Despite heavy rainfall during the previous week ground conditions were perfect, as usual, at Pembrey Country Park as the Welsh League returned west for some seaside cyclo-cross on Sunday.
The temperature was 25 degrees warmer than last season's visit, but the riders had a strong wind to contend with on this occasion.
Anxious to restate his authority after losing out to Ryan Bevis at the Inter-Area Championships the previous Sunday, Joe Lally (CC Abergavenny) was soon to the fore in the main race, with only Bevis (Bad Ass Bikes) in contention behind.
Lally held Bevis at a respectable distance for the first half of the race but Bevis worked hard to reduce the gap and the two headed out onto lap eight together. With neither able to shake off the other it was down to a sprint for the line and Lally added to his tally of wins by just one second.
A minute further back Phil Morris (Dambusters) won the battle with Gareth Barnes (Walkers CC) for third place and, finishing fifth, Junior James Nixon (mtb-marathon.co.uk)took his first 'cross win. Mark James (Team Jewson) and Claire Bowen (Abergavenny RC) notched up further wins in the Veteran's and Women's categories.
Members of the promoting club Bynea CC were out in force, with their new Go-Ride youngsters swelling the U10s category to 51 riders. But it was Abergavenny RC's Rhys Thomas who took the early lead with Towy Rider Guto Dafydd and Iwan Evans (Builth & District CC) in close attendance.
Rhys was unable to maintain the pace, however, and had to settle for second place behind Guto with Iwan in third and U10 Girl Emma Finucane (Towy Riders) back to winning ways in sixth. Josh Tarling was first U8 in fifth place, having worked his way back up the field after getting caught up in the course marking tape. Fellow Towy Rider Heledd Hunt was first U8 Girl.
There was the, now regular, sight of a quartet of three Abergavenny RC riders and a lone Towy Rider heading the U12 field and once again it was down to a sprint to the finish. First Megan James then Joe Beckingsale controlled the pace and it was Joe who held on for the win, with Towy Rider Owain Roberts sneaking in between the two.
The promoting club's Joe Holt was in commanding form in the Youth race with his nearest challenger, Nicholas Jones of Towy Riders, finishing 50 seconds down. A strong performance by first U16 Girl Emily Haycox (Maindy Flyers) saw her finish in seventh place. James Tillett (Cardiff JIF) was first U14 Boy in fifth and Tanwen Jones (Towy Riders) first U14 Girl.
1 Joe Lally (CC Abergavenny) 11 laps in 53:26
2 Ryan Bevis (Bad Ass Bikes) @ 1sec
3 Phil Morris (Dambusters) @ 1:09
4 Gareth Barnes (Walkers CC)
5 James Nixon (mtb-marathon.co.uk)
6 Richard Bowen (Abergavenny RC)
7 Mark James (Team Jewson/MI Racing)
8 Luke Cornish (Cwmcarn Paragon)
9 Adrian Peall (Forza Cycles)
10 Andrew Parry (Bynea CC)
Juniors: James Nixon. Veterans: Mark James. Women: Claire Bowen (Abergavenny RC).
1 Joe Holt (Bynea CC)
2 Nicholas Jones (Towy Riders)
3 Sam Beckingsale (Abergavenny RC)
4 Jared Brooks (Abergavenny CC)
5 James Tillett (Cardiff JIF)
U16 Girl: Emily Haycox (Maindy Flyers). U14 Boy: James Tillett. U14 Girl: Tanwen Jones (Towy Riders). U12 Boy: Joe Beckingsale (Abergavenny RC). U12 Girl: Megan James (Abergavenny RC). U10 Boy: Guto Dafydd (Towy Riders). U10 Girl: Emma Finucane (Towy Riders). U8 Boy: Joshua Tarling (Towy Riders). U8 Girl: Heledd Hunt (Towy Riders).
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.