REDDITCH Road & Path Cycling Club held their annual round of the BWA West Midlands Cyclo-cross League at Pitcheroak Woods on Sunday in conjunction with Beacon Cycling Club.
The club, in particular John Potts, worked hard in the weeks running up to the event, devising new improved courses for all age groups due to the increased levels of participation in the league.
Trying to accommodate over 150 riders on tight single tracks makes for interesting but often frustrating racing. The new courses were met with delight by all who rode, as they flowed beautifully and allowed easy overtaking for the faster riders.
Ryan Oldfield was the outstanding rider in the youth section, easily winning the U8 boys category by a considerable margin as his lap times rivalled that of the older U10s category and he took a commanding overall lead in the league standings.
Phoebe Strain was fourth overall and just beaten into second place in the girls race by 5 seconds. Dylan Ogden, a relative newcomer, finished in a brilliant 8th place. In only his second race Owen Jervis took 3rd in the U6 boys, with Millie Strain and Beany Oldfield taking 2nd and 3rd respectively in the U6 girls.
Little Arly Berry, only three, completed two laps and managed 5th in the U6 boys as he was joined by Alfie Reynolds and Paige Roberts, all of whom had their Dads running around out of breath trying to follow on behind.
Jake Nash took club honours in the U10s, finishing in a great 5th place followed competently by a whole host of Redditch riders – another 10 in total – making Redditch the best represented in all of the races so far.
Katie Irons was 7th in the girls category despite it being only her 2nd race. All the riders tackled the new technical course with a great deal of excellence and the future appears bright for Redditch.
In the U12s race, a longer more extended course meant racing was not only fast but furious with falls and tumbles aplenty. Josh Mitchell in his first ever league race was first Redditch rider home, closely followed by Isla Mason who took another 4th in the girls category. Again it was a fantastic turnout from Redditch, with nine riders in the race, with another newcomer Joe Homer enjoying his first ever league experience.
Veteran rider Ade Leach, following a fantastic club hill climb days earlier when he took 2nd place ahead of some much fresher faced rivals, had a storming ride with 7th place in his category, beating some notable local names in the process.
Veteran Phil Edwards and junior Joe Geehan were locked in a titanic battle until the end. Joe was 8th junior male and Phil ended the afternoon with a 14th place and a promise of a new bike from his wife to help him pass his younger rivals!
The youth race Saw Gareth Richardson finish in a brilliant 9th place again after a wonderful hill climb time where he took youth prize in a time of 1m 19s.
Sam Wainwright has taken to the longer races well in his first year as an U14 youth rider, finishing in a very credible 14th position. Annie Lindsay returned a great result considering she had to run half of one lap due to a bent wheel, then ride on a bike too big and then change bikes again once the offending wheel has been straightened. Nobody is quite sure how Annie manages to break so many wheels – this is her third so far – and mechanic Malcolm Lindsay cannot build/repair them fast enough. It was a fine effort from Annie just to finish.
In the final race of the day, again 150 riders took to the start line and again semi local (Malvern) Olympic GB rider Liam Killeen stole the show with a commanding display to win the main race.
Redditch had 11 riders in the race. Well done to James Strain who, despite a mid-race mishap, managed again to edge out a flying Bryan Lymes who literally flew over his handlebars and then had the misfortune of his chain coming off.
For a brief moment Paul Berry managed to unlap himself but Lymes quickly rectified this in the chase after Strain. Alex Potts was 9th in the U23 male category which is quite an achievement in a category punctuated by national riders.
Tim (I need a new bike) Irons in his first race scythed through the field to finish a very credible 28th in the veterans 40+. Just imagine the potential with a new cyclo-cross bike!
The league has a two-week hiatus but will return at Baggeridge Country Park where local rivals Halesowen hold their annual event.