Contributor: Iain Fairley
A worthy and challenging setting for the championships.
Abergavenny Road Club hosted the Welsh Championships at the Abergavenny Leisure Centre and King Henry VIII school last weekend on typically grey early December day. The ever-popular venue has regularly hosted national level events and proved a worthy and challenging setting for the championship race. The course wound around the banked grass and small wooded areas, with excellent spectating opportunities from the lively event village as riders crisscrossed the area several times a lap.
Heavy rain in the preceding week had many competitors looking forward to a race in ‘proper’ cyclocross conditions. They weren’t disappointed: while there were only a few patches of deep mud, many of the cambered corners and banks were slippery enough to pose the run or ride conundrum.
The Kids race rocked, huge talent developing in the kids sections
After the kid’s races were enthusiastically completed, the first of the Championship races started with the Youth and Juvenile categories. Even so early in the day, the pits were busy as riders battled mud-balled tyres and clogged drivetrains caused by the tacky ground conditions
Benjamin Bright (Marsh Tracks Racing – Trek) won the Youth Male Championship by 2 minutes; while there was a home win in the Youth Girls for Madeline Osborn (Abergavenny Road Club). In the Juvenile category, Emyr Truelove (Abergavenny Road Club) and Awen Roberts (Towy Riders) took the Welsh jerseys. Best wishes and swift healing to Freya Evans (The Bulls) who badly injured her leg in the race.
Grips started to deteriorate with increased traffic
After an intermission in the Championship races allowed first-timers to try cyclocross in a ‘go-cross’ race; the veterans, women and juniors took centre stage. Large fields across all the categories led to some exciting racing; as the grip deteriorated with increased traffic, line choice became crucial and meant riders regularly traded positions.
Abergavenny Road Club gained another home jersey as William Truelove won the junior men’s category. The hotly contested Veteran 40+ category was won by Nicholas Whitley (Chester RC), improving on his silver medal last year. In the Veteran 50+ category Ian Jeremiah (Cardiff JIF) beat last year’s champion Tim Davies into second to take the jersey.
After the race, Tim said ‘Ian was really up for it, rode well and was the stronger man on the day, a really deserving winner.’ Andy Firman (Cycle-tec) retained his title in the V60s category.
Ruby Miller retained her Championship
In the womens category, Ruby Miller (Hope Factory Racing), retained her championship title, while once again Clare Dallimore (Cardiff AJAX) won the silver medal.
After staying dry for most of the proceedings, a light rain started to fall as the senior men lined up for the last race of the day; adding an extra bit of slip to the already greasy terrain. The absence of last year’s champion Gruffudd Lewis meant a new champion was guaranteed and provided extra incentive for the front-runners.
Riders unleashed in a tightly packed field
The start whistle unleashed the riders and they sprinted up the hill towards the event village. After passing the finish arch, the course narrowed into the first wooded section and through to some tight grassy turns. Things settled down as the racers passed through the event village for the second time and sticky mud meant the battle was as much against the course as other competitors for many mid-pack participants.
Being the last race of the day, some helpful ruts had formed round some of the corners giving extra grip and speed if ridden successfully; failure to do so often giving a trip towards the tape. At the head of the race Steven James (Hope Factory Racing) and Joe Beckingsale (Wales Racing Academy), were locked in a head to head battle for the first few laps. Eventually Steven James pulled out a gap to win the race. Describing the course, he said ‘It was great, tough and the first properly muddy cyclocross conditions we’ve had for the Welsh races.’ With James ineligible for the Welsh Championship, the title was awarded to Joe Beckingsale, who came in 22 seconds down on James.
Thanks to Abergavenny RC and volunteers for hosting such a successful event and, as always, thanks to the commissaire and timing teams. The final Welsh League race is at Pembrey on the 16th December, using the ski-slope area which is a different part of the park to the previous to rounds there.
The championship medalists in all categories were:
1. Ben Bright - Marsh Tracks Racing - Trek
2. Huw Buck-Jones - Marsh Tracks Racing - Trek
3. Spencer Davies - CC Abergavenny and Jack Hastings - Cardiff JIF
1. Madeleine Osborn - Abergavenny RC
2. Ella Maclean-Howell - Cardiff JIF
3. Holly Bradbrook - Marsh Tracks Racing - Trek
1. Emyr Truelove - Abergavenny RC
2. Alfie Davies - A Cycling
3. Kieron Heuberger - Gower Riders
1. Awen Roberts - Towy Riders
2. Bethany Bennett - Towy Riders
3. Anwen Nesham - Cardiff JIF
1. Will Truelove - Abergavenny RC
2. Will Harding - Marsh Tracks Racing - Trek
3. Huw Higgins-Worrall - Abergavenny RC
1. Ian Jeremiah - Cardiff JIF
2. Tim Davies - CC Abergavenny/JP Signs & Print
3. Grant Johnson
1. Nicholas Whitley - Chester RC
2. Glyn Griffiths - 73Degrees CC
3. Frazer White - Pontypool RCC
1. Andy Firman - Cycle-Tec
2. Lynn Lines - Gateway Racing
3. Clive Powell
Vets Team Championship
1. Cardiff JIF
2. Abergavenny RC
3. Gower Riders
1. Ruby Miller - Hope Factory Racing
2. Clare Dallimore - Cardiff Ajax
3. Clare Hoskins - Cardiff JIF
Womens Team Championship
1. Cardiff JIF
2. Cardiff Ajax
3. Gower Riders
1. Joe Beckingsale - Wales Racing Academy
2. Lee Williams - Orbea Factory Team UK
3. Chris Roberts - Hafren CC
Senior Men's Team Championship
1. CC Abergavenny/JP Signs & Print
2. Cardiff JIF
3. Gateway Racing