With the Welsh Championships combined with the final round of the 2019 Welsh Cyclo-cross league it was all to play for as Abergavenny RC closed out the league with one of the toughest and technical cyclo-cross courses of the league.
The venue, Gilwern Outdoor Education Centre had a bit of everything for the riders but it also included a hill akin to the famous Belgian cobbled climb the Koppenberg, which features in the Tour of Flanders. The one in Gilwern was just minus the cobbles and featured a lot more mud.
The day also saw the culmination of the Welsh Cycling and Frog Bikes competition. The competition which was launched in the previous rounds allowed any competitor under the age of 16 a chance to win a Frog Bike of their choosing. The winner was Eli Williams who said he was ‘very happy’ to win the bike and would use it to go mountain biking with his Dad.
Entertaining Youth races kicked proceedings off
The first race in which the Welsh jersey was up for grabs was the U10’s and in an entertaining race it was Cameron Reeves (Abergavenny RC) and Aisling Charlesworth (Fibrax Wrexham Road Club) who took home victory, but it was a close run affair as a contingent from Gower Riders – Katie Evans and Kellan Heuberger pushed the winners all the way. For Mali Emmerson (Whitchurch CC) and Joshua Page (Dyffryn Conwy) they completed the podium in third.
In the under-12’s Aelwen Davies (Towy Riders) showed her intent from the get-go as she looked to claim the Welsh jersey. Josephine Hurst (Rhyl Cycling Club) and Mabli Phillips (Maindy Flyers) tried their best to close the gap throughout the race, but Aelwen proved too strong and took an impressive victory.
In the boys equivalent, Maindy Flyers had a good race as Finlay Storrie and Daniel Davies took first and third respectively while Alex Carson (Dyffryn Conwy) took second.
Elsewhere in the junior categories Finlay Tarling (WORX Factory Racing) and Alfie Davies (A Cycling) had a good battle throughout in the under-14 boys, but it was Tarling who took the win, with Tom Carson (Dyffryn Conwy) completing the podium. One what turned out to be a successful day for Cardiff JIF it was Anwen Nesham who kicked off the success with a victory in the under-14 girl’s race. The JIF rider didn’t have it all her own way though, as Faye Williams (Rhyl Cycling Club) and fellow JIF racer Jessica Hoskins pushed her close in second and third.
Griff Lewis (Ystwyth CC) once again put in an assured and impressive display in the under-16 boys to take the win ahead of Huw Buck Jones (Marsh Tracks Racing – Trek) and Jack Hastings (Cardiff JIF). In the girls race Ella Maclean-Howell (Cardiff JIF) put in a great performance to win ahead of equally impressive riders Awen Roberts (Towy Riders) and Freya Evans (The Bulls).
Cai Davies and Ruby Miller take home senior men and women crown
As we moved into the afternoon session, the course was adapted and it was time for the final races of the day with the men and women tussles taking centre stage.
Heading into the women’s race all eyes would have been on Ruby Miller to see if she could replicate her dominant form throughout the series and claim the Welsh jersey. Again, the occasion didn’t seem to bother Miller as she battled through the course and took an impressive victory ahead of Ruby Carleton (Maindy Flyers) and Holly Bradbrook (Marsh Tracks Racing – Trek).
Elsewhere in the women categories, Fran Whyte (Velobants CC) powered around the course to take victory in the vet40’s while Clare Hoskins carried her good form from previous rounds and took victory in the Vet50 category.
In the men’s race the climb was going to pivotal for whoever wanted to take victory, whoever could get ahead of their rivals well positioned would have the best chance of taking victory. In the opening laps it was Steven James (Hope Factory Racing), Cai Davies (Finchley Racing Team) and Joe Beckingsale (Wales Racing Academy) who separated themselves from the rest of the field. But as the race grew on, it was James who got stronger and took home the victory after a punishing hour’s race. With James not yet Welsh eligible, the Welsh jersey rolled over to the next best place rider Davies.
Elsewhere it Timothy Davies (Abergavenny CC & JP Signs & Prints) took victory in the Vet50, while Nicholas Whitley (Chester RC) and Lynn Lines (Gateway Racing) took home the jersey in the Vet40 and Vet60 respectively.
Full results of the 2019 Welsh Cyclo-cross Championship