The third round of our Welsh Cyclo-cross League took us across the border into Foxley Estate, Hereford and despite the very wet conditions, competitors did not let this stop them from having fun and delivered a fantastic day of racing. With a very good turnout on the day, riders battled it out for podium positions and the all-important league points.
Much success was had across the board as riders ranging from the Under-6 category, right through to the Vet60 Men’s Category took to the podium to be crowned winners. The persistent driving rain throughout the day made an already challenging course all the more difficult.
Action galore unfolded on this tough technical course which included sharp turns, a range of difficult terrain, stream crossings, and sections of hurdles. Riders were not only challenged by the course and the difficult conditions, but mechanicals proved an issue for many throughout the day – adding extra complexity to the racing.
Action ensued across multiple age categories throughout the morning, with the Under-6’s firstly braving the weather and kicking off proceedings. Building on her bronze performance from last week’s round, Daisy Duffield (Whitchurch CC) clinched the win for the Under-Six girls ahead of Corynn Perry (Gower Riders) and Tarynn Perry. For the Under-Six boys, Macsen Harris (Abergavenny Road Club) made it his third consecutive win of the series after a very successful race.
This was quickly followed by the Under-8’s race, in which Cadi Emmerson (Whitchurch CC) matched last week’s performance by following up the victory with another win, Ffion Davis (The Bulls) taking second and Isla Warrender (Towy Riders) taking third. Freddie Roberts (Hafren CC) clinched the win in a close Under-Eight boy’s race, finishing ahead of Isaac McAdie (Gower Riders) and Stefan Jewell (Ystwyth CC).
Next to take to the course was the Under-10s, and Cameron Reeves (Abergavenny Road Club) produced another very strong performance to take the honours – pipping Laurence Denney (Maindy Flyers Youth CC) and Zak Lewis (The Bulls) to the post. For the girls, Katie Evans built on last week’s performance to take the victory ahead of Mali Emerson (Whitchurch CC) and Poppie Haynes (Ystywth CC).
The last competitors to take to the field as part of the Kids Races were the Under-12’s, and many fantastic performances were showcased around the technical corners. Finlay Storrie (Maindy Flyers Youth CC) was the first to cross the finish line and take the honours after a very close race, with Daniel Davies in second (Maindy Flyers Youth CC) and Finn Davies (A Cycling) in third. The girl’s race was equally as close as competitors gave it their all, with Aelwen Davies (Towy Riders) claiming the top podium position ahead of Mabli Philips (Maindy Flyers Youth CC) and Kitty Walton (Gower Riders).
As the kids races came to a conclusion, it was the turn of the Youth riders to battle it out on the course – and they certainly did just that. Despite the conditions of the course worsening as it became ever more slippery, competitors rode hard until the very last end which made it all the more exciting for spectators. Alfie Davies (A Cycling) came out on top in the Under-14 boy’s race with a four-second lead on Sam Fisher (Maindy Flyers Youth CC), who was followed by Cian Evans (The Bulls) in third place. Hannah Cockroft (Malvern Cycle Sport) produced some very impressive lap times to take the win in the Under-14 girls’ race, closely followed by Anwen Nesham (Cardiff JIF) and Imogen Morris (Gower Riders).
With less than a second between the top three in the under-16 boy’s race, it proved to be a very close but also a very exciting race in which competition was high. After an epic battle, Griff Lewis (Ystwyth CC) clinched victory ahead of Harry Cockroft (Malvern Cycle Sport) and Sullivan Berry (Redditch Road and Path CC). Competition was also high in the under-16 girls’ race, with less than a second between first and second place. After going wheel to wheel with Freya Evans (The Bulls), Bethany Bennett (Towy Riders) clinched the victory and Imogen followed in third position (Gower Riders).
While the conditions continued to worsen, some spectacular racing was shown in the Women’s race, with many stand out performances across the various categories. Both Clare Hoskins in the Vet50 Women’s race and Ruby Carleton (Maindy Flyers CC) in the Junior Women retained their winning title after clinching the win, and Joanne Rees was also first to cross the finish line for the Vet40 Women, after all producing very quick lap times. In the Senior Women’s Category, Carol Thomas secured top podium position. Speaking to Welsh Cycling post-race, Thomas emphasised that the course was “very, very muddy”. Thomas continued: “It is only my second cyclocross race so I wasn’t used to the mud at all, but it was really fun”.
As the last race of the day unfolded and the Men took to the course in a race that was hotly contested, they certainly did not let the mud get in the way of their fun. As competitors upped the pace whilst tackling the difficult terrain that had become slippery under foot, it was certainly a showcase of talent. After just under an hour of racing, the results could not have been closer across the board as competitors raced hard around the course. Ben Nott took the honours in the Senior Men Category, with a one-second advantage. Iwan Evans (The Bulls) was first to cross the finish line after a hard-fought battle in the Junior Men’s race. More success was had in the Vet Men Category, as Mark James (Dream Cycling) secured the win in the Vet50 category and so too did Simon Loose (Abergavenny Road Club) in the Vet40 category – both of these wins secured with less than a second advantage over the chasing second position.