It was perfect conditions at Markeaton; after some rain in the preceeding week the ground was soft and grippy in places, but there was enough moisture to require judgement. Cycle Derby did an excellent job with a slightly altered course including the drop into the gulley and bank-ride out, fast flowing sections and the mega planks at the base of a climb.
The U16 boys followed similar form to last week with Alec Gregory (Pedal Power Loughborough) opening a gap from the start which never closed. Behind closer racing ensued with Josh Giddings (MI Racing Academy) and Ben Chilton (Derby Mercury) trading places several times. With a surge on the final lap Chilton took 2nd place. Chris Hilbert (Sherwood Pines) was still dominant in the U14s finishing well ahead of Sully Berry (Reddich R&PCC) and William Longden from Matlock, a repeat of the R1 podium.
The U14 and U16 girls started together with Lotta Mansfield and Amo Wayte (both MI Racing) leading from the whistle but joined by Lucy Buckley (Cycle Derby) until the planks when the race split up. Buckley was joined by team mate Ellie Dilks and they rode as a team, until the final quarter lap when Lucy pressed on to take 3rd, with exciting shoulder-to-shoulder racing as they passed the pits. U14 girls Libby Bell (Leicester Forest), Jessica Tiffney (Derby Mercury) and Holly Bailey (Heanor) finished close behind. With Bell showing such improvement this season it is surely a short time until she will be mixing it up with the U16s ahead.
The V40 field included Danny Alexander (Zepnat, V45) opening his 2017 NDCXL campaign, and tipped by many to be the favorite. Spectators were treated to Alexander and Lee Shunburne (Fossa Racing) riding as a 1-2 for the first half of the race with Lee later saying that he had worked hard to stay with the Zepnat rider. However, Shunburne put in a hard effort on the 4th lap and never eased off to finish ahead by over a minute clearly showing that he can no longer be considered ‘just’ a mud specialist. In 3rd place was V45 Andrew Brindle from Horwich CC.
Zepnat managed a win in the V50 category with Pete Middleton starting incredibly fast as he worked through the V40 field. Nigel Gregory (Leicestershire Road Club) and Mick Davies (V55, Pedal Power Loughborough) came in 2nd and 3rd some 3 minutes behind the category winner. Pete Turner (Derby Mercury) was first V60, Michael McDermott (Heanor) first V65, and Gregory Rowson (Macclesfield Wheelers) first V70.
The final race of the day combined several categories. The seniors/U23 start was led by Harry Yates (Hargroves) with local rider Gareth Whithall (Zepnat) and Kinesis’ Bruce Dalton following. Whithall and Dalton (riding his new bike for the first time) could not keep with the pace and a lead opened with Dave Fletcher (Pines Cycles) joining Yates. Despite finding his MTB tyres draggy on the climbs, Fletcher eventually led off the front to take the win with Yates 2nd. Fletcher is due to get his new CX bikes soon, and so we will see how he performs when on ‘less draggy’ tyres! Second senior was Chris Metcalfe (Derby Mercury / Fabric Cycling) followed by Ben Eedy (Empella). In the U23s 2nd and 3rd places were taken by team mates Kieren Brown and Sam Marriot (Argi+ 8Point8). As is the norm at NDCXL the leading junior riders sought to chase down the seniors with Matt Ellis (Steve Poole Plant Hire) winning his category being 3rd over the line. Ollie Snodden (SF Racing) was 2nd with Elliot Banniser from Nottingham Clarion finishing 3rd.
The women’s race was led by junior Xan Crees (Empella) off the start with Jo Clay (Torq) and Poppy Wildman (SF Racing) following. As the race settled Crees was overtaken by team mate and eventual women’s winner Kate Eedy (V40) who was chased throughout by Maddi Smith (B&DCC) who finished 2nd V40. Third placed V40 was Helen Dussek (Nottingham Clarion) who started on a spare bike while her ‘A’ machine was serviced; after a pit change to get on the faster bike she accelerated away from the group she was with. Clay finished 1st senior woman well ahead of Sarah Bell (Squadra Donne) and Phoebe Sneddon (Derby Mercury) who were 2nd and 3rd. Wildman was first junior; Crees was 2nd and third Empella’s Maddie Hubner. U23 women was won by Sarah Lomas (LIV AWOL) from Tiffany Fletcher (Empella) who both finished a lap ahead of 3rd U23’s Rebecca Laurel from the promoting club. V50 women was won by Eve Roberts (Derby) from Ruth Sutherland (B&DCC) and Susan Herriman (Mercia).
47 young riders eagerly lined up for the first of the 2 usual rounds of NDCXL action at Markeaton Park today under blue skies and climbing temperatures. The course was the usual combination of a long steady climb up past the finish line before winding their way back down to the bottom through a series of fast flowing and tighter corners to test the confidence and tyres. From the start whistle, the visiting Lichfield City CC duo of Jonah Hearn and Corin Bradley set the pace at the front, chased by a trio of riders in Alfie Steed & Louis Inman (Bolsover & District CC) and Jet du Toit of Newark Castle CC. Halfway
through the race, a crash for Corin Bradley resulted in breathing space for Jonah who went on to take the race win by just over 20 seconds. Alfie Steed took a strong 2nd place and Ozzy Beswick just claimed 3rd in a sprint finish with Louis Inman. Merle Snelson (Team Milton Keynes) dominated the girls category, finishing 1st girl and an impressive 5th overall, with Isla Woolf (Matlock CC) 2nd girl and Shauna Hamilton (Lichfield City CC) 3rd.
Only 2 riders short of a full field with 68 riders taking on an extended version of the U9 lap, disappearing for a time into some trees and singletrack to further test their bike handling skills. A number of riders took unplanned time during the race sitting on the ground, showing the fine line between maintaining speed and maintaining an upright, rubber side down position. Again it was a visiting rider who led the race in the early stages, Stratford CC’s Spencer Corder finding himself pursued by Jacob Steed of Bolsover & District CC. These 2 were inseparable during the length of the race, both having attacks chased down by the other. It was only settled in the last 3rd of the last lap, Spencer making it to the tight corners first, putting a couple of back markers between himself and Jacob that proved enough to create a gap and take the win. Ryan Oldfield (Redditch RPCC) reeled in and overtook Jude du Toit (Bolsover & District CC) on the last lap for the remaining podium place. Grace Longden (Matlock CC) took the win in the girls category, repeating her victory from round 1 and finishing 15th overall. Evangeline Kininmonth (Derby Mercury RC) just held off a fast charging Edie Bott (4 Life Tri Club) for 2nd and 3rd place respectively.