Press release: BRITISH CYCLING’S NATIONAL CYCLO-CROSS CHAMPIONSHIPS
6th January 2014
It’s the race all riders want to win more than any other – the British Championship with the stripes up for grabs at Derby next weekend.
January 11 and 12 sees the biggest event of the Cyclo-Cross season, the British Cyclo-Cross Championships at Moorways in Derby, sponsored by Onimpex/Bioracer.
With events on both Saturday and Sunday, it’s an action packed weekend of racing at a popular venue used for both British Championships and National Trophy cyclo-cross events. With the final round of the National Trophy held last weekend, the form guide is there for the championships … or is it?
Talking to the riders at Shrewsbury on Sunday, perhaps not because Shrewsbury was very muddy, sticky mud too with bike changes every half lap meaning that if Derby is the same, it may well be in the pits that the title is decided.
So many riders said after Shrewsbury how they hated all the running and so course conditions will be a big factor deciding where the championships are won and lost.
The racing starts on Saturday with the Veterans (Men & Women) and the Youth categories with lots of titles being decided plus even more medals for the different age categories in the Veterans events (five year age bands).
Sunday sees the headline acts race for the British stripes and a big crowd will be lining the tapes to watch the continental stars return to battle it out with the British based ‘cross riders. More so in the Women’s race where the World’s best cross riders in the form of Helen Wyman (Kona / FSA ), Nikki Harris (Telenet Fidea) (defending champion) and Gabby Durrin ( Team Rapha-Focus) will be doing their best not to be upstaged by the local stars.
In the Men’s, the big favourite is Ian Field (Hargroves Cycles) but Paul Oldham (Hope Factory Racing) has yet again shown how good his form is and Field will have to be on his best to beat the Lancashire rider.
Winner of the National Trophy and a former winner of the national title, Paul Oldham, says of the event “To pull on the British Champions jersey is awesome and I’d love to do it again. Domestically, it’s the biggest event we have and to wear those stripes is very special and it’s what you aim for in whatever discipline you race.”
“Derby is a good course too and with all this rain we are having, it’s got to be a mess. There is lot of off camber there and it could be a very difficult race. I won my championship at Derby and I’ve always had good rides there at Trophys. If there is a good omen for me, that’s one!”
Nick Craig (Scott UK), another legend in off road racing, is another who says that the British Championship is a very special event. “We’re very lucky to have a very good National Trophy series as it feels like we go to a proper well put on event but when you go to a National Champs, it’s another level up again. And it’s not necessarily just down to the organisers but the competitors too who all want that jersey.”
“When you win that jersey, defending it is one of the most difficult things ever. You look back at Steve Douce and Roger Hammond who came back and kept on successfully defending it and go wow. But, I love it when it’s more unpredictable and more competitive. Ian Field’s out in Belgium racing at a different level but he still has to come back to try and win it and that’s not easy because the whole UK scene is quite strong.”
Nick will be riding the Veterans race on the Saturday afternoon and then backing up on the Sunday to ride the Elite mens. Finishing fourth (third best Brit) at Shrewsbury shows that in the Elite race he’s a medal contender and certainly in the Vets, his rivals are already well aware they could be racing for Silver.
Is doing two races hard work? No says Nick. “The vets is only 40 minutes so it’s not too bad and I do enjoy what is a fantastic weekend. I was encouraged by a lot of people to do the Vets event and I have to say, I have never had such a fun weekend as I have had when I have ridden both races.”
Nick won the Elite title three times, twice in the 90’s and again in 2005 and he says winning that first one in January of 1996 was very special, something he really loved and admits that whilst it’s a tough sport, the atmosphere of the Nationals is great; the crowd, the cowbells and the banter. Asked about the course at Derby, Nick explained “It’s an interesting course because it does have a very long flat headwind section with some nice off cambers. It makes for some interesting tactical racing!”
Nick finally, admits that he likes the going to be heavy and slow. “It suits me. Younger guys go quicker when it’s faster. The engine I have is in there for the power and not the speed!”
Abby Mae Parkinson (RST/NFTO) admits the season 2013/14 has been really great for her. “I didn’t expect it to go so well and I have good form at the moment and I hope it’s still there for the Nationals. I won the first time I rode at Derby and then last year was outsprinted by Charlotte (Broughton). I do like the Derby course and as a junior, racing with the women, it will be very exciting.”
Darren Atkins (Team Jewsons), son of cross icon John (12 title wins). “The British Championships is a very special event that we all want to win. It’s a great event” he said on Sunday.
Darren has been pushed all season in the Trophy series but still remained the rider to be beaten which he was unusually last Sunday in a thrilling race at Shrewsbury.
“Having won the National Trophy three times, I’d love to win the Nationals but I know it won’t be easy. There’s a rider who could walk away with it but I’ll give it my best. In the Vets, there are so many riders in the running. You look at the likes of Lewis King, Mike Simpson and all these fellas, if the course suits them on the day, no –one is out of the running. You probably have half a dozen riders who have all been within ten or fifteen seconds of each other this year.”
“Everyone has been riding flat out and today (Shrewsbury) I was really doing my best”. Darren up until Shrewsbury had been unbeaten but Ian Taylor, out ran him on a very dangerous off camber section and got to the last corner to clinch the win. “We’re all evenly matched” Darren added. “Crispin suffers a little on the bike handling side but if he gets to grips with the course, he will be dangerous. Ian is very strong so we’ll see what happens.”
