Round 3 – Horwich Humdinger cross, 9th October

Report from Ed Rollason below 

Mud drenchedNormal cross season weather resumed today at Horwich, and the riders and organisers were treated to drenching, horizontal rain for much of the day. Dave Headon, the organiser had put on the usual testing course, exploiting Leverhulme Park’s twisting, technical singletrack and long grassy slogs, and was assisted on the day by Commissaire John Brailsford.

In the junior race, Thomas Craig ignored the soggy conditions to lay waste to the field, finishing with a huge gap as the remainder of the field struggled home through the increasingly thick mud.

Yet again there were over 100 starters in the senior event, and it was a strong field despite the event clashing with a national trophy event. The usual NWCCA heavy-weights were there, joined by Nick Craig (Team Scott) and a smattering of others.

Craig got his usual fast start, despite a little bit of confusion over the start and a bad crash within the first 50 yards, closely pursued by Rob Smail (CyclePremier Metaltek), Giles Drake (Team Elite) and Paul Bethell (Team Elite). The lead pair of Smail and Craig worked well together to gain a gap over Bethell, and a badly timed off for Drake put him out of contention for the win, despite a heroic fightback.

In the latter half of the race, Craig’s huge cross experience gave him the upper hand over the road racer Smail, allowing him to slowly draw away, winning by several minutes.

The rest of the field were engaged in their usual individual struggles for position and survival, caked in the sloppy mud generated by hundreds of tyres. After the sun-drenched race at Clayton Vale last week it was nice to return to ‘proper’ cross, shooting in the bright sunshine just doesn’t seem right!

(Report was originally here on Ed Rollason’s site)