By Liam Moakes Wednesday 05 December 2012 Updated: 10/12 12:00
AFTER round seven (Stratford) of the West Midlands Cyclo-Cross League at Moreton Morrell College was cancelled due to waterlogging, the Redditch Road & Path Cycling Club riders were raring to get back racing when round eight took place at Baggeridge Park hosted by Halesowen.
In between rounds seven and eight some riders had taken part in National Championships and Trophy events and, with the Redditch Slipstreamers now holding the coveted Hereford and Worcester Sports Junior Team of the Year award, they headed into round eight with even more confidence than before.
In temepratures that had not reached zero, the U10s field was smaller than usual, but all the league's main protagonists were in attendance.
Sulli Berry continued his good form by finishing first Redditch rider home in 14th place, but not quite managing to hold on to tenth which he held until the last lap, but this was still a creditable performance as he is still not top of his age group yet.
For Jake Nash this was not only his first cyclo-cross race but his first ever cycling race in any discipline and he showed he could be a talent for the future by finishing in 22nd place and a brilliant third in the U8 age group.
After some tough training Aleksandra Franks sprinted to be fourth U10 girl - her best result this season - showing hard work and determination pays off.
Ryan Oldfield battled through the cold conditions to finish second U6 boy. Giving it all he had, he managed the course without any help, whereas the leader in his age needed assistance to get up the hills and without this help Ryan would have no doubt won his age category.
Lucy Blundell left her twin sister keeping warm at home to finish a hard fought fifth placed U10 girl.
With conditions getting muddier by the minute the U12s had to tackle a different course to the U10s, which was much harder than in previous weeks.
The battle of the Redditch riders took off where it was left a month ago. Sam Wainwright managed to just overtake James Ralph on the final lap with each locked in other battles with surrounding riders and having to sprint hard in the final few hundred yards to maintain their positions, finishing 15th and 18th respectively.
Scott Matthews had another strong race and sprinted the final 100 yards to pip a Wolverhampton Wheelers rider by just one second - a great effort which left him exhausted.
Carissa Palmeri and Georgia Davis finished fourth and fifth girl respectively, both with brilliantly determined rides.
Tracey Palmeri backed up her strong league position with another determined ride to finish fifth in her age group.
Abel McLinden made light work of the compact but tricky course to finish a brilliant sixth in the ever competitive youth race. He is training really well this season and this is showing in his great cyclo-cross results.
Chris Knight matched his best ever result with 22nd, closely followed by an ever improving Gareth Richardson who was 11th in the U14 boys age group.
Fraser Salkeld moved up the league rankings with another impressive ride as he pipped local rival and friend Stewart Crossland.
They were followed by Joe Geehan who, in his first year of cyclo-cross, is showing his enthusiasm and skill by improving every week with his best result to date.
The seniors and veterans field was not as large as other weeks due to the National Trophy taking place elsewhere, but the Redditch riders that were able to take part took full advantage.
An injury to Paul Salkeld and a great ride by Terry Richardson saw Richardson extend his lead over his club rival Salkeld.
James Strain enjoyed the mud and carnage to finish just three minutes down on Richardson in a very creditable 48th and veteran John Potts finished a few places behind Strain on the same lap.
Slipstreamers (youth ages 4-16) train on Wednesdays between 6.30-7.30pm at Abbey Stadium. Visit www.rrpcc.co.uk for more information.
The club caters for all abilities from beginners to those racing at regional and national level. It has seven British Cycling qualified coaches dedicated to making the sessions fun and informative.
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