British Cyclo-cross Championships – Shrewsbury
The 2nd weekend of January meant the national championships were here, after hard training over the Christmas period all the riders were ready to go. Heavy rain had made sure that it was going to be a tough weekend, the course was very heavy and had lots of running sections meaning the eventual winners would have to really earn their titles!
As expected, the Elite men’s race was hotly contested. Ian Field had a strong start and after dropping the front runner was then locked in to a deadly duel for the rest of the race. It was a grueling battle at the front with both riders slogging through the sticky mud. Ian finished the race in a very humble 2nd place, having left everything he had to give out there on the course.
“Obviously disappointed with the result but it is only because as a rider and a team we have high expectations and the desire and drive to be the best. On the day my best wasn’t good enough but I couldn’t have tried any harder to defend my title. I have been in good form since mid September at the opening round of the World Cup series in Las Vegas and I have been super consistent throughout the year…
…With 2 World Cups and a World Championships still left my season is far from over. Motivation is still high and even higher to come back to try and reclaim the stripes next year. I am really proud of winning the British title 4 times in a row an achievement that probably hadn’t truly sunk in until today. Massive thanks to all the team sponsors, Hargroves Cycles, Madison, Ridley, Shimano, Lazer, Fast Forward, Elliotts, BHM and Warwick Martel for the continued support. I will be back!” – Ian Field.
Jody Crawforth was also racing in the Elite men’s category and finished in 13th place.
Michael Butler finished in 22nd place in the Elite mens category.
“I was looking forward to the weekend with it being the champs. I raced there last season and really enjoyed the course. Having changed my training since Christmas time I was eager to see what difference it might make. However I haven’t been doing much running and that definitely showed! I don’t think anyone would have expected there to be so much running involved. Next weekend is the last trophy and hopefully not quite so much running, although after this weekend I should be more up to scratch! I have been very impressed with the bikes and equipment I cannot fault it.”
Harry Yates, who is a self confessed ‘lover of mud’ finished 2nd in the Junior men’s race. The mud was so thick and deep he almost lost his shoe! Even though Harry narrowly missed out on the win, everyone on the course could clearly see the superhuman effort he was putting in. His determination, grit and passion awarded him ‘ride of the day’.
“Great weekend at Shrewsbury, happy to get silver after a hard race through muddy conditions which meant a lot of running and slippery riding as well as faultless pit changes courtesy of the fantastic Hargroves pit crew. I had a great start and was away with a small group from the gun, as the race progressed the leader pulled a gap out and I set off in pursuit. Changing every half lap meant I was able to change onto a lighter bike which made it easier for the running sections which made a big difference over the four lap race…
…I hope my strong finish securing 2nd will hopefully mean I have a chance of being selected for the World Championships later in January. I’m looking forward to racing the last round of the National Trophy at Milton Keynes next week and will be recovering over the week to make sure I’m ready aiming for another podium position.” – Harry Yates
Having led the majority of the race, Nicholas Barnes finished in a very emotional 3rd place in the under 23 men’s category.
“It was a bit of a rush in the morning as I don’t usually race at 9:30am! When we arrived we unloaded the equipment and I prepped my bikes before the official practice time on the course. Once I was able to get on the course I did a quick lap and returned back to the van to get ready for the most important race of my season.
I was gridded in first and I had a decent start to the race. Coming into the first mucky section I was in third place, moving up to second on the running section. Once we got to the real thick mud near the pits I pressed on and moved into first opening about a 5-10 second gap. I continued to grow the gap, but had a slight spill at the top of the adverse camber which I managed to recovered from without losing much time. With 2 laps to go I got caught up with a wooden stake, unable to get my bike free I panicked. I finally managed to snap the tapes, but the gap was down to around 5 seconds. Just as I was getting back into a rhythm I was caught by the rider chasing me and he started to apply pressure. After that I struggled to string together 2 more clean laps and dropped back into 3rd place.
The bikes, equipment and support from my family, Hargroves Cycles and Lazer has been great all season. I still have a few more races to go so let’s hope I can redeem myself and maybe be selected for the World Championships. I’m also planning to come back stronger and faster for my first year in the elites next year.” – Nicholas Barnes
Ruby Miller finished 8th in the Elite women’s race.
In the Veteran men’s over 50 category Steve Davies led the initial chase and finished in a strong 4th place. Crispin Doyle also rode very well. The course suited his style and he’s a very powerful rider so was able to make up time on the ‘power sections’ of the course. Crispin finished 5th in the Veteran men’s 40-49 category.