Interview: Jody Crawforth (Hargroves Cycles)

It’s been a good start to the ‘cross season for Jody Crawforth of Hargroves Cycles with a victory last weekend in Huddersfield

LINK: Rapha Supercross Round 2 Report

One look at the results sheets for ‘cross races and you can see how popular this sport is in Britain. For the Elite riders, there is also plenty to keep them busy with not only the National Trophy but now the Rapha SuperCross series as well which has its finale next weekend in Ally Pally (Alexandra Palace, London).

Jody had a mixed start to that series with a crash which denied him a tilt at the win on the shores of Lake Windermere (or just Windermere to keep the locals happy!). Jody then travelled over to West Yorkshire and Huddersfield where he crossed the line first.

“I was determined to win that one” he says. “That’s my first win for a while now. I went off pretty fast on the first lap and made sure I got a good start. I used to be a fast starter in the past and have lost that a bit so I want to improve that again.”

Photo: Ray Stuart.

Jody explained how in the Rapha Supercross the riders are gridded like they are in the Halfords Tour Series, teams across the road with the riders in a line behind their team leader. But just because you are at the front doesn’t mean the getaway will see you lead into the first corner.

“Even if you are gridded well, you still have to get your foot in the pedal and get away fast into that first corner” Jody explained. “Getting a good start is important because sometimes your rivals may get stuck back in fifth place which means they’ll have to work hard to catch you.”

“It’s something I have to keep practising all the time because there’s lots of pressure on everyone trying to do the same thing at the same time at the start. You need to focus and deal with the pressure to get it right and be ready for that explosive effort for the first lap, sprinting out of the corners and trying to get a bit of a gap”.

It means, says Jody, that the warm-up before the race is also crucial. Talking about the race at Huddersfield last Sunday, Jody explained “I had a bit of a lead on the first lap and I saw my teammate Steve James was in the group behind with Lee Williams and Paul (Oldham) chasing.”

“So I thought I would keep myself out there in the wind… and then Paul caught me and Steve dropped back a little bit so I then I sat on Paul a bit because I didn’t want to put any extra distance between me and my teammate (James). If he had of caught us up, then with two of us from Hargroves Cycles at the front, we could have tried to get rid of Paul who was riding quite strongly.”

“During the last two or three laps though I put in a few efforts myself because I could see Steve  wasn’t catching us and he seemed safe in third.”

Jody in yellow at the National Trophy

The courses used for both the Rapha SuperCross events in the North were very different says Jody. “The one on Saturday was quite different to what we are used to racing in ‘cross, it was quite difficult, quite technical and I don’t think there are a lot of technical courses these days.  “The course at Huddersfield was more your typical ‘cross one. It was really good as was the event. With Rapha involved, they did a good job of publicising it and getting people out to watch the race”.

“The riders doing the Rapha Supercross series are probably making an extra special effort to be fit for them because there is pretty good prize money for the teams in particular and not bad prize money for the individual races. I think we’re fifth in the team so we’ll have some work to do in the one at the Palace!”

The course at Ally Pally says Jody looks good and with it having been dry down that way, the course is expected to be fast. The steps however may be a formidable obstacle and Jody says that hopefully they won’t be running up them from the bottom as there are a lot of them!

“It’s fantastic venue and I think there will be a massive crowd so it should be a great event”.

Jody says his goals this season are the National Championships and to defend his title in the National Trophy. “I had a good start in the first round (South Shields) when I didn’t know how I was going to go. I haven’t raced much this year after getting married and moving house as well as crashing my car on the way to Plymouth which was a bit of a pain!”

“So I was pleased with my start in the first race and hopefully I’ll get a few more wins in the National Trophy.”

The bike Jody is using to carry himself to victories like the one at Huddersfield is a Specialized Crux (cross bike) with Shimano Dura-ace/Ultegra, Pro bars and stem, Carbon Shimano wheels and a single chain ring 44. “I always had a 46/39 so I thought I’d try a single ring and it’s worked quite well so far.”

Jody says he uses Dugast Rhino or Tyhoon tubulars and is also trying the ones from Specialized as well.

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