Report: Poole Whs Christmas Cracker Cyclo-Cross

Mike Simpson defeats series leader Michael Cotty in a sprint for the line in Wessex League event in Poole

Eamonn Deane writes … Mike Simpson (GS Henley) pulled off a surprise win in round 9 of the Wessex League Cyclo-cross. Simpson rode wheel to wheel with runaway series leader Mike Cotty (Wheelbase/Cannondale) who had to settle for an unfamiliar second place. Whilst not quite deep & crisp & even, it was certainly cold in the Wareham Forest for this late addition to the league calendar.

Race promoter, Dave Wade had designed a fast course on the cinder fire tracks and pine trails that snake through the woods. A fast, technical descent and stiff climb, that forced most to dismount and shoulder their bikes, ensured it was no “testers” course. Cotty and Dan Lewis (RAF) quickly established a lead with Simpson never far behind.

On the second lap the Henley rider swapped places with Lewis and the only question left to answer was “Cotty or Simpson”? The pair rode together; Cotty’s skill on the descents was quickly answered by Simpson’s power on the flat. They were still together at the finish but Cotty had no reply as Simpson came round him in the final 10 metres.

The 42 year old was understandably pleased “ That’s my first ever Cyclo-cross win, I only started last year, I come from the road, any technical stuff and I generally fall off and lose time but for once I didn’t. This sort of course suits me, I have the power but not the skill, the flat stuff is quite easy. I though he had me but I just kept closing the gap its brilliant. I have been riding the bike about 3 years before that I was rower and a runner. I am going to do the national vets at Ipswich; I was 26th last year so hopefully I will do better this time. I have been doing the Wessex league seniors to get some better competition; I think I have made the right decision.”

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The latest round of the Wessex League was held on the forestry land of Wareham Forest to the west of Poole in Dorset. The course was long and very fast on the fire breaks with a sandy base and a lot of tree roots to negotiate on each lap. Each lap of the senior race was approximately nine minutes in length so plenty of time to split the race up. The morning started frosty and the temperatures didn’t get much above freezing all day, the shaded sections under the trees staying frozen all day.

The senior race was won by Mike Simpson (GS Henley), his maiden cross win and his first ever podium place. Mikes win came at the expense of Michael Cotty (Wheelbase/ Cannondale) who had wrapped up the senior league title winning last weekend, but there was no letting up by Michael who always wants to do his best.

Photo: Graham Robins (

The senior race started with four riders coming to the front on the first lap with Michael Cotty closely followed by Dan Lewis (RAF CC) and Mike Simpson with Peter Kench (Team GWR) and Nick Onslow (PedalOn) not too far away. Next rider up was Jamie Norfolk (PedalOn).

After a couple of laps Cotty and Simpson were together with Lewis @18secs, Kench @45secs Onslow @1min and Norfolk @1min 20secs. By lap four the two leaders were wheel to wheel, Lewis was now almost a minute back but fourth now was Kench 1min 24secs behind the leaders, but under 30secs behind Lewis.

As the leaders approached the finishing area there was a twisty section requiring some good bike handling skills to stay upright. Cotty was the first in with Simpson on his wheel. As Cotty accelerated away he opened a small gap which Simpson soon closed down. As they turned onto the finishing line Cotty held a slender lead but Simpson came around him to finish by a bikes length.  The remainder of the riders came in on their own one by one, first Lewis then Kench and finally Onslow with Norfolk a little way behind.

The combined Vet/Junior/Women’s race was won by junior rider Matt Hargroves (Hargroves Cycles) with vet Sean Williams (Wight Mountain) second ahead of junior Matt Woods (Hargroves Cycles).  On the first lap Sean was sandwiched between the two Matt’s, with Dave McMullen (Team GWR) nearby and David Phillips (Swindon RC) just a little way behind the leading quartet.

By the second lap Matt Hargroves’ youth showed and he pulled away from Sean, but Matt Woods slipped away and was soon distanced by Sean. In the women’s race Sarah Woods (Wight Mountain) soon had a large lead over Katy Wakely and Karen Murphy (Wight Mountain). Sarah went on to extend her lead finishing well ahead of the others.

The closing stages of the race saw Sean close to within 30secs of Matt but the young Hargroves riders had a good lead as he crossed the line and Sean came in 32secs down. The third place was eventually taken by Matt Woods who by now was well down on the leader. The youth race was also won by a rider from Hargroves Cycles, when Harvey Lowe started strong and pulled out a massive lead on the opening lap and was never challenged. Second place went to Sam Shepherd (Primera) and third going to Jake Thomas (BCDS). The girls youth race was won by Bethany Taylor (BCDS) younger sister Sophie and securing and strong lead in the league. Third was Lucy Burrows (Poole Wheelers).

The first action on a bitterly cold morning saw a small group of under 12’s take to the shorter but none the less challenging course. Local rider Ryan Hodgkins (Poole Wheelers) seemed to have a point to prove and very quickly opened up a lead over Connor Hutchinson (Swindon RC) and Jay Allen (PPV). Ryan’s lead soon extended and with Jay feeling the effects of being unwell all week it was Connor who was comfortable in second place. This win was Ryan’s first win in his short cross vocation. The first girl was Lizzie Barlow (PPV) ahead of Alex Burrows (Poole Wheelers).


