Day one of the 2013 British Cyclo-Cross Championships produced a couple of upsets and for one family an unforgettable piece of history.
Steve Davis regained his national 50 plus Veteran Cyclo-Cross title with a convincing ride from the front. Mick Bell, last year’s champion came through to claim second from Mick Davies.
A year ago, in Ipswich, Steve Davis lost his title in a close race with Bell which ended up in a clash close to the finish, from which Bell recovered the quickest to claim the title. This time, Davies was clearly in no mood to leave things so late and he charged off the line and soon had a gap over the chasing field.
That gap grew to 15 seconds midway through the first lap, was out to 25 seconds at the lap end and continued to grow steadily to the finish as the Hargroves Cycles rider showed that he was clearly the best rider on the day. With Phil Roach, the only man to beat him at national level this year, still on crutches after and operation, the destiny of the gold medal was clear from the mid point of the race onwards.
Bell’s defence of the title may have wilted early on, but the London Fire Brigade rider found himself in a close battle with Mick Davies, with leading over-55 rider Pete Harris shadowing the pair of them for virtually the whole of the race. Roy Hunt rolled back the years for a time, starting as high as second place before drifting back to fifth, but the silver medal eventually went to Bell, who out-sprinted Mick Davies.
Harris crossed the line fourth but took the over-55 title, with Hunt second and Malcolm Cross third. Dave McMullen was took the over-60 title, finishing an impressive sixth overall. The over-65 title went to Vic Barnett, whilst John Ginley was the over-70 champion.
Results: Veteran Men 50+ Championship
1 Steven Davies Hargroves Cycles/Specialized/Trant Vet 50 35 m 27 s
2 Mick Bell London Fire Brigade CC Vet 50 @ 1:21
3 Mick Davies Team Pedal Power Vet 50 @ 1:22
4 Peter Harris Pearce Cycles RT Vet 55 @ 1:37
5 Roy Hunt Colnago - Microshift - Skins Vet 55 @ 1:55
6 Dave McMullen Cotswold Veldrijden Vet 60 @ 2:16
7 Ian Wright Cycle Shack/Forme Coaching Vet 50 @ 2:16
8 David Phillips Cotswold Veldrijden Vet 50 @ 2:27
9 Mark Ferguson High Peak Cycles RT Vet 50 @ 2:52
10 Malcolm Cross Hargroves Cycles/Specialized/Trant Vet 55 @ 3:01
1. Peter Harris Pearce Cycles RT V55
2. Roy Hunt Colnago - Microshift - Skins V55
3. Malcolm Cross Hargroves Cycles/Specialized/Trant Vet 55
1. Dave McMullen Cotswold Veldrijden V60
2. Peter Mooney Rugby Velo V60
3. John Carr Cleveland Wheelers CC V60
1. Victor Barnett Welland Valley CC V65
2.David Miller Coventry Road Club V65
3. Barrie Mitchell Team Jewson / Thule / Kinesis / CNP / M.I. Racing
1. John Ginley Condor RC V70
2. Stuart Walters Kettering CC V70
3. Mick Ives Team Jewson / Thule / Kinesis / CNP / M.I. Racing V70
What They said
The National Over-50s Champion Steve Davies said: “It went to plan, no mistakes. I really wanted it. After last week I was a bit sketchy but I’ve rested a little bit. Last week I kept getting cramp, I don’t know why, it was a one off thing.
“I had a gap from the first lap but you can never have enough because if you get a bike problem, you don’t want to play percentages on the last lap. I like the track, I like it open. It’s not too ‘Mickey Mouse’, they’ve made it a bit faster.
Over-50s runner-up Mick Bell said: “I had a good ride today. Obviously I’m disappointed as I wanted to win again, but I couldn’t match Steve today. He’s a had a blinding season.
Third in the over-50s, Mick Davies said: “I just didn’t quite have it at the end, he was just that bit faster than me on that last section but I gave it all. It’s not too bad but I’m disappointed to be third again, I was third last year and although I’m happy to be on the podium, I am disappointed.
“It was a good race and a good course, I enjoyed it. It was technical, challenging in the right sort of way and very rideable.”
Harry Yates won the Under-14 race with a strong front running ride after he opened up a gap over the rest of the field at the end of lap one.
Dan Tulett had started the under-14 race as the strongest favourite of the day, having been virtually unbeatable in Cyclo-Cross and Cross-Country mountain biking in this age category for two seasons. However, this was not to be his day as a mechanical problem delayed him on lap one.
