Neave and Baker power to victories in WMCCL R6

Anthony Neave (Stourbridge CC) finally took top spot in round six of the Lazer Shimano West Midlands Cyclo-Cross League while Alderney Baker (Team Empella took her third women’s win of the series.

Wet weather the previous day made for soft ground conditions around Top Barn in Worcestershire despite there being less mud than in previous weeks.

After narrowly being denied victory in the third round Stourbridge CC rider Neave powered clear on the final lap to win the men’s event.

The open conditions around the University of Worcester Lakeside Campus led for a close race in the men’s event.

A leading group saw Neave joined by team-mate Thomas Payton, Cai Davies (Finchley RC) and Ben Wadey (Clee Cycles) which formed early in the race.

Mid-way through the race Neave and Wadey gapped their opponents only to see Davies bridge back the 11-second gap on the next lap.

The leading trio stayed together until the final lap when Neave made his winning move and had time to celebrate the win, while Wadey finished in second just ahead of Davies.

Josh Field (Halesowen A &CC) pulled away with the leading seniors before maintaining his advantage to win the juniors category.

Behind a three-way battle saw Ryan Greaves (Lichfield City CC) and Wolverhampton Whls pairing Williams Farmer and Oliver Baker battle out the remaining podium places.

With the trio evenly matched throughout the 54-minute race Greaves was fastest in the sprint to take second while Farmer finished third.

Despite starting a minute behind the seniors first veteran 40-49 rider Jason McNulty (Royal Leamington Spa CC) rode clear of his rivals and through the senior field to take seventh overall.

Leading the chase behind was local rider Ed Moseley (Malvern Cycle Sport) and Colin Miller (Ride Coventry).

Moseley kept narrowly increasing his slender margin lap on lap to take second while Miller settled for third.

After winning in the opening round and last week’s event in Newport Shropshire, Baker was again a clear victor in the women’s race.

In similar style to last week Baker started quickly to take the lead and extended her margin every lap to win by nearly two minutes.

Ceris Styler was the lone chaser in second while leading veteran rider Isla Rowntree (Isla Bikes) took a clear third place finish.

Karren Summers was second veteran woman while Tracy Moseley (T-MO Racing) took third in the veteran category.

“Basically, I had a decent lead from the start and just had a really good first lap,” said Baker.

“The rest of the race it kept getting bigger which I wanted in case anything happened. The rest of my lap times were pretty consistent, and I kept trying to increase the gap.

“Last week’s course there was one really boggy section around the start while this week was quite a sapping course and felt quite long.”

Baker will be testing her form in Belgium later this week when she joins her Team Empella team-mates in tackling the Koppenberg Cross on Friday.

Darren Atkins (Zannata Ride Coventry XGear) used his fast start to good effect once again in the veteran’s 50+age category.

He had a gap of five seconds over rival Stephen Knight (Team Jewson MI Racing) after the opening lap and edged that out every lap to win by 32 seconds, while Nigel Smith led the charge behind in third.

After taking several podium places already this season Harry Cockroft (Malvern Cycle Sport) took a home victory in the under-16 boys’ race.

He was joined throughout the race by Fred Meredith (Hafren CC) until surging clear on the final lap, while Griff Lewis (Ystwyth CC) took third.

Meanwhile, Max Bufton (Hafren CC) put on an impressive performance to take a clear win in the under-14 boys’ category.

Bufton finished almost two minutes clear of Cian Evans (The Bulls) in second while Peter Carpenter (Sutton Cycling Club) finished third.

In the youth girls’ event there was another victory for local club Malvern Cycle Sport as Hannah Cockroft took a clear category victory.

Mari Porton (Redditch Road & Path CC) finished second while Ella Tandy (Solihull CC) finished third.