Toby Barnes (Lichfield City CC) and Bethany Crumpton (Storey Racing) showed their early season form to take victories in the opening round of the Ridley Lazer West Midlands Cyclo-Cross League.
Both riders put on dominant displays to take comfortable victories in their respective races while Stephen Knight (Team Jewson) and Darren Atkins (Ride Coventry) were superior in their veteran categories.
Abbey Stadium Sports Centre in Redditch was the brand-new venue for the opening round and the wet weather throughout the day led to slippery conditions as the races wore on.
A course full of tight corners mixed with off-camber bankings led for exciting racing throughout the day.
Junior rider Barnes, from Lichfield, showed his form ahead of a schedule of international World Cup races taking the lead in the senior race from the opening climb and pulling out a winning margin of 26 seconds.
“From the practice lap I knew it was going to be a slippery course that got worse as they day went on,” said Barnes.
“As it was my first race I wasn’t sure how well everybody else would be going so I attacked on the first climb and kept pushing.
“Last year was my first year as a junior so I got experience from two World Cups and the Europeans. Hopefully this year I can get up the results.”
He was chased throughout the race by team-mate Marcus Holmes who only lost a handful of seconds each lap to the leader while James Garrett (Rugby Velo) finished third and first senior.
Atkins put on a superior performance in the veteran’s 40+ pulling out a winning margin of over a minute ahead of Philip Glaze (Stourbridge CC) who beat George Richardson in a sprint for second.
Local rider Crumpton was on fine form in the women’s event and made light work of the tricky course leading from the start and building up a winning margin of over two minutes.
“It was nice to ride a different course and it was one I really enjoyed,” said Crumpton.
“I sprinted off from the start and built up my lead and kept pushing. I’ve got a new bike so I wanted to push that to the limit and see how fast I could take the corners.”
Crumpton, from Redditch, was using the race in preparation for her trip to America where she will be riding the opening two rounds of the Cyclo-Cross World Cup.
Lauran Humphreys (Aspire Bicycles) led the race for second just distancing under-23 Melissa Baker in the closing stages after the pairing had been locked in battle throughout the race.
Verity Appleyard (Brotherton Cycles) took veteran 40+ women’s honours and Lisa Garside was first veteran 50+
Also testing her legs ahead of the international programme was National Champion Nikki Brammeier (Boels-Dolmans) was chose to ride the veteran’s over 50 event.
She was beaten into second by the formidable Knight who led from the start and had a winning margin of nearly two minutes.
Glenn Coltman (Leicestershire Road Club) initially joined Brammeier but was distanced into third.
The youth event was one of the closest of the day with Simon Wyllie (Halesowen A & CC) joined by Daniel Barnes (Lichfield City CC) at the head of proceedings throughout.
Wyllie eventually gapped his rival on the final lap to ride for victory while Jack Rootkin-Gray (Solihull CC) took third.
In the girl’s event under-14 rider Grace Lister (Wolverhampton Whls) showed her early season form to take a narrow victory from first under-16 Kinga Ingram (Halesowen A & CC) while Isla Mason (Redditch Road & Path CC) took third overall.
In the under-12s Spencer Corder (Stratford CC) took a clear victory in the boys while Tia Carr (Lichfield City CC) was fastest girl.
Daniel Ward (Mercia CC) was fastest under-10 just ahead of first girl Aelwen Davies (The Bulls).
Abergavenny CC rider Cameron Reeves road to the boy’s victory in the under-eights with Tasmin Moss (Stratford CC) first girl.
Finally, Toby Leavis (Leicester Forest CC) took the under-six boy’s win while Millie Barton (Mid Shropshire Wheelers) was first girl.
Full results at: http://www.racetecresults.com/Results.aspx?CId=27&RId=20196