmed elite teams are Scott UK, Wiggle, Charge Bikes, Wheelbase.co.uk-Cannondale and Vicious Velo, with two more big name teams to be announced. The surprise package may come from a team of youngsters representing Rapha. The team has been put together by Great Britain Team Manager, Phil Dixon, and boasts a talented group of U23s.

Jody Crawforth, 2010 National Trophy Series Champion, is looking forward to leading his team to victory in this series: “We will be going all out to win this, especially as the series is in its first year. The courses have been really well thought out and sound pretty hard. Plus it will be great to have the crowds cheering us on. A personal rivalry obviously exists between Paul and me and this series will be no exception to that. We will be battling it out to the end.”

And it’s a similar sentiment from Paul Oldham, current National Champion: “I won the North of England championships on the Brockhole course at Windermere when it was covered in snow. Our team is good and we definitely fancy our chances. I’ll be looking to beat Jody for sure. Usually at National Trophy races it’s pretty much friends and family making up the spectators, so it will be good to race in front of a big crowd and put on a show.”

The Rapha Super Cross Series is bringing three days of super-charged cyclo-cross racing to the UK, inspired by the rousing atmosphere of the US cross scene, mixed with a healthy smattering of Belgian grit and mud. The three events are perfect for all members of the family and entry for spectators is free. Expect entertaining racing for children and adults, free cowbells for all (expect a lot of noise!), music, frites, beer tent and trade stalls. All three courses have been designed with both spectators and competitors in mind.

Windermere has a true Belgian feel to it, with three climbs and other natural hurdles, set in the beautiful waterside surroundings of the Lake District National Park Visitor Centre, whilst Huddersfield is a technical, man-made course with testing off-camber banking. Alexandra Palace needs no introduction. A legendary venue, last used 20 years ago for cyclo-cross, it is a hillside course including a flight of steps and woodland. For novice riders the Alexandra Palace course boasts a few tasty challenges. An optional tequila shortcut chops a corner out of the course but involves an obligatory shot, plus riders will be dodging marshmallow missiles and water pistol attacks… An under 12 race is included at all three events and at Windermere there will be an additional fun circuit for younger kids who would like to have a go (bring a bike and a helmet).

Windermere and Huddersfield course designer, and Scott UK team captain, Nick Craig, has made ‘challenging’ the key word: “It’s only one week to go until the first in the series and racing up the drive and around the garden at the splendid Brockhole (Windermere) will feel amazing. It’s a classic course with a few surprises, more akin to the early days of cyclo-cross but on the edge of Windermere. Do not miss this one! The following day at Huddersfield it’s more Euro style with off-camber banks looping around the fields and woods. The weekend will be extremely entertaining for riders and spectators.”