Team Jewson veteran Darren Atkins won round five of the Waldrons Solicitors West Midlands Cyclo-Cross League, staged by Solihull CC at Elmdon Park near Birmingham Airport on Sunday.
This popular venue, with its open grassland and tricky woodland sections, showed its evil side as the saturated ground turned to strength-sapping, slippery mud.
The main race was won in stunning style by Darren Atkins, (Team Jewson) who started with the veterans nearly a minute behind the senior riders, but caught and passed them all – finishing well ahead his younger rivals.
The early pace was set by Tom Payton (Isla Bikes), Lee Westwood (Torq Fitness), Perry Bowater (ASFRG) and Joe Fox (Rapha Condor), but by Lap three Darren Atkins had caught all but Tom Payton, and by lap four he was establishing a lead that would grow to 36 seconds by the finish.
The Junior/Women/Vet 50+ race was led virtually from the off by local rider Danny Fox (RST/Trigon). Danny was hotly pursued for a few laps by Luke Markham (Rugby Velo). In spite of their undisputed bike-handling skills, both of them elected to run a muddy wooded section that has been rideable in previous years. Eventually Danny distanced Luke for a convincing win.
The Women’s race was won by Hannah Payton (Stourbridge Velo), who finished nearly two minutes ahead of Bethany Crumpton (Halesowen).
The first Vet 50+ was Pete Harris (Team Pearce Cycles), who put on a master-class of how to ride in slippery conditions. He was followed in 27 seconds later by Mike Welburn (Lichfield City) and by Nigel Hay (Pedal Power Loughborough) after another 29 seconds.
The Youth race was a dead-heat! Neither the electronic chip timing nor the line judges could separate Anthony Neave (Stourbridge) and Louis Kilworth (Welland Valley in their sprint to the line. So both of them will be awarded maximum league points. Alistair Williams (Redditch) came in third 53 seconds later.
First Under-14 was the remarkable Harry Yates (Lichfield), who finished 6th overall and over two minutes ahead of the next Under-14 rider – Jake Stewart from the promoting club Solihull CC. Toby Barnes (Lichfield) was third.
Charlotte Broughton was the Under-16 Girl winner. She finished a lap ahead of Maisie Duckworth (Wolverhampton Whs) second and Ria Mobbs (Welland Valley) third. Lucy Nelson (Halesowen) was first Under-14 girl – beating Amy Garner (Welland Valley) by 36 seconds.
In the Under-12 race, Lewis Askey (Lichfield City) extended his strangle-hold on the League standings with another convincing win. But Lewis’ was separated from his team mate Daniel Barnes by Jamieson Blaine (Halesowen). Fast-improving Rachel Mayhew, from the host club, was first girl, with Josie Nelson (Halesowen) second and Mali Jones (Mid-Shropshire Whs) third.
Alex Coleston-Shields (Lichfield City) won the Under-10 race, beating his team mate Ben Askey by 12 seconds, with Matt Garner (Welland Valley) third. Lichfield City achieved the double when League-leader Erin Staite came in as first Under-10 girl. Lala Blaine (Halesowen) was second and Millie Geldard (Lichfield) third.
First Under-8 boy was Reece Edgington (Lichfield City). Luke Harris (Halesowen) was second and Ruben Snelson (Team MK) was third. First Under-8 girl was Cerys Simmons (Stratford) from Fay Garner (Welland Valley) and Grace Styler (Halesowen).
1 Darren Atkins (Team Jewson-Thule) 52:41
2 Perry Bowater (unattached) @ 36sec
3 Tom Payton (Isla Bikes) @ 53sec
4 Lee Westwood (Team Echelon)
5 Andrew Tamplin (CC Giro)
1 Danny Fox (RST Trigon) 42:23
2 Luke Markham (Rugby Velo)
3 Callum Ferguson (Halesowen A&CC)
Veterans: Peter Harris (Team Pearce Cycles). Women: Hannah Payton (Kinesis Morvelo Project).
=1 Anthony Neave (Stourbridge CC) 30:25
=1 Louis Kilworth (Welland Valley CC) 30:25
3 Alistair Williams (Redditch R&PCC) @ 53sec
Girls: Charlotte Broughton (Leicestershire RC). Under-14s: Harry Yates (Lichfield City CC).
1 Lewis Askey (Lichfield City CC) 18:39
2 Jamieson Blain (Halesowen A&CC) @ 27sec
3 Daniel Barnes (Lichfield City CC) @ 1:14
Girls: Rachel Mayhew (Solihull CC).
1 Alex Coleston Shields (Lichfield City CC)
2 Ben Askey (Lichfield City CC)
3 Matt Garner (Welland Valley CC)
Girls: Erin Staite (Lichfield City CC). Under-8s: Reece Edgington (Lichfield City CC).
Please credit www.britishcycling.org.uk and link back if you use any of our race results.
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.