News: British CX Championships Preview 2

With just two weeks to go until the National CX Championships at Cyclopark in Kent, we caught up with Huw Williams for an update on how things are going.

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News: British CX Championships Preview 2


Huw Williams Top Tips for the Champs
1. Dartford Crossing. If you’re coming from/returning to, anywhere North of the Thames via M25 – Dartford crossing charges apply. The toll gates are now invisible but you have to pay on-line, details here:

2. Moving around the venue. Its very long & narrow. You COULD get from car park to start/pits in 5 mins if 100s of others weren’t trying to do the same thing through a BIG crowd of spectators. Do EVERYTHING much earlier than usual!

3. Dogs aren’t allowed at Cyclopark ?? This is a venue, not an event rule which I HATE!!! I love all the #dogsofcross especially the Springers who come up from from Wales and Archie & Hector from Morpeth! Sorry ;-(

4. Finding and getting to the key features: A map and info sheet showing how to get around, colour coded for riders, pit crews and spectators will be available to all next week.

(click image for a bigger version)

5. Today we consider likely course conditions. Currently there isn’t any moisture on the course at all. It’s hard packed dirt and dry grass. EVERYTHING is flat stick, 100% dry! And here’s the forecast up until practice day. #dothemaths

6. Shoe studs: You’re going to need some! If you don’t have any, get some, NOW! Don’t leave it too late and think you’ll get away with it. You won’t!!!

Interview with Huw on Championships

With just two weeks to go until the National CX Championships at Cyclopark in Kent, we caught up with Huw Williams for an update on how things are going.

VeloUK: Since we last spoke, you’ve shared some maps and images that suggest there have been some changes, can you update us?

Huw: Yes, we’ve had some developments! I was able to revert to the original pits/jet wash location which means riders won’t have to cross the course in race time which is a big advantage.

A load of extra infrastructure came our way courtesy of Steve Grimwood (organiser of the Ipswich National Trophy races) so we were able to facilitate that. It will relieve a concern that some people had, particularly for the youth boys where there are 140 riders on course at the same time, so an in-race course crossing was always going to be a headache in that race if it turns out to be muddy.

It’s good to be able to improve on that – it’ll still be a bear-pit in the jet wash area but at least there won’t be queues to get across the course into the pits. I sent the revised layout to the comms and they were happy with it. Anything that makes Ian and Kelvin’s life easier is fine by me.

Click for a bigger version of this revised course map

VeloUK: You also hinted at some course changes following the Regional Championships, have these been implemented?

Huw: Yes, as I said last time, I’m committed to making every step up in racing status more challenging so as soon as the regionals and our youths’ training weekend was over we ripped out some areas of the old course and put a rough build of the new one in. Then we got stupidly lucky with the weather for a week which allowed me to spend a few days tweaking it so we have a significantly improved far end of the course to add to the regular favourite areas of the steep banks and off-camber sections around the main spectator areas.

Pump Track ….

VeloUK: Can you be more specific regarding the new areas?

Huw: As you can see from the photos we have a short pump-track section in place which will be a load of fun as well as offering a bit of hard-surface respite in an otherwise draggy area. It’s single-track on the racing line but taped wider than three metres to comply with regulations so there are passing places if riders want to risk it. Those are pretty deep hollows though so riders who remember their BMX pumping skills will fly through there with a big technical advantage. It comes out into a monster berm quickly followed by a deep, extended bomb hole. All this replaces that long, arduous drag down the far end so that part of the course is now a lot more interesting and challenging.

The mega berm

VeloUK: You said the weather has been good, what are conditions currently like?

Huw: It’s been crazy to be honest… wearing T-Shirts in the final week of 2018 because ramming posts in anything more has just been too warm. The surface has remained pretty slippery since the Regionals though because morning and evening moisture keeps it a bit slick. So its slippery on top in places, bone dry in others and properly wet on the bankings where the sun doesn’t get on it. Pick the bones out of that in terms of tyre choice!

VeloUK: You mentioned getting help from other event organisers, is that a common occurrence?

Huw: It has been this year. British Cycling invited all the National Trophy organisers and ourselves as National Championship organisers to a meeting at the end of last season in Manchester. We all sat around a table and shared some ideas on good and less good practice and how we could hopefully raise standards and make events run as best possible and air our views on what we needed in support from BC.
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I think that was a great idea and a big success which has been reflected in the National Trophy series this year as there have been some amazing events. The knock-on effect has been clear too. Some of the regional courses are now rivalling National Trophy events. I had a really cool email from the organisers of the recent London League round, a new event promoted by Southborough and District CC.

It said that having seen what we at Cyclopark and Crawley Wheelers (first time promoters of a National Trophy at Ardingly) were doing had inspired them to make the best course they could. It was a local league race but as a venue, course and organising team, it was right up there with decent Trophies.

I’ve had so much help from Steve Grimwood, a load of shared infrastructure with Dougie Fox, organiser at Ardingly and Mike Charlton at Hetton, organiser of last season’s national champs has been a mine of information he’s always keen to impart. So shared knowledge and infrastructure is definitely the way forward and is raising the standard of CX.

VeloUK: Finally, what is your schedule like in the remaining two weeks ahead of the national champs?

Huw: So the course layout is pretty much dialled, we have one more big coaching day with 40 riders this weekend, seniors this time, why should the kids have all the fun eh? Then it’s all the peripheral planning that’s needed to make the event run as smoothly as we can on the weekend. So crowd control, TV crew areas, caterer’s positions, car parking and camping, volunteer teams and marshalling etc. etc. Loads left to do and not much time but I think we’re on top of everything, fingers crossed. I’m planning on being at Shrewsbury with the riders I coach next weekend, so we can’t be too far off schedule.



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