Round 1 of the Rapha Super Cross at Windermere was rewarded with the most un-cross-like weather: glorious sunshine and warm temperatures bathed the scenic lakeside course, and that coupled with the food, drink, trade stands, crowds and the jangling cowbells provided an atmospheric day of racing; indeed the combined Senior/Junior/Veteran/Women race had so many riders in it that within a lap it was impossible to follow, with riders spread everywhere over the 1.5 mile course which combined rolling open grassland with a testing tarmac climb and a long wooded section of rutted and muddy singletrack whose hidden roots claimed several victims throughout the day. One of the early casualties was Veteran National Champion Nick Craig who wrecked a wheel during practice.
The racing culminated with the team-based Elite event in the afternoon. From the gun it was National Champion Paul Oldham (Hope Factory Racing) who powered away but his early lead was cut short by a series of mechanicals. Jody Crawforth (Hargroves/Specialized) and Lee Williams (Wiggle) used the respite to open a massive gap over the rest of the field.
Behind them Dave Collins and Dan Booth (Hope Factory Racing) were locked in a race long battle with Kenta Gallagher, Nick Craig and Luke Grivell-Mellor (Team Scott) with Rob Watson (Rapha/GB Development) also in the mix. Recovering from his mechanicals, Paul Oldham powered back through the field in short order but realised early on that chasing down the minute plus gap that Jody and Lee had was going to be futile and he settled for third place overall.
Up the front, Lee attacked on the final lap and coasted to a comfortable win. Rob Watson took 4th place and first U23 with the Hope duo of Dave Collins and Dan Booth ensuring that Hope took the Team prize on the day from Team Scott who came home in 3-up time trial mode, 7th, 8th and 9th.
A happy Lee Williams said afterwards: "It was a great course, more suited to a mountain biker like me I think so I was able to ride bits that Jody was running and I think that's what got me the win in the end. Really great crowd, a good atmosphere out there. If Wiggle can get top three in the Team Prize overall, we'll be really pleased with that."
Paul Oldham was less impressed with his third place: "I had a disaster from start to finish really, got a good start but was then plagued by mechanicals, had to change my bike then had to fight back through the field. There was no point chasing Lee and Jody, they had way too much of a lead. But at least we go into round 2 tomorrow with the team prize".
The series moves to Huddersfield on Sunday 16th October with the final round in London on Sunday 23nd October.
RESULTS - TEAM
3.Rapha / GB Development
5.Hargroves / Specialized
7.Sigma Sport / Specialized
1. Lee Williams (Wiggle)
2. Jody Crawforth (Hargroves)
3. Paul Oldham (Hope)
4. Rob Watson (Rapha / GB)
5. Dave Collins (Hope)
6. Dan Booth (Hope)
7. Kenta Gallagher (Scott)
8. Luke Grivell-Mellor (Scott)
9. Nick Craig (Scott)
10.Joe Moses (Rapha / GB)
UNDER 23 – Rob Watson (Rapha / GB)