Tulett raced into an early lead and he had ten lengths over the rest of the field by the time he reached the pits for the first time on lap one, with the race barely a minute old. However, just after passing the pits he snapped his chain and that forced him to run perhaps two thirds of the first lap before he could get back to the pits to change bikes.
That was ample time for him to slip to the back of the field and for Yates to find himself at the head of proceedings along with Anthony Anderson, Mark Donovan and Tomos Nesham. Yates then powered clear on lap two leaving the battle for second to rage for much of the rest of the race, gradually whittling down to just Nesham and Donovan by the final lap. Anderson did his cause no favours when he clipped another rider’s wheel on the start straight and fell.
Meanwhile, all eyes were on Tulett who was soon back into his stride and chasing. With the field still fairly compressed, he made rapid progress and inside two laps he was up to fourth place. However, fatigued from the chase, he stalled at this point and could not close up into a medal position.
Yates duly took the win, the result of a cool and controlled ride, whilst Nesham finally secured second from Donovan. A downcast Tulett came over the line in fourth.
The Under-14 female race was considerably less dramatic as favourite and national series winner Jessica Roberts eased into the lead at the end of the first lap and wound that out on each lap as she closed out the race in style.
Diminutive Hope rider Lucy Horrocks was up into second by the second lap and also rode a very cool race to claim second, a surprise to many as she didn’t ride the national series. Connie Hurton in third was another surprise medallist as the remainder of the national trophy regulars struggled to stay in the race.
Results: Youth Under-14 Championship
1 Harry Yates Lichfield City CC Under 14 28 m 22 s
2 Tomos Nesham Cardiff JIF/Cyclopaedia Under 14 @ 0:18
3 Mark Donovan Beacon Wheelers Under 14 @ 0:29
4 Daniel Tulett Hargroves Cycles/Specialized/Trant Under 14 @ 1:06
5 Anthony Anderson La Fuga Sigma Sport Under 14 @ 2:43
6 Thomas Mein MTS Cyclesport/Inkland/Elvet RT Under 14 @ 2:55
7 Dougal Toms Iceni Velo Under 14 @ 3:07
8 Edward Gronbech Oxford City RC Under 14 @ 3:17
9 Jamie Ridehalgh Airedale Chemical RT Under 14 @ 4:03
10 Georg Mew Jensen Lee Valley Youth CC Under 14 @ 4:11
1 Jessica Roberts Towy Riders U14 Girl 33 m 18 s
2 Lucy Horrocks Team Hope Factory Racing U14 Girl @ 2:47
3 Connie Hurton Beacon Wheelers U14 Girl @ 3:16
4 Madeleine Gammons Bourne Wheelers CC U14 Girl @ 3:33
5 Emily Wadsworth Beeline Bicycles RT U14 Girl @ 3:43
6 Rhona Callander Stirling Bike Club U14 Girl @ 4:48
7 Sophie Holmes Vivelo Bikes / Inverse Cyclaim RT U14 Girl @ 5:00
8 Joni Wildman Nottingham Clarion CC U14 Girl @ 5:07
9 Megan James Abergavenny RC/Lane/Govilon/Gateway U14 Girl @ 5:08
10 Sophie Thackray Paul Milnes/Bradford Olympic RC U14 Girl @ 6:19
What They Said
Under-14s winner Harry Yates said: “This is the biggest win of my career and didn’t really expect it, coming into this I was aiming to get as close to Dan as possible in the whole season.
“I haven’t caught him yet in the National Trophy so I was aiming to hopefully get second so I exceeded my expectations.
When I found out Dan had broken his chain, I just went for it because I knew it would depend on how fast he’s running and I knew if he got back on his bike quick enough then he was going to catch me.
“I had that in my mind because you never guess that Dan’s not going to do it, I expected him to be on the finish line with me with the speed that he can hit and where he can come in the under 16s.”
National Trophy winner Dan Tulett, who snapped his chain on the first lap, said: “It’s hard. You’ve got to believe that you can always come back from anything but in this case I couldn’t. I don’t really know what I was thinking, you just have to push through it.
“The chain came off just after the pits. It’s a hard race and I can’t believe it happened but it has to happen at some time. I just have to move on.”
Thomas Craig made history when he took the Under-16 race, repeating the feat of his father, Nick, some 28 years earlier in the process.
The strongest start was made by Tomas Franklin, who rocketed into the lead and only Craig could keep in contact with him as he burned round the opening lap. Behind them David Barnes, Jake Poole and William Gascoyne formed a loose chase group.
