Report: Mud, Sweat and Gears

Report from the second round of the Eastern Cross Country league – Return of the MUD!

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

Location: Hylands Park, Essex | Event: 29th April 2012

After enjoying the near summer like conditions at MSG round 1 Mother Nature came back with a vengeance. The normally smooth fast flowing Hylands trails were replaced by oodles of mud and rain, standing water and a good helping of wind. This all meant tricky race day decisions had to be made on course re-routing and event village location.

Nevertheless the weather did not dampen the spirits of the riders and it pleased us immensely when everyone started to arrive on the Sunday morning. After re-routing the course around newly formed rivers and what were now duck ponds we ended up with a course of just less than 4 miles still with plenty of the best bits.

Basildon rider Daniel Barford (Flitch Bikes) on his way to winning the junior race: Photo Fergus Muir.

The morning races started with the Juvenile and Youth riders first to sample the course under racing conditions. The Juvenile race saw Charles Broadway press home the advantage he built on the first lap to take the win from Owyn Wallace (Sherwood Pines Cycles) and home rider Jordan Beighton (Chelmsford Youth CC). In the Youth race we once again had Sean Dunlea (Ciclos Uni) and Ruairi Phelan (VC Revolution) go head to head in what we hope will be an ongoing battle for the Series. Sean sealed a convincing win with Paddy Atkinson 2nd and Ruairi finishing 3rd after picking up a puncture on the second and final lap.

The women’s races saw a good number competing with Jo Munden (Pedal Heaven RT) proving the strongest and taking the Elite/Expert win. The Juvenile female race was won by Kirsty Morris (Wellend Valley CC).

The Sport female race had our largest number of competitors with Julie Elder taking the win from Leona Kadir (La Fuga – Sigma Sport) and Sarah Turner in 3rd.

Next up was the Under 12’s race in the middle of the day and the conditions had gotten progressively worse! It was really great to see so many riders take the start and brave the truly terrible conditions. In a hard fought race over an extremely muddy course Sophie Saberton (St. Ives CC) prevailed by a single second over club mate Lotty Wylde. Rounding off the podium was Madeline Oliver. The boy’s race got under way at the same time as the girls and over many laps it was Aaron Freeman (Chelmer CC) who won. Club mates Felix Mackie and Harrison Powell (Lea Valley Youth CC) could not be separated throughout the race trading faster lap times. At the finish though it was Felix who took the 2nd spot on the podium by 2 seconds from Harrison.

With the sun beginning to try and show itself the male racers took to the course. Having already seen 150 riders in the morning the course was a mixture of gloopy, watery mud with a very definitive line having been formed. Dieter Droger (Dirtwheels Cycles, who had travelled all the way from South Yorkshire) took a compelling win from Andrew Cockburn and Trevor Allen (Ergon 24H RT) in the Elite/Expert race. After the race Dieter said ‘I’m happy to win on a fantastically thought out course’.

The junior race was interesting to watch as Daniel Barford (who usually races in the Open male race) decided it was time to race with his piers. He took a commanding win setting lap times that wouldn’t be out of place in the Elite/Expert race from Callum Riley (Newdales Cycles RT) and Will Kearse (VC Revolution). This category is going to be exciting to watch over the course of the Series.

The rest of the male races had close racing throughout with the very changing conditions making the going tricky and tough.

Sport Male
1st Paul Sheers – ViCiOUS Velo
2nd Scott Clipstone – Army Cycling CU
3rd Seb Herrod – Godiva Trailriders

Master Male
1st Nigel Scott
2nd Dan Howe – TROG
3rd Gabor Doroghazi – Fruit4London

Vet Male
1st Paul Ashby – Fat Birds Don’t Fly
2nd Anthony White – Cannondale Racing
3rd Mick Pilcher – Numbplumz Mountainbikers

Grand Vet Male
1st Phil Buick – Iceni Velo
2nd Ian Robson – MTS Cycle Sport
3rd Michael Murray

So with the sun eventually coming out the day drew to a close. With support of our local cadet force the course was packed away in record time and the realisation that there was an awful lot of mud to be cleaned off everything set in! The course was well received even with the mud and all that remains is to thank Chelmsford Youth Cycling Club for their help in setting up and our sponsors HMF, Chelmer Cycles, Intrepid Apparel, Human Performance Unit and Cycle Evolution for their ongoing support.

We look forward to seeing you all at Thetford Forest on the 13th May for the regional championships!!


RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

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