A grand day out in the mud…
Haslingden’s first ever cyclocross race took part in Victoria Park in mud, glorious mud, but on a dry, cool November day. The second Wheelbase event to be run in the borough of Rossendale in two years, Haslingdon’s historical park saw some top action from the UKs top cyclocross riders. In contrast to the bright sunshine over crisp and frozen snow at last year’s event in Waterfoot, the parcours was wet mud after a full ten days of rain.
Organiser Dave Haygarth had revised the course drastically in advnace of the event when it became clear that the rain had got its way: “The challenge is to make it a race – no-one really minds the mud, but technical parts of the course were just no longer necessary when the simpler bits were going to get so badly cut up”.
So – on the day – a record 118 riders signed on in the Senior event, and you don’t get much bigger names than Paul Oldham, Rob Jebb, Ian Bibby and Jonny McEvoy – all of whom have represented Great Britain in Cyclocross in the last few years. Oldham was always going to be the favourite for the £100 first prize and pulled no punches, leading from the gun and easing away from the field bit by tiny bit on each of the 7 min laps. The fight behind from Bibby and Jebb was never going to allow Oldham to relax for long, and their tough battling in contrasting styles was a joy to watch. Bibby stayed ahead of Jebb in the dying stages and enjoyed day one of his return to ‘cross for 2009 (all three were to do battle the next day in Richmond).
Meanwhile, McEvoy – relying on only one bike – rode with utter guts and determination to destroy the hopes of some riders behind him with full pit crews. Veteran Matt Denby took the top vets prize and 5th position overall. Wheelbase’s Sue Clarke came home the first lady – another pre-race favourite living up to expectations, whilst the top Junior was Sport City Velo’s Martin Woffindin.
In the Under 12s race, Matt Walls of Eastlands Velo won the first boy, whilst the first girl home was team mate Kim Baptista. The following race on a course that was already showing signs of wear and tear was the U16s race, won by long distance visitor Dylan Kerfoot-Robson (Rhos on Sea) and first girl home was Hannah Layland, (VC St Raphael).
Report on the British Cycling website here.
Full Results from all the events here
Photos from Joolze Dymond here to browse or below as a slideshow.
Photos from Phil Haygarth of the U12s Event (slideshow below, browse here):
Photos from Cheryl King (slideshow below, browse here):