Michael Cotty (Wheelbase/Cannondale) led from start to finish to take a comfortable win about a minute ahead of Adrian Lansley (Pedal On) in the STFC RAL Cross in South Oxfordshire.
The pair were well clear of the rest of the field on a chilly afternoon at Rutherford Appleton Lab in Didcot.
Round seven of the league took place on the side of the hill surrounding the Lab, with the event promoted by Swindon Road Club. After overnight wind and rain the chalky ground was firm and very fast and despite a small shower during the youth race the top surface wasn’t too slippery, although it was chilly on the exposed hillside.
Once the first lap came to an end Michael and Adrian were clear of Michael Guildford (Silva/Craft), Dan Lewis (RAF CA), Paul Lloyd (Rides on Air) and league leader Ian Legg (Primera Specialized).
On the next couple of laps while Michael consolidated his lead there were changes going on behind Adrian. Paul and Dan were now having a good tussle while Chris Minter was slipping through the field and soon was running in fifth place.
With three laps to go Michael put in a fast lap trying to break the elastic to Adrian and he soon had extended the lead to 20 seconds with the race for third between Paul and Dan now back at one minute thirty five seconds. Chris Minter was still gaining time but now he was alone in fifth place a further forty second back.
At the bell Michael’s lead was now forty three seconds over Adrian with Paul now just edging it over Dan by twenty seconds but they were over two minutes thirty behind the leaders.
The combined race for the vets/juniors/women was won by Steve Davies (South Fork Racing) after a race long fight with Mike Simpson (GS Henley) right up until the last few hundred meters.
Once the race got underway Steve and Mike pulled away from a group containing Sean Williams (Wightlink/Offshore), Lewis King (Beeline Cycles), and junior pair Harvey Lowe and Matt Woods (Hargroves Cycles) who were ahead of Dave McMullen (GWR Team).
Whilst Matt Woods dropped away Dave had a mechanical which in turn left Sean on his own with Harvey 20secs back. The nature of the twisty up and down course riders could gauge where they were on the course and Sean put in a big effort but he had either left his efforts too late on run out of laps as he finished the stronger rider but was unable to close the gap to the leaders.
As the two leaders came over the knife edge leading to the finish section Steve had a couple of seconds on Mike but once through this section Steve was ten seconds clear and it was he who rode to a solo win.
Tamina Oliver (Hargroves Cycles) was a clear winner of the women’s race finishing 17th overall from Sarah Woods (Wightlink Offshore) with local girl Laura Cooper (Didcot Phoenix) third.
Harvey Lowe (Hargroves Cycles) was the first junior a couple of place ahead of team mate Matt Woods with Callum Haseler (Cotswold Veldrijden) in third.
The youth race earlier was hampered by a light shower but it didn’t put off Chris Rothwell (Swindon RC) as the soon took control of the race and eased out a large gap as he powered up the climbs while others had to run up.
The only other rider who managed to match his speed was Edward Gronbech (Oxford City RC) but he slipped backwards lap on lap.
The climbs soon took their toll on the others as large gaps soon appeared with each rider riding on their own. Behind Chris and Edward were Jack Saunders (Swindon RC) and Dan Tuley (Chapel tri Stars) but these two were now nearly two minutes down.
The girls’ race was won by Ciara Hutchinson (Swindon RC), who finished clear of team mate Rhianna Jones who in turn was ahead of Sister Seren Jones.
The morning got underway with the now usual large entry (37) from the under 12s. The three usual front runners Jay Allen, Angus Hawkins (PPV) and Harry Dridge (Southdown Velo) soon had a lead on the extended course designed to split up the race.
Whilst these three run together for much of the race it was Angus that made the first mistake and he let Harry pass but on the next lap the young rider caught and passed him again to regain the place. Jay was enjoying a clear path as he scythed the slower riders taking his time to pick his passing moves.
There was an interesting race going on between with the girls with Alderney Baker (Southdown Velo), Anna Wadsworth, Alexa Hawkins and Maddie Wadsworth (Palmer Park),all running quite close together. Alderney won out in the end with all four girls finishing in the top eight places.
1 Michael Cotty Wheelbase Cannondale
2 Adrian Lansley Pedal On
3 Paul Lloyd Rides on Air
4 Dan Lewis RAF CA
5 Christopher Minter Pedal On
1 Steve Davies South Fork Racing
2 Mike Simpson GS Henley
3 Sean Williams Wightlink Offshore
4 Harvey Lowe Hargroves Cycles and first Junior
5 Lewis King Beeline Cycles
1 Chris Rothwell Swindon RC
2 Edward Gronbech Oxford City RC
3 Jack Saunders Swindon RC
4 Elliott Lassiter Swindon RC
5 Dan Tuley Chapel Tri Stars
1 Jay Allen Palmer Park Velo
2 Angus Hawkins Palmer Park Velo
3 Harry Dridge Southdown Velo
4 Rowan Turner unattached
5 Alderney Baker Southdown Velo
6 Anna Wadsworth Palmer Park Velo
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