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Cyclo-Cross National Trophy – Irvine Race Report

The Cyclo-Cross National Trophy’s first foray into Scotland this weekend saw Wheelbase riders Lewis Craven and Giles Drake competing in a very strong mens elite field as five-time national champion Ian Field took the victory. Lewis put together his thoughts on the race in this report:

‘This was the first time the national cross series headed north of the border. The venue was Irvine, and the beach park course was unrelenting. Fast and hilly with short sections of deep sand to negotiate. The views across to Arran were breath taking making it easily the most picturesque venue yet.

Last season my starts were consistently bad, but I managed on each occasion to come through strong to finish in the top ten on all but one race. This season I’ve got my starts dialled. However , each time I’ve been sitting comfortably in the first group I find myself on the floor with twisted handle bars and bent levers!

Irvine started well for the first few laps but as I entered a technical camber my race unravelled. The north facing camber could be ridden high or low. The low line had a slower entry but faster exit , with the camber angle being less this was the safer option. The high line was marginally faster but you ran the risk of catching a pedal or slipping on the slightly greasy face. Low line for me as I looked to overtake a high riding u23 rider, then down he came landing in a heap in front of me and over the bars I go!

On such a fast course I knew I wouldn’t see the front group again as I twisted everything into place. The next group came through containing my teammate Giles Drake and I chased on to avoid being caught in no mans land. The middle of the race saw our group lap at roughly the same speed as the first group but it looked like the six of us would fight it out for 9th. Now, sand is a fairly uncommon feature in most UK cross races, and speaking for myself I’m not the best in it. But judging by what happened next neither are most UK racers.

The six of us raced to enter the sand first to get a clean line, a Holdsworth rider got the gap but messed it up big time resulting in 4 of us smashing into the back of him. And with my current luck I came off worse leaving the sand pit off the back of the group heading in to the final lap. It was 10 seconds too much to close and I rolled in a frustrated 14th. Giles wasn’t much better in 13th and we both hope and pray for some heavy weather. Fingers crossed for the next round in Crawley.’

After the historic debut weekend in Irvine, the series returns to England with the race heading to Crawley over the weekend of 10-11 November.