Report: Wessex Cyclo-Cross League

Behind The Bikeshed’s Thruxton Thanksgiving cyclo-cross on Sunday 20th November 2011, Round 7 of the Wessex League

Graham Robins writes … Today’s race was held in the grass land just outside of the Thruxton Motor Racing circuit five miles west of Andover on the Hampshire Wilshire Borders. The course was laid out with miles of tape and the course wound its way up and down the banking using full use of the space provided. To break things up there were a couple of jumps and a long Belgium style sand pit, which was ride able. The morning started of very foggy and chilly but by the time the seniors raced the fog had cleared and the sun had come out.

Jody Crawforth of Hargroves Cycles – Photo: Graham Robins (

The morning got underway in the fog with the under 12’s race. A rather large entry kept the lap scorers busy as the young riders sped around a small course laid out in the middle of the main venue.  The race was eventually won by Harry Dridge (Southdown Velo) from Bethany Lewis (Palmer Park Velo) and team mate Jay Allen.

Next up was the youth race, which was held over the full course size including jumps and sand. The long uphill run out soon sorted them out and it wasn’t long before Harvey Lowe (Hargroves Cycles) was opening up a lead over Robbie Bolwell (Wight Mountain). Jack Saunders (Swindon RC) was next 35secs down and Jack Phillips (Banjo Cycles) was a further 10secs back but was having trouble staying upright in the sand pit. The first girls were Zoe Sheehan (Swindon RC) with Bethany Taylor (BCDS) not to far back.

Harvey soon had a large lead when Robbie slipped from his bike and getting the chain jammed in the rear sprocket causing the wheel to lock up forcing him to shoulder his bike and run to the pits for a change of bike. With a couple of laps completed Harvey’s lead over Robbie was now 2min 30secs, third was Jack Saunders (Swindon RC) at 3min 48secs. Bethany was now applying the pressure on Zoe and soon passed her with Emily Wadsworth (Beeline Cycles) now in third.

Leaving the rest in his wake Harvey coasted to a comfortable win by over 2min 30secs.

Provisional Result

1st Harvey Lowe Hargroves Cycles 30mins 31secs
2nd Robbie Bolwell Wight Mountain @2mins 42secs
3rd Jack Saunders Swindon RC @3min 56secs
4th Tom Sewell Swindon RC @4min 47secs
5th Jack Phillips Banjo Cycles @5mins 16secs

Next race was the combined vet, junior and women’s races. This is always the largest group of the day and the most competitive of the day. The fog had lifted enough to see the whole course from the marquee and start finish line.

The first rider to show on the front was junior Matt Hargroves (Hargroves Cycles) with vet Sean Williams (Wight Mountain) 16secs down and junior Matt Woods (Swindon RC) third 14secs behind him. The leading Women was Tamina Oliver (Squadra Donna)  who had trouble clipping into her pedals from the start line and then had to stop to refit her chain followed by the Wight Mountain pair of Nina French and Sarah Woods.

Once the race settled into some sort of order it was Matt Hargroves from Sean Williams with Matt Woods third. Next up was Dave McNamara (GWR) and Keith Sheridan (Hargroves Cycles). Having a little tussle of their own was Malcolm Cross and Martin Eadon from Hargroves and Stevens UK respectfully.

The leading duo was now pulling away from third and this is how the race played out. The women’s race was also decided on the early laps and places did not alter throughout the race.

Provisional Combined Result

1st Matt Hargroves Hargroves Cycles J 41mins 27secs
2nd Sean Williams Wight Mountain VET 40 @ 27secs
3rd Matt Woods Hargroves Cycles J @45secs
4th Keith Sheridan Hargroves Cycles Vet45 @1min 9secs
5th Dave McMullen GWR Vet60 @1min 21secs

Women’s Race Result

1st Tamina Oliver Squadra Donna
2nd Nina French Wight Mountain
3rd Sarah Woods Wight Mountain

The final race of the day saw a very strong entry in the senior race. Once gridded and away it was Jody Crawforth (Hargroves Cycles) who soon started to show his class as he soon opened up a gap over League leader Michael Cotty (Cannondale Racing) and Dan Lewis (RAF) WITH Chris Minter (PedalOn) and Crispin Doyle (Swindon RC) not too far behind.

Jody was eking out time on each lap and entertaining the crowd gathered around the jumps by ‘bunny hoping’ them on each lap. Michael was 19secs back and Crispin was 36secs down on the leader. Next up was Dan Lewis and close to him was Matt Macdonald (Stevens UK). These places did not change much until Matt got past Crispin and Dan for a fine third place.

Provisional Result

1st Jody Crawforth Hargroves Cycles
2nd Michael Cotty Cannondale Racing
3rd Matt Macdonald Stevens UK
4th Crispin Doyle Swindon RC
5th Dan Lewis RAF

The next round of the Wessex League is next Sunday at Reading in the joint promoted event with the Central League.

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