Robert Burns (Isla Bikes) and Karren Summers took the opportunity of their rivals being away at the National Trophy to take maiden victories in the sixth round of the West Midlands Cyclo-Cross League.
A new course at Stoneleigh National Agricultural and Exhibition Centre in Warwickshire hosted the latest round of the series and provided a fast route with a wooded section which tested riders.
The course organised by Royal Leamington Spa CC also included a double set of planks which forced most riders to dismount.
With previous men’s and women’s winners absent it was a chance for new names to take the top spot of the podium.
In the men’s race Burns, aged 29, from Worcester seized the initiative and road away from his rivals to clinch a solo victory.
Riding his single speed bike the senior rider thrived in the fast conditions to take his first win of the season.
He was initially joined at the front of the race by Nick Morris (Clee Cycles), Tom Payton (Stourbridge CC) and Jonathan Brain.
Burns made his move for glory on the third of eight laps and despite the group behind only losing a handful of seconds each lap he grew a winning margin of 32 seconds by the finish.
Behind Brain went in pursuit of the lone leader but had to settle for second while Morris beat Payton in a close finish for third.
Josh Field (Halesowen A&CC) was fastest junior ahead of Scott Matthews (Redditch Road & Path CC) in second and Thomas Williams (Beacon Roads CC) in third.
“It was a bit of an opportunity whilst the junior riders were away in Scotland at the National Trophy,” said Burns.
“It is usually the Barnes brothers at the front or Simon Wyllie so it was a chance to get to the front a little bit.
“After my practice lap at 11am the veteran’s race smoothed the course out and made it a lot faster so I had to up my single gear and it was just about right.
“It was quite a twisty course in places and there were leaves on the ground in the woods so it was easy to lose a wheel.
“After breaking away I was a little bit worried that because I was on my own it was difficult to gage how the group were racing behind so I tried to keep a constant speed.”
It was a good day for the Worcester riders as Burn’s training partner Ed Moseley (Malvern Cycle Sport) clinched another victory in the veteran’s over-40 category.
Moseley pulled out an early gap but was chased throughout the race by regular category winner Darren Atkins (Zannata Ride Coventry X Gear) with just 15 seconds separating them at the finish.
Meanwhile host club rider Jason McNulty finished third.
Veteran rider Summers, from Wellington, also took the opportunity of previous winners being absent to take her first overall victory in the women’s event.
After dominating the veteran’s category this season Summers showed her power to ride away from her rivals to clinch the win by almost a minute.
Summers edged out a slender lead on the opening lap ahead of a chasing group including Hannah Pearson (Fishface Cycles RT), Amanda Whitehouse (Stourbridge CC), Claire Murphy (Kenilworth Wheelers CC) and Annie Lindsay (Redditch Road & Path CC).
By the end of the second lap Summers was 20 seconds clear of the chasers and kept increasing her margin to win by 53 seconds.
Behind Pearson gapped her rivals with two laps remaining in a bid for second and despite losing time on the last lap held on to her position while veteran rider Whitehouse took third.
Stephen Knight (Team Jewson MI Racing-Polypipe) continued his domination of the veteran’s over-50 category riding clear once again to take a solo win by almost a minute.
However, he was made to work for his victory by Roy Chamberlain (Team Corley Cycles) who despite losing 25 seconds to the leader on the opening lap then only lost a handful of seconds each lap to the leader.
Behind a close battle for third saw Stephen Whitehouse (Stourbridge CC) finish just six seconds clear of Mark Mullender (Walsall RC).
The youth boy’s race also saw a new winner in the form of Jude Chamberlain (The MI Racing Academy) following a tight battle with Oliver Baker (Wolverhampton Whls).
While Joshua Mitchell surged away from a host of chasers to finish third.
Tomos Pattinson (Halesowen A&CC) was a clear winner in the under-14 boy’s race finishing 40 seconds clear of Ben Lucas (Wolverhampton Whls) in second while Max Saunders (Solihull CC) finished third.
In the youth girl’s race under-14 rider Ellie Swingell (Halesowen A&CC) took a convincing victory ahead of fellow under-14 rider Rebecca Woodvine (Mid Shropshire Whls) in second overall.
First under-16 girl was Molly Lewis (Halesowen A&CC).