AFTER a short hiatus, round 11 of the BWA West Midlands Cyclo-Cross League incorporating the West Midlands Championships was held on Sunday at Mallory Park in Leicestershire.
With temperatures barely above freezing, the Redditch Road & Path Cycling Club U8s took to the start line with high hopes of a Redditch win through Ryan Oldfield.
Fresh from receiving his National Schools Best All-Rounder jersey, Oldfield stuck to his task well, sticking to the wheel of league leader Colston-Shields (Lichfield) until the last lap where a back marker forced Oldfield into the tapes.
Oldfield had to settle for a solid and creditable second place in the region, whilst Phoebe Strain – despite her best start to a race all season – was just pipped into third place which was a great result and another regional medal for the club.
In the U10s Ellie Swingell performed brilliantly on an increasingly wet and muddy course to finish 13th overall and third U10 girl in the region. The first Redditch boy home, Tom Cartwright, who has improved greatly this season, rode with confidence to finish 13th boy and Oliver Cotton showed some good skills and determination with a creditable 23rd place finish.
The U12s was to be hotly-contested as the course became more difficult each and every lap.
Sulli Berry was first home for Redditch, making the right decisions of when to ride and when to run, and this brought him a creditable 13th place finish, putting in two blistering last laps to make up six places.
Josh Mitchell and Matthew Lowe have both come on leaps and bounds this year to finish in 20th and 21st respectively. Oli Cooke raced with his familiar smile to finish 26th and Joe Homer, who always enjoys his racing, was 29th.
In the U12 girls Isla Mason finished in a gutsy sixth place and Aleks Franks, after a superb start, finished 11th.
Redditch were represented in the veterans 50+ race by Ade Leach and Paul Salkeld and both performed well, with Leach having his best finish to date of 11th and Salkeld 16th.
Joe Geehan had another solid race in the junior category, finishing in a creditable ninth place, and Cameron Biddle – fresh from racing in Belgium and in the National Trophy in Milton Keynes – has started coaching at Redditch and was second in the junior category.
The youth race was hotly-contested and Gareth Richardson showed good strength to again finish in the top ten, whilst Annie Lindsay finished fifth in her age category, spurred on following a fine performance whilst representing the West Midlands regional team a few weeks ago when she bettered many good national standard riders.
The conditions had deteriorated greatly, with many sections becoming treacherous, but again Redditch were well represented in the the seniors and veterans 40+ categories and what they lacked in top placings they adequately made up for with a fantastic support crew made up of the club’s slipstreamers.
They have picked up hints and tips throughout the season from the more experienced pit crews to provide all of the seniors and veterans with clean bikes each lap and a system in the pits that most clubs are enviable of.
Some great results for Redditch with many top five and top ten placings shows the club is going from strength to strength in every aspect.