WORCESTER Cycling Club hosted the fifth round of the West Midlands Cyclo-Cross League at Shelsley Walsh, where before the event Redditch Road & Path Cycling Club members received the Visitors Track Trophy for most successful visiting club in the local track racing league.
With a cycling hill climb event on the motorsport track also taking place, Ian Warr (vets 40+) saw this as an opportunity to punish himself twice in one day. The full results are yet to be published but judging by his form he will have done well and with an 8th place in the vets 40+ category he had an impressive day out.
Another local rider Cameron Biddle (Rivit Racing) also decided a double-header was a good idea, finishing second in the hill climb with an impressive display before clinching 1st placed U23 rider in the cyclo-cross.
The U6s and U8s were the first riders to tackle the hills with many of the younger riders having to walk multiple times, showing how tough this was for the little ones.
Arly Berry held his nerve despite a pile-up to finish second in the U8 boys race and Redditch had all 3 of their team in the top 10 with Will Stokes and Eddie Porton riding strongly.
The U10s team was led home by Beany Oldfield who was 4th girl with Toby Stokes, Samuel Bishop and Owen Jervis all chasing each other up and down the course and finishing in the top 20.
The U12s was fast and furious – probably the most hectic of all the races – as more than 40 riders squeezed on to the hilly course.
Ryan Oldfield had a superb start, storming off after league leader Spencer Corder, but he paid for the strong start and was caught and passed by one rider. He maintained his 3rd position but a Lichfield rider sat on his wheel for the remaining 10 minutes, taking the aero-dynamic advantage of being behind.
Meanwhile, Jospeph Turnbull clawed his way into the top 15, showing his stamina is improving whilst all the time having one eye on the chasing pack of Maria Porton and new team member Queta Taylor.
Turnbull managed to hold on, finishing 15th boy, with Maria maintaining a small advantage over the ever-improving Queta who was 8th girl.
Back at the front of the race Oldfield was holding on to 3rd with a gutsy display on a course which clearly did not suit him, but on the final few corners Luca Bradley from Lichfield just managed to gain a small advantage, pushing Oldfield into 4th.
Next up was a brutal youth course and, with this being the final round before the national race break, there was some confidence to be gained by having a strong result.
The start was quick on a leg-burning hill, but this did not seem to slow the youth riders down in any way. Sam Wainwright is showing improvement in the U16s category this year, nearly sneaking into the top 10 with a courageous ride and was only a few seconds from scoring his first National ranking points of the season.
James Whitehouse and Matthew Lowe stuck to their task well and both finished well inside the top 20.
In the U14s Sulli Berry continued his fine form, shrugging off the mild disappointment of a 4th the previous week by securing a tactical but clever 2nd place.
From the off, 1st seemed to be too far away as a rival Halesowen rider took advantage of an early pile-up. Behind a 3-way battle ensued with Berry, Joe Brookes and Ben Askey who is hot favourite for the national title this year.
Both had beaten Berry by a substantial margin the previous year at the same venue, so it was going to be intriguing who could get the upper hand. Berry tracked the other two riders, maintaining a calm exterior as they seemed to be working much harder.
Learning from the U12s race, he covered the attacks by both his rivals but never really put his nose in front until the last lap when he responded to a strong Askey attack with one of his own. Flying down the final hill, he eventually finished second.
Thomas Porton had a superb race, keeping to his tactic of riding through the field after a steady start and coming in with his best result of the season with 7th spot.
Alex Dalton took a different tactic, starting off fast and fading a little as the hills took their toll, but came out in 10th spot with Joe Homer coming 12th. In fact, all of the U14 Redditch riders had their best race with Benjamin Whitehouse getting a top 20 finish too.
Isla Mason In the U16 girls’ race suffered from mechanical mishaps and a few falls on a slippery course, meaning she found it hard to contest the win, but kept it together despite the bad luck and finished 3rd U16 girl.
The Vets 50+ is another well attended category for Redditch, as they all seem to be these days. Phil Edwards had a fine ride and was first Redditch rider home in 12th in V55+ category.
Mike Mathews, John Homer and Phil Berry all eventually said they enjoyed their ride although it was another hard day for the senior members of the club.
The junior, senior and vets 40+ race was last and luckily by that point all of the stuff sheep leave behind after they have been grazing seemed to have been worn away by the kids and older riders!
The course had dried up a little but this made it ever so slippery on the grassy corners. Flying junior rider Scott Matthews was the fastest Redditch rider in the race and finished 7th.
Terry Richardson secured a top 15 Vet 45 finish with Ian Warr close behind. Richard Lowe (Vet 45) in his first race of the season was 16th and James Strain (Vet 40, 11th), Tim Mason (Vet 45, 20th), Chris Oldfield (23rd senior) and Paul Berry (Vet 40, 14th).