Franklin looked to have control of the race until close to the end of the second lap when slowed having unshipped his chain. Craig took the opportunity to close up on him and briefly take the lead. This heralded a battle between the pair which saw them swapping the lead for almost a lap before a trip to pits by Franklin allowed Craig to open up a gap.
That gap didn’t at first appear significant, but suddenly Franklin fell back and from there on in to the finish Craig was in control. Taller and perhaps broader than his father, he nonetheless shares certain stylistic similarities with Nick and he also seems to have inherited some of his Dad’s popularity as he was cheered all the way round the course.
Franklin seemed resigned to his fate, but that allowed Gascoyne to claw his way up to him. However, that prompted a response and Franklin put in a burst on the last lap that gave him second place ahead of Gascoyne in third. Meanwhile Craig crossed the line well clear, his face split by a huge grin, to claim his first national title.
Results: Youth Under-16
1 Thomas Craig Team Scott UK Youth 33 m 48 s
2 Tomas Franklin Hargroves Cycles/Specialized/Trant Youth @ 0:52
3 William Gascoyne Matlock CC/Chubb/Farmers/Wards/Fearns Youth @ 0:55
4 David Barnes Condor Cycles Youth @ 2:07
5 Calum Magowan Peebles CC Youth @ 2:32
6 Jake Poole Dirtwheels Cycles Youth @ 2:36
7 Alfie Moses Paul Milnes/Bradford Plympic RC Youth @ 2:40
8 Ewan Grivell-Mellor Mid Shropshire Wheelers Youth @ 2:45
9 Christopher Barnes www.Zepnat.com RT/Kuota/GSG Youth @ 3:20
10 Anthony Neave Stourbridge CC Youth @ 3:28
What They Said
Under-16 Boys winner Tom Craig said: “This is the first time I’ve won a trophy or National Championship so it’s really good. Tom Franklin went off at the start and he went off for a bit and I think his chain came off or something like that so I got past him and that was that.
“I went round the course with my dad beforehand so that was good. Over Christmas I was a bit ill with a chest infection but I’m OK now. I loved the course, it’s nice and slippy and had a bit of running.”
Abby Mae Parkinson successfully defended her Under-16 title with a confident and controlled ride. Charlotte Broughton, who had beaten her in the final round of the National Trophy was the early leader, with Sarah Lomas chasing her off the front.
However, Parkinson was up into the lead at the end of the opening lap and although Abigail Van Twisk briefly usurped her, Parkison’s all-round power and technical excellence soon allowed her to pull clear as her rivals battled to get into the race.
Broughton’s challenge was ended by a collision with a tree, whilst Grace Garner began to pressure Van Twisk as the pair battled for second. Garner briefly looked to be getting the better of the contest, but Van Twisk responded and went on to claim second. Garner took third despite a late challenge from Amira Mellor.
But in the end it was Parkinson’s day, though her celebrations were delayed as she was the only one to avoid being lapped by Thomas Craig and so had to ride an extra lap before she could finish. So she had the unusual experience of coming in to claim the win with her rivals already parked up and waiting for her.
Under-16 Girls Championship
1 Abby-Mae Parkinson RST Racing Team - Trigon U16 Girl 33 m 49 s
2 Abigail van Twisk VC Londres U16 Girl @ 0:09
3 Grace Garner RST Racing Team - Trigon U16 Girl @ 0:20
4 Amira Mellor Holme Valley Wheelers U16 Girl @ 1:00
5 Jessica Wilkinson Birkenhead North End CC U16 Girl @ 2:21
6 Sarah Lomas Matlock CC/Chubb/Farmers/Wards/Fearns U16 Girl @ 2:53
7 Ffion James Abergavenny RC/Lane/Govilon/Gateway U16 Girl @ 3:41
8 Martha Gill Bolton Hot Wheels CC U16 Girl @ 4:02
9 Emma Borthwick Edinburgh RC/Martin Currie RT U16 Girl @ 4:34
10 Hannah Saville North Midlands Youth Squad U16 Girl @ 5:55
What They Said
Under-16 Girls winner Abby-Mae Parkinson said: “I’m so, so happy! I’ve been worried about this race for a long time and last night I couldn’t sleep.
“After the first lap I was thinking, ‘Oh my word any of these three girls I’m with could get it’. But I was lucky to have disc brakes, I could corner quicker than them and I knew if I took one corner and got out of it really fast, I’d have a bit of a gap and I just went for it.
“It’s been an absolutely amazing year, I’ve not had a race where I’ve not finished on podium. So it’s been like a dream come true, I never thought that would happen.”
