Race Report – NDCXL Round 8 – Hardwick Hall

Hardwick Hall

Round 8 of the SRAM NDCXL was hosted by Bolsover and District CC this weekend, set against the impressive backdrop of Hardwick Hall near Chesterfield.

Twenty four hours of rain prior to the event meant that the course quickly became a muddy battle against the elements, and saw a shake up in terms of regular race positions between riders, as those who favoured wet conditions were able to put their skills into action.

In the Senior Men’s race, Ride Coventry’s Steven Roach rode to victory, 20 seconds ahead of Fossa Racing’s Lee Shunburne, who had ridden steadily through the field and rode into second position in the last quarter of a lap. Despite missing the start of the season through injury, Shunburne has been quick to find his racing form again over recent rounds.

After the race, Shunburne said:

“I took it steady away from the start and rode my way into it. The mud was great. It’s not that I like being wet and cold, it’s just that everyone else hates it!”

The top three positions were rounded out by Jonathan Harper (Mansfield RC), who retains the current league lead.

The Junior Men’s race was won in decisive fashion by Matlock CCs Arthur Green, who made light work of the mud to ride into the top five of the men’s race overall, beating fellow Junior Joshua Waters by nearly three minutes. Fresh from his recent foray into continental Cyclocross racing in Belgium, Kieran Howarth took third.

The Women’s race saw an emphatic return to NDCXL for both Team Mulebar’s Diane Lee and Charlotte Broughton (Team Corley Cycles), taking first and second respectively, with Broughton also claiming first Junior. Kate George continued her strong season by taking third.

Despite her victory, Lee admitted afterwards that the mud made racing tricky at points

“I had a really bad second lap and couldn’t see a thing. I felt like I rode blind. It was muddy….just muddy!”

The Veteran Men’s race saw Zepnat’s Daniel Alexander claim the win, a minute ahead of Naked Bikes’ Chris Rathbone, with Bolsover’s Andrew Hilton taking third behind him.

In the Vet 50 race Philip Roach (Jewson) rode his way to victory ahead of Cadence Sport’s Harvey Levann and Nigel Gregory (Leicestershire Road Club).

The Boys U16 race was won by VC Lincoln’s James Armstrong, ahead of Cameron Orr (Sherwood Pines) and Bailey Wilmot (Derby Mercury)

In the U14 Boys, the family tradition of success continued, with Charlie Craig (Scott Pioneer) taking first place over a minute ahead of a chasing Alex Haines (Leicestershire Road Club). Behind them, Tim Elsmore-Martin of Sherwood Pines CC and Nottingham Clarion’s Finn Mansfield sprinted to the line, with Elsmore-Martin finally taking third.

The Youth Girls races saw Nottingham Clarion’s Poppy Wildman take the overall (and U14) win, ahead of fellow U14 Elena Smith (Fossa Racing). Abergavenny Road Club’s Megan James was third girl and first U16 girl. Second and third U16 Girls were Derby Mercury’s Xan Cress and Isabelle Boon, with Sarah Briggs (Matlock CC) taking third U14 Girl.

In the U12 Boys last week’s contest between Derby Mercury’s Ben Chilton & Joshua Giddings (Heanor Clarion) was played out again, but with Chilton forced to settle for second this time. Chilton’s Mercury club mate, Joseph Kinnemonth was third.

The Girl’s Under 12 saw Matlock’s Libby Smith clinch victory ahead of last week’s winner Lotta Mansfield (Nottingham Clarion), and Jessica Tiffney (Derby Mercury)

Despite the adverse conditions, nearly 50 U9s proved they had the necessary grit and determination to compete, with Ben Mellor (Matlock CC) taking another victory in the Boys, and Lara Husselbee doing the same in the Girls