This weekend we return to one of the classic NDCXL venues – Shipley Park – for the event promoted by Heanor Clarion with support from The MI Racing Academy. Last year the pro riders were out in force with Graham Briggs taking the win from last week’s Alfreton winner Tom Stewart. Will we see Tom back to claim another victory? 2015 also saw Maddie beat Maddi in the women (Maddie Gammons 1st, Maddi Smith 2nd); maybe Maddie Hubner (U16; Empella) also fancies her chances this year! The fast course often means that groups form and so strategy can be vital… do you sit in or attack?
If you haven’t raced at Shipley before expect a course designed to take you up long climbs several times, only to bring you back down them round corners to test your bravery. If it is dry the ground is hard and covered with straw-like grass. If it is damp it can get slippery, but generally it stands up well in terms of mud, despite there often being one or two wooded sections. There are some bumpy sections and others where traction is key including a steep gravel section often (but not always) included by the course designers. Last year saw several crashes through the gate near the pits on a fast 180 turn and so do treat it with respect. 2014 included a ditch which some tried to bunny hop at full speed. Not everyone made it. Who remembers one of the 2013 season best comedy moments when the U12s started at full gas up the Shipley slope but a course confusion meant that the leaders missed the turn and just carried on… and on… and on… into the distance with the rest of the race and parents chasing them?
Parking at the venue will cost £2 per vehicle, payable on entry to the field. Local charity Ben’s Den (http://www.bensden.com/) will have a stall at the event. The Ben Parker Trust Fund, aka Ben’s Den provides simple holiday accommodation on the UK’s east coast for local families whose children have cancer or leukaemia … please support them.
The closest postcode for our event is DE75 7DY. This is a residential area around Roper Avenue/Buxton Avenue. To reach the event you’ll follow Roper Avenue under the (former) railway bridge … caution it’s a little blind, make a right turn onto Shipley Lane. You’ll have Osbornes pond on your right, continue for approximately 300m and enter the field on your left … follow the signs! Marshalls will direct you to the main field.
Finally – good luck to regular riders competing in The 3 Peaks Cyclocross race on Sunday, and don’t forget that the first World Cup (CrossVegas) starts in the early hours of Thursday morning. See you at Shipley!