R4 Markeaton Park – the weather forecast was bang on.

Round 4 took us to Markeaton Park for the first of two rounds held at this venue, today being hosted by Cycle Derby.  The course was unchanged from last year’s iteration, with a fast climb from the start into a series of downhill bends and a kick up then into the woods. Following this was the drop into the ditch and short sharp climb out. Then the fast, but treacherous right handed turn down to the pits. Another climb took the youths to the turn around point and they then headed back past the pits, over the full sized hurdles and into the flowing corners before the finish.  The seniors and vets had a further loop with a sweeping downhill and then a twisty climb.  Conditions today started Autumn damp, but the thunder announced the arrival of heavy rain while riders were lining up to start the final race of the day. The course went from greasy to plain slippy.

First three U16 girls (Photo: Maz Heffron)
First three U16 girls

In the U16 girls race, there was a breakaway of 4 riders from the off, With Ava Oxley-Szilagyi (PH-MAS VCUK), Amelie Wayte (Team Empella), Maddie Hubner, her team mate and Alice Standish of Bourne Wheelers. All went through the pits together on the out lap, however, Oxley had a mechanical issue with her rear wheel and when they came through again it was Amelie Wayte on the front.  Ava tried to chase back and gained slightly in the next lap, but the effort proved too much. Standish couldn’t hold the pace so the finish became a Team Empella duel.  Amelie sat on the front and controlled the race although Maddie did try to get round her, but in the end Wayte proved too strong and put in a fine sprint to take her second U16 win, closely followed by Maddie Hubner in second, with her best performance this season and Alice Standish in third.

In the U14 girls race, Lotta Mansfield (The M1 Racing Academy) continued in totally dominant form and took the win by over 4 minutes from Hermione Pickering of Hull Thursday RC.  Annabel Parker of Matlock cc, continued her fine run in her first year as an U14 finishing in third.

The U16 boys race was a feisty affair, with three visiting riders gapping the rest of the field from the start, Jenson Young (Pedalsport Cycling Club), Marcus Holmes (Litchfield CC) and Alec Gregory (Leicester Road Club).   In the final lap, Young and Holmes had pulled away from Gregory, however the Litchfield rider overcooked the fast right handed coming into the pits and was almost run over by Gregory, who saw his chance and took it. Final positions were Jenson Young, Alec Gregory and Marcus Holmes. First league rider was Finn Mansfield in 4th running home after crashing on the penultimate corner.

In an exact repeat of last week’s race the U14 boys’ race was won by Finlay Pickering (Hull Thursday RC) again getting the better of Josh Giddings (The MI Racing Academy). Ben Chilton of Derby Mercury took third.

As riders took to the grid for the final race of the day clouds gathered ominously.  Start time was signalled by the first clap of thunder as the deluge began.

In the women’s race, Maddi Smith of Bolsover and District CC, took the overall win and was first vet 40 woman, Caroline Mansfield (MI Academy) rode a great race to finish second vet 40 with Zoe Codd of Nottingham Clarion finishing third V40.  First vet 50 woman was Marianne Heffron (Zepnat), and Ruth Sutherland (Bolsover and District CC) was second.  In the senior women’s category, Kate George (Empella) was first, coming over the line second to Smith.

Women's start with Maddi Smith leading Joni Wildman from the whistle (photo: Neil Mansfield)
Women’s start with Maddi Smith leading Joni Wildman from the whistle (photo: Neil Mansfield)

Xan Crees of Team Empella, continued her fantastic season, finishing first junior ahead of Maddi Gammons (RP Vision Racing Team) despite dropping her chain on the hurdles and having to chase back, and third overall.  Joni Wildman (Nottingham Clarion) was third junior.  First U23 was Sarah Lomas (Nutcracker Racing) finishing a fine 5th overall.  Check the audio for interviews with Xan and Maddi.

In the male categories in the final race the young guns took all the glory, with a sprint finish between U23 winner George Thompson (Sleaford Wheelers) and Cam Orr (SF Racing), who was also first junior today.  First senior and third overall was Steven Roach of Raleigh GAC.  Second and third in the senior category went to Jono Harper (Argi+8point8 –TheWinterGreen) and third to Lee Shunburne of Team Fossa. Second U23 was Josh Waters (Mercia CC- Lloyds Cycles) and third was Kieren Brown of Bolsover.  Second and third in the junior race, some 30s behind the flying Orr were Simeon Young (PedalSport Loughborough) and Oliver Snodden SF Racing.  Click on the audio for an interview with George Thompson.

Finally in the vets race, with its many subcategories, the overall win was taken by Dan Alexander of Zepnat, also first vet 45, who looked immensely strong and finished 45 s ahead of Matt Crouch (Fossa Racing). Third overall and first vet 50 was Pete Middleton of Zepnat RT.  First vet 40 today was Chi Tang, again of Team Zepnat, and fourth overall.  Second vet 40 today was Rich Edge of Nottingham Clarion, with his best performance this season, finishing a fantastic 6th overall, third in the vet 40 s was George Richardson of Watt Bike.  Second and third vet 50 riders were Harvey Levann (Team Jewson) and Nigel Gregory (Leicester Road Club).

No NDCXL race next week, as it is the first of the Nationals at Derby, so one quarter of the season is over already folks… we will reconvene on the banks of Bingham in a fortnight.




Under 9 and Under 12 race report

Previous rounds of the NDCXL has seen up to 71 riders in the u9 field and 73 in the u12 field.  Today at Markeaton we topped those with 82 and 75 riders respectively.

All looked good at sign-on with 60 riders signing-on on the day; there were no queues and good organisation and spirits.  Race Organiser Andy Prince commented “all’s going well so far, the ground is not wet, let’s hope the weather stays on our side”.

The under 9 field (all 82 of them) took over 40 seconds to pass over the start line, with lead riders completing laps in just under 90 seconds.  Bolsover and District took 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the boys George Cooper, Jacob Steed and Daniel Preece. Edie Bott of 4lifeTri, Eleanor Gordon of Matlock CC and Gemma Newall Cycle Derby CC taking to the podium for the girls.  7 laps completed in just less than 9 minutes.  The tricky left-hand corner after the hurdles saw a couple of riders hit the deck.  Rider comments after the race included “that was busy!”, “goody bags were fantastic”, “I’m glad I wasn’t riding those hurdles they were bigger than me! “.  Cooper showed his professional attitude with a fantastic interview in the audio on this page.

The under 12 field lined up, and pre race banter discovered cyclocross first timers looking forward to the race.   “The mud puddle – is one to avoid”.  The 75 riders cleared the timing straight in 15 seconds.  Lead riders took around 3 minutes to complete each lap, 5 laps in total seeing the race finish in 14:46.  DMRC took 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the boys:  Luke Kininmonth, Otto Chilton and George Amor-Hughes in a close run battle for third over the line with Heanor Clarion’s Ben Marsh.   Harriet Limb of Matlock CC, Evie Steed of BDCC and Grace Longden of Matlock CC were the first three girls.  The sweeping right hand corner down from the top meadow towards the pits caused some early problems for the midfield riders.  By the second lap with the field having spaced out and riders dialled into the course, it all seemed to flow better.

Podium, winner photo shoots and presentations were well received, as well as interviews after the races with the winners, providing an insight into race tactics and personal battles fought by riders starting right at the back of their field.

A great mornings racing – and yes up to this point the rain had only teased us.