Race Report – Round 9 – Darley Moor – Zepnat

This weekend saw the SRAM NDCXL brave the elements at Darley Moor near Ashbourne, courtesy of organisers Zepnat. Although flat, the course became progressively tougher as the rain continued throughout the day, adding to the muddy conditions experienced by the racers.

League leader Jonathan Harper (Mansfield Road Club) took an early lead in the Senior Men’s race, one which he held to the end, despite second place Lee Shunburne (Fossa) chasing hard throughout the race. Shunburne’s Fossa team mate Andrew Naylor took third.

“It was a tough race in the heavy wind and rain which always seems the case at the Darley circuit – but one I really enjoyed,” said Harper.

“They were definitely classic cross conditions. My aim was to get out in front early on and just hold a strong pace and take my own lines on the course.

“I’m aiming to win the league again overall and, at present, I am in a strong place to do so but even at this stage things can change.”

Shunburne commented

“It was wet, filthy and cold and I loved it! Between me, Jono and Andy Naylor we must have 70 years’ worth of racing in our legs. The three of us got away from the start with Ben Eedy and the gaps just slowly grew.

“I haven’t looked too closely at the league table but I’ve only beaten Jono at the first round of the season and since then he’s done me by a place each week, so unless something catastrophic happens and I also pick up maximum points for the last races, he’ll take it again – and deservedly so.”

In the Junior Men’s race, Nottingham Clarion’s Kieren Howarth made light work of the conditions to take victory, riding through the majority of the Senior field to do so.

Olympian Annie Last took the win in the Women’s race in decisive fashion, putting over a minute into her rivals after just the first lap. Kate George (Empella) took second, with Nutcracker’s Sarah Lomas in third. First Vet woman was Empella’s Tracey Fletcher.

The Veteran Men’s race saw Fossa’s Matt Crouch battling it out with Peak Road Club’s Dan Cook and NFTO Race Club’s George Richardson. Crouch’s consistent pace saw him take the eventual win, with Cook taking second, 18 seconds ahead of Richardson.

Hargroves -Ridley RT’s Steve Davies took the win in the V50s

In the U16 Boy’s race, Lichfield City CC’s Marcus Holmes took the victory, despite Nottingham Clarion’s Finn Mansfield chasing hard throughout the race. Holmes held a consistent gap throughout most of the race, ultimately beating Mansfield by 8 seconds. Sherwood Pines’ Oliver Snodden took third.

The U14 Boys race saw a Derby Mercury 1-2, with Jack Husselbee winning, ahead of club mate Ben Chilton. Nottingham Clarion’s Alfie Lofthouse took third.

The Girls U16 race was won by Derby Mercury’s Alice Warbrick, with Beth Stevens and Heanor Clarion’s Fran Chatto rounding out the top three.

In the Girls U14 race, Nottingham Clarion’s Lotta Mansfield claimed victory, almost a minute ahead of Derby Mercury’s Alice Crane. Heanor Clarion’s Ella Rastall was third.

The U12 Boys race saw the familiar duo of Chistopher Hilbert (Pines Cycles – Felt – Enve) and Zepnat’s Sam Gould battling things out at the front, with Gilbert proving the victor. Third place was claimed by Bourne Wheelers’ Alex Galpin.

The Girls U12 saw another familiar rider at the sharp end of things with Derby Mercury’s Jessica Tiffney once again taking the glory. The Mercury rider made light work of the conditions to finish a lap ahead of her chasers, second and third placed Grace Fishleigh (Bolsover) and Matlock’s Annabel Parker.

U9 victories were taken by Newark Castle’s Jude du Toit, and Romy Jameson (Derby Mercury)