Women’s under-23 World Champion Evie Richards returned to regional league action as she took an emphatic women’s victory in the eighth round of the West Midlands Cyclo-Cross League in Newport while Sam Morris won the men’s event.
Newport Shropshire CC hosted the latest round of the cyclo-cross league which clashed with the third round of the National Trophy in Crawley.
A course around the grounds of Newport Rugby Club weaved around the pitches before a quick descent and grassy climb.
Under-23 rider Morris (Revolution Racing) took his maiden victory of the series after three places on the senior podium this season.
Despite having a slower start Morris soon joined the front of the race in the opening lap and was joined by round six winner Robert Burns (Islabikes), Anthony Neave (Stourbridge CC) and Nick Morris (Clee Cycles).
Morris, from Bridgnorth, took the front on the second lap and put his rivals under pressure on a technical section before forcing a slender lead which he extended throughout the race.
Behind Burns, from Worcester, was a lone chaser bunny hopping the planks and finishing 35 seconds behind the winner while Neave finished third.
It was a double victory for the Morris family as Daniel Morris clinched a slender win in the junior category following a race-long battle with Josh Field (Halesowen A&CC) while Sam Wainwright (Redditch Road & Path CC) took third.
“It’s my first cross win of the season after winning some time-trials and criteriums,” said Sam Morris.
“I noticed a few people struggling so I hit the front and pushed through the technical section. The group strung out, so I kept going and the gap grew a bit although I thought it would have got closed down.”
Morris is currently studying at Loughborough University and has been splitting his racing between the West Midlands and Leicestershire League- where he has picked up two second places.
The women’s race was a show of strength by Malvern-based Richards who pulled out a 44 seconds gap on the opening lap and didn’t look back, eventually winning by almost five minutes.
The Trek Factory Racing rider also finished second in the World Cup round in Iowa City in America.
Behind a three-way battle for the remaining podium places developed between Karen Summers, Melissa Baker (Team Empella Cyclo-Cross.com) and Julie Caddick.
Veteran rider and round six winner Summers, from Wellington, forced out a slender advantage with Baker originally following before falling away slightly and despite keeping the gap steady Summers finished 17 seconds ahead of Baker with Caddick a further four seconds back.
The imperious Stephen Knight (Team Jewson MI Racing) took a comfortable victory in the veteran’s over-50 age category.
Behind a close battle behind resulted in a sprint finish for second with Philip Roach (Team Jewson MI Racing) beating Stephen Whitehouse (Stourbridge CC).
In the youth race Samuel Holwill (Hafren CC) made the trip from Powys worthwhile by riding clear to take a clear victory in the under-16 boys by a minute and 20 seconds.
Oliver Baker (Wolverhampton Whls) led the chase behind and grew out a clear gap for second ahead of team-mate William Farmer.
The under-14 category was also won by another visiting rider to the league with Joe Watkins-Wilson (Eastlands Velo) taking the win ahead of Tomos Pattinson (Halesowen A&CC) in second and Dan Porter (Bolton Hot Wheels) in third.
In the girl’s category Grace Lister (Wolverhampton Whls) road away from her rivals to win the event.
First under-14 rider Ellie Swingell (Halesowen A&CC) finished second overall ahead of team-mate Isla Blain in third.
Second under-14 rider was Hannah Cockroft with Rebecca Woodvine (Mid Shropshire Whls) in third.