Feature Q & A: Nick Craig (Scott Racing)

A legend in the sport of off road racing and on the road for that matter, Nick Craig of Scott UK talks about the National Trophy Series

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Feature Q & A: Nick Craig (Scott Racing)

“This year’s CX season feels really strange it’s nearly over yet it’s only just begun” says a legend of the sport, Nick Craig. Nick has written a round by round review of the National Trophy Series below. Overall though, he says of the series “I’m very happy overall. Round 1 was tough for me but I wasn’t surprised. It just helps to make me more determined to train and come back stronger”.

Asked for his best round, Nick replies “My best riding was the final round, taking the win and overall in the Vet 40, then 4th in the elites which included two untimely flats. But the Hetton Lyons course was my favourite this year being not just tough but slippery too!

Nick works for Scott UK and so not a surprise he has the best equipment saying “we were all so excited about the new Addict CX bikes arriving for the 3 Peaks back in September. I’m very lucky to be racing on the Addict CX 10 as it contains all of Scott’s innovative technology and design. The Addict has the compliance and stiffness to weight ratio sorted, making it a brilliant tool for the job from national series to 3 Peaks Cyclo Cross.

Preparing for the season, Nick explained “I know how to train and recover and CX is brilliant as you can be competitive without having to train lots of hours. I do have to respect my age as I notice recovery is slower but my Tacx Vortex (turbo) still gets some hammer!

Nick adds that this series this winter was a lot dryer. “Last year, I raced more making it a tough year on Sarah and our pit helpers. As much as I love the mud, I have enjoyed this year!

The Craig family show at the National Trophy isn’t just about Nick though as Charlie was also in a leader’s Yellow jersey in the Youth category. “Charlie gets himself sorted at the races whilst I do prep his bikes. He knows I’m busy and is really good at taking full responsibility for getting himself warmed up and away to the start line”.

Nick also admits whilst they may make it look easy, the training and racing is far from it. “Hard training for CX is something I used to never let my boys see, because as youngsters, I didn’t want to put them off. Now, we just knuckle down and get to work. I say this as it may appear that we find it easy, but trust me we don’t!

The family connection at the Trophy Series doesn’t end there. “My wife Sarah directs our weekends as she really knows what to do. When needed, we have two brilliant guys in Mick and Alan Gascoigne who help us out with the washing. They all work so hard and I wouldn’t be able to race if they didn’t do all the hard work. The racing is the easy bit!

Having been racing at the highest level for two decades, who better to ask what the key physical attribute a rider needs for British ‘cross races? “It’s a combination of power, speed and most of all efficiency and fluidity in dismount and remounts, running, off camber and corners” says Nick.

“CX is so much fun and there’s nothing better than beating riders you know are fitter, faster and stronger by good technique and a smart riding” adds Nick.

The next big event for the Craig family will be the Nationals where Nick has been champion in the Elite and Veteran categories and Charlie goes for the Youth title. To prepare, they expect to race at Macclesfield on the 27th and then if they are fit and healthy, the Nova Cross on New Year’s Day.

As for special training for Bradford which everyone expects will include some running, Nick says there may be a little more of that done in training but nothing much different to the norm.

Here’s Nick’s Overview of the National CX Series

Round 1 Derby
At round 1 both me and Charlie were beaten, Charlie taking a 5th and me 3rd in the vets. We both knew we were not 100% ready and quietly took this on the chin. What we did gain that day, was a determination to go to work on making a progressive improvement.

Round 2 Abergavenny
Charlie raced to a podium taking 2nd to Ben Tullet and just beating the in form Jenson Young. This put Charlie in a place he’s never been, with the leader’s yellow jersey on his shoulders to take to the next round. At the same time I managed to win and to take the yellow jersey in the vets.

At this point I also committed to racing the elite race in the afternoon for the rest of the series. Some people think this is a bit crazy but I just love to race. I placed 16th later that day.

Round 3 Hetton
With two yellow leaders jerseys to take to the start line along with the pressure of being leaders. My advice to Charlie was to go out and do what you do, nothing changes. With a fantastic course that suits the Van der Craig family and Charlie took his first national win!

The great news is that it was win, win for us both and a photo we will treasure forever, along with an 11th in the elites for me later in the same day. Keith Murray who helped design the course also raced two races that day.

Round 4 Ipswich
Not really our kind of conditions or course, however still a brilliantly organised and super event, I just managed to win ahead of the super strong Dan Guest, with Charlie taking second in a sprint with Oli Draffam behind the super strong Lewis Askey.

Round 5 Shrewsbury
The Series Finale and finally some mud to make us all happy!!!

On Sunday I raced to take a win making it 4 out of 5 just ahead of Rob Jebb who was also on an Addict CX10 riding for HOPE tech, to take the overall series in the 40 to 49 category. With Keith Murray (also Scott UK) gridded right on my wheel, I had to get my foot in quickly or he said he wouldn’t authorise my expenses! Lucky for me I got away sharply. Keith also enjoyed the conditions taking 11th place.

For me, the real race was about to start, Charlie with a very narrow margin in the overall had to deliver the perfect race. All I can say is we were a very proud family watching him glide around the course making it look easy, beating Lewis Askey and Oli Draffam.
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After the high of the youth race, I signed in for the elite race and after telling Charlie where to watch out for the curb edges that could rip a tyre, sure enough it was me that hit them flatting twice just as I connected with the race for a podium. I rolled in 4th place a very happy man. It was great to have Scot Easter flying the flag for Scott Racing in what was a great finale to the National Trophy Series.

So the season is definitely not over, we have some racing through Xmas and New Year as preparation for the National Championship in Peel Park Bradford on the 7th and 8th of January.

Personally I must thank all of our pit crew Sarah, Alan and Mick Gascoine for their relentless work. Along with Schwalbe Tyres, Torq Fuel, Hope Technology, SRAM and Fibrax Pads. Never forgetting SCOTT Sports and Syncros for making the best tools for the job.

Thank you, Have a great Christmas and New Year, Happy pedalling and we look forward to seeing you all in the New Year.



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