By Liam Moakes Wednesday 31 October 2012 Updated: 31/10 16:03
THE AUTUMN colours of the splendid surroundings of Misterton Hall provided a superb venue for round six of the Waldrons West Midlands Cyclo-Cross League, which featured Redditch Road & Path Cycling Club members.
Following on from the previous day's Rapha SuperCross pro race, the course was tweaked and extended to cope with the influx of riders.
The U10s race proved to be fast and furious with a mixture of flat grass chicanes, tarmac and a stepped bridge to negotiate.
Redditch had ten of the 60 riders in the race and Sulli Berry fought hard to be first Redditch rider home. Loving the bridge and wooded area, he finished 19th U10 boy.
Hannah Turnbull was just a few places behind and fought hard to finish fourth U10 girl, Charlotte Blundell had a great ride to finish seventh U10 girl and was closely followed by Joseph Turnbull and Patrick Crump who were sixth and eighth U8 boys respectively.
Ryan Oldfield battled hard to stay in touch with the older riders, finishing second U6 boy. Lucy Blundell and Aleksandra Franks were split by just ten seconds at the finish after an exciting last lap and Alanah Albutt and Mathew Blundell both finished well to score points for the team.
The U12s race was super quick with the older riders being able to maintain a good average speed around the whole course and, with little time for recovery, stamina played its part in the final standings.
The Redditch riders had another good week. James Ralph had his characteristically good start as Sam Wainwright had to chase him down in the last few laps, which has become a great, friendly rivalry for the Redditch team.
Scott Matthews continued his good form, using his track skills to stick with the stronger riders on the flat parts of the course and picking his way through the field. The boys finished 16th, 18th and 22nd respectively.
Clarrissa Palmeri and Georgia Davis did not let the speed daunt them and showed great determination to finish fifth and seventh girls respectively.
Abel McLinden and Chris Knight in the youth category are sixth and seventh in the league standings so Sunday's race was always going to be exciting.
The course proved to be technically challenging with the varied terrain of fast shale pathways, tarmac roadways, dry dusty woodlands and strength-sapping meadowland.
McLinden managed to edge ahead in the first lap and continued to move away from Knight, whose mountain bike was probably holding him back on such a fast course. The duo finished ninth and 16th respectively.
Gareth Richardson could not replicate the previous week's stunning performance, but he finished strongly to hold off some late surges from his league rivals.
Fraser Salkeld battled hard and as one of the youngest riders in his age group finished well as 28th U14.
Joe Geehan, Olivia Salkeld and Luca Palmeri continued their own private club battle with Geehan coming out on top this time. Salkeld continues her great season and after five rounds is second in the U16 girls league.
In the ladies and veterans 50+ race Ian Nutter continued his good season with a 22nd in the 50+ race. Tracey Palmeri is now eighth in the women's veterans league and must have improved her position with a strong fifth place.
The seniors and veterans 40+ race again had 98 riders in a hotly-contested race. With five veteran riders and four senior riders, the only thing the seniors seem to have on their side is age - being very proud of all being under 40.
This does not stop the veterans catching up the one-minute headstart and beating the seniors though. First home was veteran Terry Richardson who again managed to edge out Paul Salkeld.
Veterans Tony Crossland and Mike Matthews had a great tussle and held off senior James Strain who in turn beat Paul Berry by a 18 seconds.
Berry sacrificed his spare bike for Strain after he suffered a puncture and the latter then had the cheek to overtake Berry on his own bike and drink his spare energy drink - which is clearly where Strain got the extra 18 seconds from!
Alex Potts had a strong middle of the race but faded and nearly got caught by his dad who was about 30 seconds behind.
Chis Oldfield, normally in the paper for exploits as club captain of Redditch Rugby Club, took part in his first ever bike race.
This was probably the first time he had ridden his bike for more than a few miles and he had a great time until snapping his chain and having to borrow a bike from an U14 lad to finish the race.
This was another great showing from the Redditch cyclo-cross team, who across all ages had 28 riders. People of any age are welcome to join this friendly club and can e-mail Paul Berry at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.rrpcc.co.uk for details.
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