Pictures by David Perry
TOBY Barnes and Evie Richards took the Shimano Lazer West Midlands Championship titles after emphatic rides in the senior men’s and women’s races alike.
Both riders stormed away to clear victories which they could saviour around the new-look course at Top Barn, near Worcester.
The University of Worcester Lakeside Campus has been used on several occasions before and in the past has led to fast racing.
However, on this occasion a new course, organised by Wyre Forest Cycle Racing Club, included several running sections through mud and steep banks to test rider’s strength.
RST/Cycle Division Racing rider Barnes, from Lichfield, has won several rounds of the West Midlands League along with challenging for National Trophy honours this season.
Barnes rode away from his rivals gapping them in the early exchanges and pulling out a lead of 50 seconds on the first lap alone.
By the finish Barnes had a winning margin of three minutes and 26 seconds.
Behind him Stourbridge CC duo Thomas Payton and Anthony Neave led the initial chase before Joshua Jones (Zero BC) and Jonathan Brain (Mid Shropshire Whls) came through.
On his first outing in the West Midlands of the season Jones took second while Brain finish a further minute back in third.
“It was a different course than it has been before and it was quite good with a lot of different features,” said Barnes.
“They had a few steeper banks to run up and there was a bit of a running section not long after the start.
“I went hard from the start and on the first running section got a gap so pressed on from there and kept on the pressure.
“I have been trying to do more running as the National Trophy rounds can have quite a bit of running.”
Barnes will be back in National Trophy action next weekend when he hopes to sign of a successful campaign at the final round in York.
“York is the last round of the National Trophy so I’m hoping to have a good ride there and then I’m off to Belgium,” added Barnes.
“I’m hoping to keep my overall under-23 leader’s jersey and hopefully third overall in the senior men’s category.
“To start off the aim was just to get as good results as I could in the National Trophy and a few under-23 podiums.
“So I have done better than I thought.”
Oliver Baker (Wolverhampton Whls) put in a commanding performance to win the junior category ahead of Josh Field (Halesowen A&CC) in second and Ryan Greaves (Lichfield City CC) in third.
Unlike the senior and junior categories, the veteran men’s 40-49 age category race saw a close encounter with Philip Glaze (Fishface Cycles RT), Ed Moseley (Malvern Cycle Sport) and Colin Miller (Ride Coventry) battling out the honours.
Miller saw his challenge fade away in the final three laps leaving Moseley and Glaze to battle it out for victory.
Glaze had the final say attacking on the final lap to take victory by seven seconds with Moseley second and Glaze in third.
In the women’s race Trek Factory Racing XC rider Evie Richards saw off the challenge of a friendly rival in the form of Harriet Harnden (T-MO Racing).
The pair battled out the opening two laps before former World Champion Richards showed her strength to pull out a winning margin of a minute and 13 seconds.
First year under-23 Harnden, who was regional champion last season, settled for second on this occasion while Melissa Baker (Team Empella Cyclo-Cross.com) finished third.
After finishing second veteran woman in the regional championships last season Verity Appleyard (Brotherton Cycles) went one better to clinch top spot on the podium.
She was chased all the way by Tracey Moseley (T-MO Racing) in second while Celia Brown took third.
Karren Summers was first veteran woman 50+ while Isla Mason (WXC World Racing) was quickest junior.
The veteran men’s 50+ age category was another enthralling encounter as previous league round winners Darren Atkins (Zannata Ride Coventry GSG XGear) and Mark James (Dream Cycling) battled it out for top honours.
Atkins timed his effort to perfection and rode away on the final two laps to take the win with James in second and Stephen Knight (Team Jewson MI Racing) in third.
The youth boy’s race saw the season-long battle between Ben Askey (RST/Cycle Division Racing) and Max Greensill (Hope Factory Racing) continue.
A determined ride by Askey saw his ride away from his rival on the last two laps to take a deserved victory.
Greensill took second while William Ryan (Solihull CC) finished third.
Spencer Corder (ROTOR Race Team) took his familiar position at the head of the under-14 boys’ category race to take a clear win.
Corder was joined on the opening lap by team-mate Lewis Tinsley before Tinsley fell back but rode to a clear second while Alex Hart (Mid Shropshire Whls) finished third.
After dominant displays in this year’s regional league Daphne Jones (Mid Shropshire Whls) was again a clear winner in the youth girls’ event.
She was once again chased by leading under-14 rider Hannah Cockroft (Malvern Cycle Sport) in second while Zoe Parker (Solihull CC) finished third.