1 Mike Simpson G.S Henley V 51Mins 30Sec
2 Mike Cotty Wheelbase/Cannondale S 0Min 1Sec
3 Dan Lewis RAF CA S 3mins 30Sec
4 Pete Kench GWR Team S 3Min 31Sec
5 Nick Onslow S 4mins 15Sec
6 Jamie Norfolk S 7mins 40Sec
7 Neil Ellison Behind the Bikeshed S 9Mins 45Sec
8 Dan Smith GWR Team S 10Mins 20 Sec
9 S.McLaughlin Bournemoth Jubilee S 11Mins 15sec
10 Tony Parker North Hants RC S 1 Lap
11 N Evans Dorset Roughriders S 1Lap
12 Ben Saunders New Forest CC S 1 Lap
13 Paul Hambridge Cycle Experience S 2 Laps
14 Simon Wakely Unattached S 2 Laps
15 Graham Beard Cycle Experience S 2 Laps

1 Matt Hargroves Hargroves Cycles J 44.10Sec
2 Sean Williams Wight Mountain V 20Secs
3 Matt Woods Hargroves Cycles J 2 Mins
4 D McMullen GWR Team V50 2Mins 4Sec
5 David Phillips Swindon RC V50 3Min 30Sec
6 David Hobbs Corinium V 4Min 10Sec
7 Pete Hutchinson Swindon RC V 5Min 10Sec
8 Anthony Dyment North Hants RC V 5Min 11Sec
9 Pete Scott Swindon RC V 6Mins
10 Kevin Blann Team Rose Blann V 7Mins
11 Jordan Wade Poole Wheelers J 7Mins 12Sec
12 Gary Barlow Reading CC V 7Mins 20Sec
13 Jason Pitt AW Cycles J 7Mins 28Sec
14 Paul Axon Cycle Experience V 8Mins 10Sec
15 Steve Gordon Dorset Rough Riders V 8Mins 23Sec
16 Rob Koppenhal Dorset Rough Riders V 8Mins 30Sec
17 Mitch Pervis D.P.CC V 8Mins 42Sec
18 Simon Meadwell Bournemouth Jubilee V 8Mins 50Sec
19 Martyn Dymond Wight Mountain V 9Mins 8Secs
20 Steve Robinson North Hants RC V 9Mins 30Sec
21 J Hodgson Unattached J 9Mins 45Sec
22 Darren Dollery Wight Mountain V 11Mins
23 Steve Dines Wight Mountain V55 11Mins
24 Richard Bremner North Hants RC V 11Mins 15Sec
25 Stuart Grace GA Cycles V50 11Mins 17Sec
26 Pete Warwick D.P.CC V 1 Lap
27 Leon Mander Chapel Tristars J 1 Lap
28 Geoff Booker Oxonian V60 1 Lap
29 Keith Allam North Hants RC V55 1 Lap
30 Steve Dance Behind The Bikeshed V 1 Lap
31 Sarah Woods Wight Mountain W 1 Lap
32 R Worman Royal Navy C.A. V 1 Lap
33 Phill Chinn Fareham Whs V 1 Lap
34 Steve Warwick D.P.CC V 1 Lap
35 Richard Robinson North Hants RC J 1 Lap
36 Peter McEwan Unattached V 1 Lap
37 Katie Wakely Unattached W 1 Lap
38 Karen Murphy Wight Mountain W 1 Lap
39 Hazel Jowett Wight Mountain JW 1 Lap
40 Steve Cook  V 1 Lap
41 V Moore Crabwood V50 1 Lap
42 Natalie Bee  Wight Mountain W 1 Lap
43 M Saunders New Forest CC V 1 Lap
44 Nicky Volley Wight Mountain W 2 Laps
45 John Burrows Poole Wheelers V50 3 Laps

Under 12’s
1 Ryan Hodgkyns Poole Wheelers U10 13mins 10 sec
2 Conor Hutchinson Swindon RC U12 Plus 20 Sec
3 Jay Allen PPV U12 Plus 2 min 10
4 Lizzie Barlow PPV U10 1 Lap
5 Alex Burrows Poole Wheelers U8 2 Lap
6 Jamie Barlow  U8 2 Lap
7 Jack Burrows Poole Wheelers 4 Yrs 3 Lap

1 Harvey Lowe Hargroves/Trant U16 25 Mins 50Secs
2 Sam Shepherd Primera U14 Plus 4 mins
3 Jake Thomas BCDS U16 Plus 5 Mins 20 sec
4 Bethany Taylor BCDS U16 1 lap
5 Kerrie Hutchinson Swindon RC U16 1 lap
6 Sophie Taylor BCDS U14 1 lap
7 Lucy Burrows Poole Wheelers U16 1 Lap
8 Emma Pitt Palmer Park Velo U14 1 Lap
9 Rebecca Hurst Poole Wheelers U14 2 Laps


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