Location: Hylands Park, Essex
Event: 29 April 2012
Photo: Fergus Muir
After enjoying the near summer like conditions at round 1, Mother Nature came back with a vengeance.
The normally smooth fast flowing Hylands trails were replaced by oodles of mud and rain, standing water and a good helping of wind. This all meant tricky race day decisions had to be made on course re-routing and event village location.
Nevertheless the weather did not dampen the spirits of the riders with everyone arriving on the Sunday morning. After re-routing the course around newly formed rivers and what were now duck ponds we ended up with a course of just less than four miles still with plenty of the best bits.
The morning races started with the juvenile and youth riders first to sample the course under racing conditions. The juvenile race saw Charles Broadway press home the advantage he built on the first lap to take the win from Owyn Wallace (Sherwood Pines Cycles) and home rider Jordan Beighton (Chelmsford Youth CC). In the youth race it was once again Sean Dunlea (Ciclos Uni) and Ruairi Phelan (VC Revolution) going head to head in what could be an ongoing battle for the series. Sean sealed a convincing win with Paddy Atkinson second and Ruairi finishing third after picking up a puncture on the second and final lap.
The women’s races saw a good number competing with Jo Munden (Pedal Heaven RT) proving the strongest and taking the elite/expert win. The juvenile female race was won by Kirsty Morris (Wellend Valley CC). The sport female race had the largest number of competitors with Julie Elder taking the win from Leona Kadir (La Fuga – Sigma Sport) and Sarah Turner in third.
Next up was the under 12s race in the middle of the day and the conditions had gotten progressively worse! It was really great to see so many riders take the start and brave the truly terrible conditions. In a hard fought race over an extremely muddy course Sophie Saberton (St. Ives CC) prevailed by a single second over club mate Lotty Wylde. Rounding off the podium was Madeline Oliver.
The boy’s race got under way at the same time as the girls and over many laps it was Aaron Freeman (Chelmer CC) who won. Club mates Felix Mackie and Harrison Powell (Lea Valley Youth CC) could not be separated throughout the race trading faster lap times. At the finish though it was Felix who took the second spot on the podium by two seconds from Harrison.
With the sun beginning to try and show itself the male racers took to the course. Having already seen 150 riders in the morning the course was a mixture of gloopy, watery mud with a very definitive line having been formed. Dieter Droger (Dirtwheels Cycles, who had travelled all the way from South Yorkshire) took a compelling win from Andrew Cockburn and Trevor Allen (Ergon 24H RT) in the elite/expert race. After the race Dieter said: “I’m happy to win on a fantastically thought out course.”
The junior race was interesting to watch as Daniel Barford (who usually races in the Open male race) decided it was time to race with his piers. He took a commanding win setting lap times that wouldn’t be out of place in the Elite/Expert race from Callum Riley (Newdales Cycles RT) and Will Kearse (VC Revolution). This category is going to be exciting to watch over the course of the Series.
The rest of the male races had close racing throughout with the very changing conditions making the going tricky and tough.
1. Paul Sheers – ViCiOUS Velo
2. Scott Clipstone – Army Cycling CU
3. Seb Herrod – Godiva Trailriders
1. Nigel Scott
2. Dan Howe – TROG
3. Gabor Doroghazi – Fruit4London
1. Paul Ashby – Fat Birds Don’t Fly
2. Anthony White – Cannondale Racing
3. Mick Pilcher – Numbplumz Mountainbikers
Grand Vet Male
1. Phil Buick – Iceni Velo
2. Ian Robson – MTS Cycle Sport
3. Michael Murray
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.