Lewis Askey (Zanatta Ride Coventry X Gear) took his second men’s victory of this season’s West Midlands Cyclo-Cross League while Louise Heywood-Mahe (Les Filles Racing Team) won the women’s event at round seven of the series.
Picture by David Perry
Hosted by Birmingham Midland C&AC, Blackwell Adventure Centre providing riders with a mixture of challenges including a fast-wooded section and long grassy climb in the latest round.
Askey, who also won the second round of the series organised by Solihull CC back in September was once again joined at the front of the men’s race by Toby Barnes (Lichfield City CC).
It was Barnes who powered away from the start pulling out a small gap on Askey during the opening lap before the pair came back together.
Junior rider Askey, aged 17, from Cannock, then forced the pace on the second lap eventually breaking his rival before increasing his lead throughout the race to win by almost two minutes.
With several of the other junior riders away riding the European Championships it was Matthew Kingston (Lichfield City CC) who led the charge behind in third overall and second junior while third junior was David Hird (Halesowen A&CC).
“After riding the Road World Championships I had time off to rest and so this was my third week back riding my bike,” said Askey.
“Toby (Barnes) set off at full speed from the start and he got a gap of 20 metres but I road within myself and just thought that it was a long race and I didn’t know what my legs would be like.
“I followed him through the first full lap and I thought that he would have gone deep to try and gap me so instead of getting my breath I road on the front.
“I got into the woods on the second lap and nailed it for a couple of metres and then pressed on from there.”
Askey’s team-mate Darren Atkins took another victory in the veteran’s 40-50 event riding through the senior field to finish in eighth place overall.
He was once again challenged by Philip Glaze (Stourbridge CC) who was gapped by his rival on the fifth lap of nine while Ed Moseley (Malvern Cycle Sport) finished third.
On her first visit to the West Midlands League of the season Heywood-Mahe took victory in the women’s event after a race-long battle with junior rider Alderney Baker (Team Empella Cyclo-Cross.com).
Junior rider Baker had pulled out a substantial gap early in the race but as the race wore on her gap started to come down and on a dramatic final lap Heywood-Mahe passed the leader to win by five seconds.
Fellow Team Empella Cyclo-Cross.com rider Xan Crees finished a clear third place overall ahead of second junior Lucy Hart (Mid Shropshire Whls).
Last week’s overall winner Karren Summers continued her domination of the veteran women’s category with a comfortable win.
Amanda Whitehouse (Stourbridge CC) was second veteran while Michelle Paget (Rugby Velo) was third.
The dominance in the veteran’s over-50 category of Stephen Knight (Team Jewson MI Racing Polypipe) was broken by visiting rider Tim Gould (Zepnat Lazer).
The former professional mountain bike rider took the lead from the outset and built up a winning margin of over a minute.
Knight also had to work hard for his second place another visiting rider in the form of Glenn Coltman (Leicestershire Road Club) who had to settle for third.
Ben Askey set the tone for his brother by claiming victory in the earlier youth boy’s race with a dominant ride.
The RST/Cycle Division Racing Team rider road away from his rivals on the second lap and built a winning margin of over a minute.
The battle for second went down to a sprint finish with Oliver Baker (Wolverhampton Whls) catching Alex Barker (Team Backstedt/Hotchillee) but the latter won the sprint finish.
Under-14 rider Bethany-Ann Jackson (Leicester Forest CC) took victory in the youth girl’s event.
Behind Molly Lewis (Halesowen A&CC) finished second overall and first under-16 following a battle with Cerys Greaves (Lichfield City CC).