Another busy weekend for the team, with our man Nick taking the prize for most miles travelled – racing in Mol at the Masters Worlds on Saturday then driving straight back to the UK South West Championships in Cornwall on Sunday! The weekend also saw Tomo racing at the North of England Championships and Sam, Mike, Scotty and new boy Sam Andrews taking part in the South of England Championships in Keynsham.
Tomo lined up against some of the best Vets in the country on the iconic Peel Park course in Bradford. His rivals included none other than Nick Craig, who the day before had been crowned World Masters Champion in Mol and multiple 3 Peaks Cyclocross winner Rob Jebb. Here is how Tomo saw things:
“I rocked up around 8am for an 11.30 race start and then moved over 140 litres of water to the pits for what was going to be a muddy day in the park. Then I got a few laps in and the course was fresh, but I knew it would change massively after a few races (which it did) – it became a mudfest! 15th on the grid wasn’t so bad and I got a good start and managed to get into the top 10 and then started to move forward, having some great battles along the way, some won, some lost. Picked up a front wheel puncture during the race which my pit man Keith Murray sorted – the mud had meant we’d got down to half lap changes! Finishing 7th on a quality field was a great result.”
Meanwhile down south Sam Smith was first up in the Junior race on the Shamcross course in Keynsham. Up against the best junior riders from the South Region, Sam was down as one of the favourites for the title. Plenty of mid week rain and a wet start to the day meant the riders were in for for some very slippery conditions and the bank that is normally rideable, was definitely a run up! Sam got off to a great start and settled into 2nd position behind one of his biggest local rivals, Barney Clacey (Hargroves Cycles) and the pace was high from the start. The very slippery conditions were keeping the boys on their toes and after a couple of laps Barney had managed to create a handy gap between himself and Sam. The two boys left the rest of the field for dust and continued to build their gap, which fluctuated throughout the race but eventually Clacey managed to keep the gap open and take the win, with our boy Sam coming away in a solid 2nd position!
Sam A, Mike and Scotty were up next for the feature race of the day, the Senior Men’s South Of England Championship on the now VERY slick and muddy course after all of the previous events of the day. Not the biggest of starting line ups, but it was a strong group and the Magspeed boys were in the thick of it from the gun. After a hectic start to the hour long race, with a lot of elbows-out action with everyone trying to get to the front, Scotty and Sam slotted into the top 5 and found themselves riding in formation for the first few laps as leader Sam Allen (Pedal On) then pushed the pace and the field soon strung out. The muddy conditions were making for a tough day out, crashes and mechanicals were commonplace throughout the race and it turned into a race of attrition between the top riders in the south of England. Up front, Sam Allen had the race sewn up but behind, the race for the final podium positions could have gone any way, with Scotty firmly in 4th, but catching the back end of the podium until an untimely puncture put pay to any chance of a medal winning position. A solid day out for the Magspeed boys in the senior race, Scotty coming back with 4th, new boy Sam 9th and Mike just outside the top 20, a ripped-off rear mech making for a long run to the pits!
With all of that going on in England, our man Nick was on the continent. He tells us more about his hectic weekend, firstly representing Team Orange in Belgium, then back in Cornwall the following day. Here is how he found it…
“This was my second go at the World Masters Champs in Mol, Belgium and was my A race for this season. Mol is a place like no other to race Cyclocross, due to its tricky stretches of fine white sand, which means 8 dismounts per lap and over 3 minutes on average of running. We arrived on Thursday afternoon and set about getting a few laps in, the course had some changes from last year but the dreaded long sand section along the beach remained. I felt good on the course and was looking forward to Saturdays race.
Robin Delve, a fellow South West ‘cross racer was in Mol with me to defend his 60-64 World Championship title which he did with a fine ride on Friday afternoon. Robin ran very well, his pace on the tarmac was too much for his fellow competitors. His win made the Friday night meal a good reason to celebrate, however no Belgium ale for me.
Saturday was my turn, and with it came rain, I got warmed up in the Feedback Sports tent and started chatting to some Americans (double my size and totally ripped) this didn’t help my nerves at all! I got possibly the worst start in my Cyclocross history – I didn’t clip in, and when I did I tried to accelerate and change down the cassette at the same time which resulted in the gears slipping and me ending up nearly in the barriers. I rode the fast tarmac at a sensible pace and as soon as we hit the sand I set about passing riders, over the next few laps I made my way up to 22nd heading into the final lap Lester (my pit man) shouted to me that I was catching the guy in front quickly I got my head down and on the final sand section I passed the ripped American for 21st place 14 places higher than last year, a big achievement for me.
We had no time to hang around as we aimed to get back to Cornwall for the South West Champs at 12.30 on Sunday. We were making good time until we hit Calais and the French protests – we had a 3 hour delay which resulted in arriving home at 4am.
Redruth on Sunday morning was a blur: Lester prepped my bikes and I set about a recon lap then jumped on the turbo to spin my very heavy legs out. I was gridded on the front row and sat in third wheel on the opening lap the course was muddy but wet enough for it not to be claggy I couldn’t keep the pace and Rich Long soon passed me to put me 4th I was under constant pressure from Lee Adams in 5th but was strong enough to open a lead on him on the penultimate lap. Steve Lampier took the win with Rich Long 2nd and Phil Collings 3rd and me 4th I am sure with fresh legs I could have been up there but I was happy after a crazy weekend to have a good race. Many thanks to Lester and Robin for the support in Mol and Lester for his efforts as pit man on Sunday #teamorange #rainishere #finally”