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Cyclocross came to Cumbria!

Round 1 National Cyclocross Trophy, Westmorland County Showground, Cumbria.

After an uncertain time right up until the event, Dave Haygarth and his brilliant team of helpers successfully hosted Round 1 of the National Cyclocross Trophy at the Westmorland County Showground in Cumbria supported by Wheelbase.

The race organisation and British Cycling worked tirelessly in the run up to the event to ensure that strict Covid Protocols were followed by everyone involved. Face masks and hand sanitizers were in good supply and, most significantly, there were big changes to the usual bike pit area.

For this event there were no jet washers or pit crews allowed with the organisers creating a simple transition area where riders could change to their spare bike but with no outside assistance or bike-cleaning. This would pose an additional challenge to racers throughout the weekend where the weather and ever-changing racing conditions could influence the outcomes of the race.

The event was really well subscribed despite the additional changes to race rules and the uncertainty around Covid19 in the run up to the event with riders from all over the UK desperate to race after a long lay-off due to the Coronavirus. A packed race schedule over the two days saw racers deal with contrasting conditions – VERY wet with continuous rain on Saturday meant the racing was fast, the course stayed grippy and bikes stayed relatively free of mud.

Sunday was a different story, with blue skies and sunshine beginning to dry out the course turning it into a muddy, sticky, slower-riding course. Racing in these conditions was markedly different, with more focus required to stay upright on the tight dog-leg turns and an ability to cope with steep, slick run-ups. These conditions brought extra challenges as riders tried to finesse their bikes to the finish without the usual luxury of having a jet wash-equipped pit-crew ready with a clean bike every lap or so.

The Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli race team was well represented throughout the two days racing across most of the categories. On Saturday in the Vet 40 race our very own National Champion Lewis Craven raced hard to take an excellent 3rd place. Davie Lines fought back from a lowly gridding to take a strong 7th place while our digital marketing man Johnny Dodgin returned to national-level racing after a couple of years out. As the afternoon’s weather worsened the under 14’s race saw Elsie Haygarth take 22nd despite the difficult conditions.

Sunday morning saw our Junior lads racing when the course was at its most challenging, taking place after 12 hours of continuous rain. The strong-performing team saw Adam Bent take 2nd place with Ben Houlihan in 7th and Flynn Gregory in 8th collectively making a big statement for this newest branch of the Wheelbase team. As the day warmed up and the wind began to dry out parts of the course Kate Taylor raced strongly in the national senior women’s event taking 22nd place overall and 15th place in the under 23 category.

The big final event of the day – the senior race was fast and frenetic with the very best racers in the UK coming together to race for the first time since January. Wheelbase rider Giles Drake was locked in a race-long battle to secure a top ten placing, just missing out on the final lap to finish an excellent 11th place. David Duggan made the trip down from Scotland taking 27th place while our younger under 23 riders Ryan Middlemiss and Tyla Loftus took 45th and 47th place respectively placing them in 21st and 23rd in the under 23 sub-category.

We would like to thank all of the event organisers and helpers as well as all of the competitors who came from far and wide, raced sensibly and adhered to the new Covid protocols throughout the weekend.

All Photographs by @jamesvincent