South of England Cyclo-Cross Championships
Event: 9 December 2012
Location: War Memorial Park, Basingstoke
Preview: Graham Robins
Sunday 9 December sees the South of England Championships at Basingstoke in Hampshire.
The races will be held by kind permission of Basingstoke Council at the War Memorial Park in the town centre. The park has two large playing fields and a small wooded area to negotiate; there is also a small sharp climb and a narrow knife edge single track on each lap.
The event is promoted by North Hants Road Club and is a round of both the Wessex League and the South West League.
The morning gets underway at 10:30 with the under 12’s race and concludes with an hour’s racing for the senior’s at 2pm.
The women’s race has a total of fourteen entries and heading the list of potential winners is Tamina Oliver (Hargroves Cycles) who is currently leading the Wessex League by three points from Sarah Woods (Wightlink/Offshore) with Claire Smith (Cotswold Veldrijden) not too far behind and in good form after winning the round at Oxford a couple of weeks ago. Other women in good form this season include, Rudy Baker (Behind the Bikeshed) and Anna Cipullo (Hargroves Cycles), and if any of the front runners do faultier these could be there in the mix for medals.
Another small entry will line up in the junior race but where numbers are low the quality is very high. Out of the nine entries there could be at least six fighting it out for a podium positions. There is a strong entry from Hargroves Cycles with Matt Hargroves, Matt Woods and Harvey Lowe all in good form. Joe Griffiths (Dream Cycling) and Jason Pitt (AW Cycles) will not be far behind.
The youth race will be the most keenly contested race with so many good young riders all in very good form throughout the season. Ed Gronbech (Oxford City RC) currently leads the Wessex League with Christopher Rothwell and Jack Saunders (Swindon RC) also having a good season. The female winner could come from anywhere with so many good riders. The ones to look out for would be Zoe Sheehan (Swindon RC), Emily Wadsworth (Beeline Cycles) and Emma Pitt (AW Cycles).
While it will be difficult in the youth races the Veterans race will be even harder to call. With a mixed entry from several different areas and Leagues it will be intriguing to see who comes out on top in this one. Steven Davies (Team Jewson) will be difficult to beat on current form but he will have his work cut out keeping Mike Simpson (GS Henley) and Sean Williams (Wightlink/Offshore), both riders in good form. Dave McMullen (Team GWR) and Will Girvan (North Hants RC) will not be too far off the pace along with a very strong entry from the Cotswold Veldrijden team lead by Keith Sheridan and David Hobbs.
The senior race will be one of the best races seen in the area this year as there are so many good entries all over the start sheets. Hargroves Cycles field a strong team headed by current under 23 champions Steve James and he will be run close by Andy Hargroves and Crispin Doyle and Matt MacDonald. The Wheelbase Cannondale team will be looking towards in form Michael Cotty. Luke Gray (Trek Cross Collective) will be back on the mainland having spent the season racing in Belgium.
Other riders holding good form and also in with a good chance of a podium spot are Adrian Lansley (Pedal On), Richard Lewis from local club (CC Basingstoke)and Ian Legg (Primera Specialized).