Derby, says Darren, suits him. “I have done well there. Been second in the nationals before and won two or three trophies there. I am happy with the course. We just need to see what the weather does as that could change things. I have ridden there though in all conditions so it’s not a course I’d worry about.”
Peter Harris (Pearce Cycles) : A very well known ‘local’ for the race is ‘Pete’ Harris, who lives only a fifteen minute bike ride away from the course. Pete is one of the top riders in the Over 50 category and father to the current British women’s champion, Nikki Harris. Pete explained how the course used to be a popular venue for the Notts & Derby Cyclo-Cross league before it became known for the Trophy events and then the British Championships.
He explained it’s quite a technical course complete with a sand pit and that he’ll be riding in the over 55s which he won last year. Asked about how it would feel if he and Nikki were able to win the jerseys on the same weekend, Pete replied “We’ve won the mountain bike ones at the same time so to win two jerseys on the same weekend is fantastic. It can be done but there’s Steve Davis and co to stop me as there’s only one jersey for the ten year band in over 50s. Anything can be happen on the day though especially with all the bike changes…”
Who to look out for
With hundreds of riders competing, there are a lot of ‘names’ in there to look out for in all the categories. The big stars though will be the likes of Ian Field (Hargroves Cycles) who returns from Europe after having won both the Trophy events he has done this season in Milton Keynes and Bradford. He’ll be the favourite in the Men’s event but one mistake, one piece of bad luck and the likes of Paul Oldham will be all over him.
In the other big race, the Women’s Championship, this perhaps will be the most exciting event of all as Helen Wyman and Nikki Harris (defending champion) have both had fantastic results in Europe and if it came down to a final corner sprint, I for one would not be surprised.
Another clash worth taking a look at will be the Vets 40 plus (Saturday) where Nick Craig will take on the likes of Darren Atkins and company. That category has seen some of the most exciting racing of the season, the last round especially so and the only question mark is whether Craig can dominate his rivals as they expect him to.
For those early at the circuit on Sunday, you’ll quickly be woken up because the Under 23 category is probably at its strongest for many years. Not only is there strength in-depth which will make for an exciting race, these riders are also on the same level as the Elite men so as well as being close, it will be fast. The likes of Grant Ferguson, Steven James, Ben Sumner and so many others will ensure that the title has a worthy winner.
Another category with strength in-depth is the Junior one and the name ‘Craig’ is present there too, this time its Thomas. He rode, or was it run away, with the Trophy race at Shrewsbury and will be a big threat to all his rivals. There have been so many different winners in the category that where the title is going is anyone’s guess. Sunday for sure will see every race a winner for spectators!
On the Saturday, the favourite for the Men’s over 50 jersey is current champ Steven Davies (Hargroves Cycles) who was sixth in the Worlds last weekend. Riding that race cost him the National Trophy series by just two points and it was the winner of that category, Mick Davies (Pedal Power) who has shown that his form in such muddy conditions is top drawer.
In the Under 16 Boys, Dan Tullett (Hargroves Cycles) is probably the biggest favourite of the whole weekend but as ever, with so many variables are at play, there will be a queue of riders waiting to jump into the lead if he makes a mistake.
In the Girls Under 16, the battles between Jessica Roberts (RST/NFTO) and Charlotte Broughton (MG Décor) have been a Trophy series highlight and that should be a feature of the racing at Derby.
In the remaining events, the Women’s Vets is very open whilst the racing in the Under 14 Boys and Girls will also be equally unpredictable but look out for the pocket rockets Lucy Horrocks (Hope Factory Racing), Poppy Wildman (Nottingham Clarion) and Ellie Russell (Mid Shropshire Wheelers) in the Girls. An example of how close the racing will be can be seen by the fact in the Under 14 boys Trophy Series there was just one point separating Euan Cameron and Craig Rogers,
All in all, a great weekend of racing is assured and we can only now cross our fingers for some decent weather!
With so many variables, the course, the conditions, lady luck, bike changes and riders coming into the event without having shown their cards in Trophy events, predicting winners is a mugs game but you can get a feel of who the contenders will be by checking out the National Trophy final standings and results from the last race in Shrewsbury.
9:30 am 40 mins Veteran Women’s Championship
11:00 am 40 mins Veteran Men 50+ Championship
12:15 pm 30 mins Youth Boys Under 14 Championship
12:15 pm 30 mins Youth Girls Under 14 Championship
1:15 pm 30 mins Youth Boys Under 16 Championship
1:15 pm 30 mins Youth Girls Under 16 Championship
2:30 pm 40 mins Veteran Men 40-49 Championship
10:15 am 50 mins Under-23 Men’s Championship
11:30 am 40 mins Junior Men’s Championship
12:45 pm 40 mins Women’s Championship
2:15 pm 60 mins Senior Men’s Championship
Further details can be found on the event website: www.derbycyclocross.org.uk
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NOTE FOR NEWS EDITORS
Reporters and photographers are invited to attend the event, which takes place from 9.30 am on January 11th and 12th 2014 at Moorways Stadium, Moor Lane, Allenton, Derby DE24 9HY.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
John Holmes, Event Organiser 07946461972 firstname.lastname@example.org
Mary Gill, Assistant 07841828126 mary@ derbycyclocross.org.uk
See more at: www.derbycyclocross.org.uk