Cyclo-Cross: Sumner takes first round of Wessex League

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Location: Cowley, Oxford
Event: 15 September 2012
Report: Graham Robins

Ben Sumner (Beeline Cycles) won the first round of the Wessex League at Oxonian’s event at Cowley to the west of Oxford. Ben out sprinted Luke Gray (Trek Cross Collective) by a second on the line to win the league opener.


The event was held within the ground of the Oxford Spires Academy on terraced football pitches which provided the climbs and a very narrow technical wooded section to the north of the school. The weather was warm and sunny and the riders had to ensure they took on plenty of fluids before and after the race.

Once the race got underway a select group of five riders eased themselves of the front and set about putting time into the chasers.

The leading group of Ben, Luke, Will Bjergfelt (Cycle Premier/ Kovert), reigning league champion Michael Cotty (Wheelbase/ Cannondale and Andrew Hargroves (Hargroves Cycles) riding here before he travels to Belgium for the coming cross season.

This group started to ease away and the first rider to pull clear was Luke as he managed to ‘bunny hop’ the

fallen tree while the others in his wake had to dismount. Will was having a steady ride while Andy slipped away and Michael rolled a tube on the third lap and had to limp to the pits to swap bikes.

Whilst the others were having troubles Ben and Luke distanced themselves by over 30 seconds. The two young riders were not going to get caught and it was down to them to fight it out for the spoils.

Michael, now on two round wheels set about closing Andy down as the young Southampton rider was soon dropping back.

As the two leaders took the bell there was nothing between them and we waited to see who would emerge on to the playing pitches first. It wasn’t too long to wait and they both appeared together.

As they weaved their way around the course Ben soon started to apply the pressure and at the last turn got a couple of meters ahead and while catching slower backmarkers he crossed the line to win the opening round of the season.

The day also saw races for Juniors/Vets and Women. The combined race was dead heated by Matt Hargroves (Hargroves Cycles) and Sean Williams (Wightlink Offshore).

The two riders soon pulled clear of the rest after a couple of laps and increased their time. At the bell they were together and on the line they were also un-separable.

Provisional results:

1 Ben Sumner Beeline Cycles
2 Luke Gray Trek Cross Collective @1sec
3 Will Bjergfelt Cycle Premier/ Kovert
4 Michael Cotty Wheelbase Cannondale
5 Andrew Hargroves Hargroves Cycles
6 Paul Lloyd Rides on Air
7 Jamie Norfolk PedalOn
8 Chris Minter PedalOn
9 Ian Legg Primera Specialized
10 James Cotty Wheelbase Cannondale
Vets and juniors:
1 Sean Williams Wightlink Offshore
   Matt Hargroves Hargroves Cycles Junior
3 Lewis King Beeline Cycles
4 Joe Griffiths Dream CC Junior
5Will Girvan North Hants RC
6 Mike Simpson GS Henley
7 Matt Woods Hargroves Cycles Junior
8 Kevin Knox Vicious Velo
1 Maxine Filby RWD Brakes
2 Tamina Oliver Hargroves Cycles
3 Sarah Woods Wightlink Offshore
4 Nina French Wight Mountain

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.