Askey and Crumpton charge to victories in WMCCL R6

Lewis Askey (Team Backstedt/Hotchillee) clinch the men’s event while Bethany Crumpton (Storey Racing) cruised to the women’s victory in round six of the Ridley Lazer West Midlands Cyclo-Cross League.

Askey, 16, from Cannock, clinched his first victory of the league but had to work his way to the front twice on an eventful afternoon at Baggeridge County Park, in Dudley.

The venue sees riders compete over a range of hilled banks, slippery descents and technical wooded sections.

It was Askey’s first appearance at the West Midlands league meaning that he had to start from the middle of the grid and work his way to the front.

Once he joined fellow junior Marcus Holmes (Lichfield City CC) at the head of affairs Askey suffered a mechanical which saw his chain come off causing him to lose time on the leader.

However, Askey worked his back way to the front after three laps before attacking and riding to victory by 10 seconds over Holmes.

Askey took second place in the National Trophy last weekend following a season on the road and track which saw him clinch two national titles on the velodrome and numerous victories on the road.

“It was hard work as I have had a hard week training preparing for some of my bigger races later this season so my legs weren’t feeling great,” said Askey following his victory.

“The course was long and hard so it made it tough to deal with. I didn’t have the best of starts due to my gridding and then my chain came off so I had to work back up to the leader.

“I hope to ride the European Championships in the Czech Republic in three weeks which will be good experience. I will hopefully ride a few World Cups and the National Series before hopefully being selected for the World Championships in February.”

Holmes lost a handful of seconds each lap to the leader until the closing stages when he started to reel Askey back but fell just short of victory.

Local rider Robert Burns (Islabikes) chased the two youngsters throughout the race to finish third overall and first senior.

Darren Atkins (Ride Coventry) continued his domination of the veteran 40+ category with a strong ride which saw him clinch 10th overall- despite starting over two minutes behind.

Philip Hinch (Stourbridge Velo) led the rest of the veterans ahead of Philip Glaze (Stourbridge CC).

In the women’s event following her National Series success last weekend Crumpton showed her strength and skills once again to clinch victory by almost three minutes.

The Redditch rider, who also won the first round before flying to America for two World Cup rounds, led from the start and never looked in any trouble.

With previous round winners Hannah Payton and Harriet Harnden absent it was left to veteran Isla Rowntree (Isla Bikes) to lead the chase behind.

She was locked in battle with Melissa Baker (unattached) and junior rider Xan Crees (Team Empella

It was Rowntree who proved the strongest for second distancing Baker and Crees during the final few laps with Baker taking third.

“It was a shame none of the other big hitters were here as there are a lot of good riders in the region,” said Crumpton.

“I’m in really good form and used the race to get ready for the bigger races over the next few weeks. It was a good course as my dad (John Crumpton) designed it and he always likes to make it technical and I like it that way.

“I’m travelling over to the World Cup in Koksijde (Belgium) next week which is different to any other race as it is famous for its sand dunes which we don’t have over here.

“It’s only the second time I’ve raced on sand so I’m not sure whether I like it or not. My running has really come on in the last couple of months by doing park runs but running on sand is very different.

“I will go with it and do the best I can. The following week I will be riding the National Trophy in Abergavenny in the yellow leader’s jersey which will be tough against some international competition.”

Stephen Knight (Team Jewson-MI Racing) continued his domination of the veteran’s over 50 event winning in emphatic style to win by over two minutes.

The Halesowen based rider was again chased by team-mate Kirby Bennett who took a clear second from Stephen Whitehouse (Stourbridge CC).

The youth race was the most exciting of the day with organising club rider Simon Wyllie (Halesowen A&CC) going head-to-head with Daniel Barnes (Lichfield City CC).

Wyllie had won all four round he had competed in this season with Barnes winning the other and nothing could separate them throughout the race.

Barnes would eventually take victory in a sprint finish between the rivals.

Emile Alexander (Lichfield City CC) won the battle for third just edging out team-mate Matthew Kingston.

In the under-14 event it was another Lewis’ brother Ben Askey (RST Racing Team) who returned to winning ways in one of the most open categories.

He finished 10 seconds clear of Max Greensill while Alex Barker (Halesowen A&CC) finished third.

Isla Mason (Redditch Road & Path CC) clinch the under-16 girls event with early leader Josie Nelson (Lichfield City CC) taking second and Lucy Hart (Mid Shropshire Whls) in third.

Grace Lister (Wolverhampton Whls) again challenged those in the older age group to take fourth overall and first under-14 girl.

Spencer Corder (Stratford CC) made it six wins from six in the under-12 category while Tia Carr (Lichfield City CC) did the same in the girls’ event.

The under-10s event saw George Cooper (Pines Cycles Enve) take victory with Aelwen Davies (The Bulls) taking the girls victory.

Louis Inman (Bolsover & District CC) took another victory in the under-eights while Rose Neely (Solihull CC) was first girl.

Finally Benjamin Gilmour (Redditch Road & Path CC) took victory in the under-six category with Millie Barton (Mid Shropshire Whls) first girl.