VETERAN 40 +
With his son Thomas’s historic Youth race win already in the bank, it was down to father Nick to add another layer of significance to the day for the Craig clan and he duly delivered with an emphatic win in the Veteran-40 race. Course-side sages seemed to be in agreement that this was, at least, the first instance in British Cyclo-Cross of a father and son winning national titles at the same championships.
Craig was gridded on the second row, but came through quickly to take up the race with national series winner Darren Atkins. Chris Rathbone, defending champion Jim Bryan and Ian Taylor rounded out a quality top five at the end of the first lap.
Atkins and Craig seemed to be opening up a gap on the chasers on the second lap, but pressure from Craig on the climb up the main banking towards the end of the lap gapped Atkins, who was joined in a battle for second by Mike Simpson, who had moved up well.
Craig’s lead was six seconds at the line and that had gone out to 20 seconds a lap later as the Scott rider’s neat and economical style belied his speed over the ground. Atkins and Simpson didn’t allow their battle to slow them and they steadily built up a decent lead over Taylor.
Craig was clearly in no mood to miss out on a family double and he continued to build his lead. Atkins and Simpson similarly maintained their clear water back to a battle which included Taylor, Rathbone and Bryan.
Craig duly took the title with the minimum of fuss and he is also lined up to ride Sunday’s senior race, so his family’s medal winning weekend may not yet be finished.
The Atkins verses Simpson battle went right to the wire, with Darren claiming second after a protracted sprint up the finishing straight. Simpson was third, ahead of Bryan, who eventually got the better of Taylor. Pete Middleton was sixth, taking the over-45 title in the process.
Veteran Men 40-49 Championship
1 Nick Craig Team Scott UK Vet 40 40 m 55 s
2 Darren Atkins Team Jewson/Thule/Kinesis/CNP/MI Vet 40 @ 0:43
3 Michael Simpson GS Henley Vet 40 @ 0:46
4 James Bryan www.Zepnat.com RT/Kuota/GSG Vet 40 @ 1:40
5 Ian Taylor Craven Energy Vet 40 @ 1:48
6 Peter Middleton www.Zepnat.com RT/Kuota/GSG Vet 45 @ 2:10
7 Chris Rathbone www.velobici.cc Vet 40 @ 2:17
8 Andrew Peace Crosstrax Vet 40 @ 2:25
9 Greg Simcock Team Scott UK Vet 40 @ 2:25
10 Noel Clough Fietsen Tempo Vet 45 @ 2:28
11 Chris Taylor Pedalsport CC Vet 40 @ 2:51
12 Stephen Knight Team Jewson/Thule/Kinesis CNP/MI Vet 45 @ 3:04
13 Richard Noble Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue Vet 40 @ 3:11
14 Chris Young Pedalsport CC Vet 45 @ 3:22
15 Matthew Denby Team Jewson/Thule/Kineses/CNP/MI Vet 45 @ 3:31
1. Pete Middleton www.Zepnat.Com RT / Kuota / GSG Clothing V45
2. Noel Clough Fietsen Tempo V45
3. Stephen Knight Team Jewson / Thule / Kinesis / CNP / M.I. Racing V45
What They Said
Over-40s winner Nick Craig said: “That was good but Thomas’ ride was something special, I’m chuffed with that. Tom was ill over Christmas but he came back and held it together, I’m really chuffed for him. We’re one happy family today, Charlie in the under 12s too, not a national event, but still not a bad Craig day!
“You never know with Darren Atkins on the day, Jim was obviously not right today, but you never know with those guys. You have to go out there with full respect to those guys, you can’t just roll round it.”
And runner-up for the fourth year in a row Darren Atkins said: “Obviously I want to win and so does everyone else, I thought I had a chance this year but riding against Nick is pretty impossible.
“I’m disappointed but then to be honest I could have got beat by a lot of guys out there today, with a couple of laps to go I started to cramp and I haven’t had cramp for ages, not in a couple of years.
“I don’t know what it was, whether I just got too nervous or what. The National Trophy is nice to win but I’m more bothered about this, I really wanted to win this one.
“It was a good race with Mike, I enjoyed that. He’s a really nice guy, most of the guys are, we all get on really well. I wouldn’t have been that shocked if he came second and I got third, it wouldn’t have been the end of the world.
“It’s not the end of the world, there are a lot of guys who are happy to come second or third or even top ten so I don’t want to come across as ungrateful, so I’m happy enough.
“You know what Rocky Balboa said about the true sign of a champion, it’s not how hard you can punch but how hard you can get punched and keep coming back for more so I take that attitude.”