Cross: Simpson wins Wessex League event

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The latest round of the Wessex League was held on the forestry land of Wareham Forest to the west of Poole in Dorset.

The course was long and very fast on the fire breaks with a sandy base and a lot of tree roots to negotiate on each lap. Each lap of the senior race was approximately nine minutes in length so plenty of time to split the race up.

The morning started frosty and the temperatures didn’t get much above freezing all day, the shaded sections under the trees staying frozen all day.

The senior race was won by Mike Simpson (GS Henley), his maiden cross win and his first ever podium place. Mikes win came at the expense of Michael Cotty (Wheelbase/ Cannondale) who had wrapped up the senior league title winning last weekend, but there was no letting up by Michael who always wants to do his best.

The senior race started with four riders coming to the front on the first lap with Michael Cotty closely followed by Dan Lewis (RAF CC) and Mike Simpson with Peter Kench (Team GWR) and Nick Onslow (PedalOn) not too far away. Next rider up was Jamie Norfolk (PedalOn).

After a couple of laps Cotty and Simpson were together with Lewis 18 seconds back, Kench at 45 seconds, Onslow at one minute and Norfolk 1:20 behind.

By lap four the two leaders were wheel to wheel, Lewis was now almost a minute back but fourth now was Kench 1:24 behind the leaders, but under 30secs behind Lewis.

As the leaders approached the finishing area there was a twisty section requiring some good bike handling skills to stay upright. Cotty was the first in with Simpson on his wheel. As Cotty accelerated away he opened a small gap which Simpson soon closed down. As they turned onto the finishing line Cotty held a slender lead but Simpson came around him to finish by a bikes length.

The remainder of the riders came in on their own one by one, first Lewis then Kench and finally Onslow with Norfolk a little way behind.

The combined Vet/Junior/Women’s race was won by junior rider Matt Hargroves (Hargroves Cycles) with vet Sean Williams (Wight Mountain) second ahead of junior Matt Woods (Hargroves Cycles).

On the first lap Sean was sandwiched between the two Matt’s, with Dave McMullen (Team GWR) nearby and David Phillips (Swindon RC) just a little way behind the leading quartet.

By the second lap Matt Hargroves’ youth showed and he pulled away from Sean, but Matt Woods slipped away and was soon distanced by Sean. In the women’s race Sarah Woods (Wight Mountain) soon had a large lead over Katy Wakely and Karen Murphy (Wight Mountain). Sarah went on to extend her lead finishing well ahead of the others.

The closing stages of the race saw Sean close to within 30secs of Matt but the young Hargroves riders had a good lead as he crossed the line and Sean came in 32secs down. The third place was eventually taken by Matt Woods who by now was well down on the leader.

The youth race was also won by a rider from Hargroves Cycles, when Harvey Lowe started strong and pulled out a massive lead on the opening lap and was never challenged. Second place went to Sam Shepherd (Primera) and third going to Jake Thomas (BCDS). The girls youth race was won by Bethany Taylor (BCDS) younger sister Sophie and securing and strong lead in the league. Third was Lucy Burrows (Poole Wheelers).

The first action on a bitterly cold morning saw a small group of under 12’s take to the shorter but none the less challenging course. Local rider Ryan Hodgkins (Poole Wheelers) seemed to have a point to prove and very quickly opened up a lead over Connor Hutchinson (Swindon RC) and Jay Allen (PPV).

Ryan’s lead soon extended and with Jay feeling the effects of being unwell all week it was Connor who was comfortable in second place. This win was Ryan’s first win in his short cross vocation. The first girl was Lizzie Barlow (PPV) ahead of Alex Burrows (Poole Wheelers).


1 Mike Simpson (GS Henley)
2 Michael Cotty (Wheelbase) @ 1sec
3 Dan Lewis (RAF CC)
4 Peter Kench (GWR Team)
5 Nick Onslow (Pedal On)
6 Jamie Norfolk (Pedal On)
7 Neil Ellison (Beyond)
8 Dan Smith (GWR Team)

1 Sean Williams (Wight Mountain)
2 Dave McMullen (GWR Team)
3 David Phillips (Swindon RC)

1 Sarah Woods (Wight Mountain)
2 Katy Wakely (unattached)
3 Karen Murphy (Wight Mountain)

1 Matt Hargroves (Hargroves Cycles)
2 Matt Woods (Hargroves Cycles)
3 Jordon Wade (Poole Wheelers)

1 Harvey Lowe (Pargroves Cycles)
2 Sam Shepherd (Primera)
3 Jake Thomas (Bristol Cycling Development Squad)

1 Bethany Taylor (Bristol Cycling Development Squad)
2 Sophie Taylor (Bristol Cycling Development Squad)
3 Lucy Burrows (Poole Wheelers)

1 Ryan Hodgkins (Poole Wheelers)
2 Connor Hutchinson (Swindon RC)
3 Jay Allen (Palmer Park Velo)

Under-12 girls: Lizzie Barlow (Palmer Park Velo).

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.

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