CYCLING: Fantastic festive results for Mick Ives’ team

Mark James on podium after winning first ever national championship, with team mate Steve Knight second
Mark James on podium after winning first ever national championship, with team mate Steve Knight second

Roach victorious at LVRC National Veterans’ Championship

Elite cycling team, Team Jewson-MI Racing-Polypipe-McCann, enjoyed a very merry Christmas, with victories in three different cyclo cross events over the festive period.

Multi British Champion 53-year-old Steve Knight got the Team off to a flying start on Boxing Day at the 65th running of the Boxing Day Cyclo Cross on Kenilworth Common, the longest running event in British Cycling and an event that draws the crowds out in their hundreds.

Young Ewan Grivell-Mellor, the son of former Coventry Olympic rider Dave Mellow, and now riding for Mid-Shropshire Wheelers led the one-hour race, almost from the start, on this very tough and technical circuit, which is based on the old sand pits on Kenilworth Common and includes the road climb of Common Lane each lap.

Team Jewson’s Steve Knight was gridded in the third row, along with team mates Phil Roach and Mark James, in the 100 up field, and had to fight his way up to the leaders.

Knight, one of the most successful riders in recent years on this circuit, was the fastest rider over the second half of the race, and by the finish had almost caught his younger rival, giving away over 30 years - an amazing performance - to finish second in the race and win the veterans award as well.

Not far behind Knight, was another amazing performance, this time by one of Mick Ives’ Youth Academy riders, 16-year-old Ed Woodward, possibly the best performance of his young career. Ed was never far from the leaders throughout the race, having been gridded on the second row, and his fantastic bike handling skills and powerfully climbing kept him in the thick of the action to finish a brilliant third overall and first Junior.

Not too far behind came Team Jewson’s 52-year old, Mark James to finish in fifth place and third Veteran over 40. Former World Champion, Phil Roach finished sixth and first Veteran over 55 years.

Tim Stowe finished third best 60+, and Lindsay Newman finished third best Lady Veteran.

Two days later the Team was in action once more, this time competing in the LVRC National Veterans Championships, held at the Adventure Sports Centre, near Warwick and Organised by Team MI Racing, with Ssponsorship from Vittoria Tyres (Italy).

Once again it was an incredible day for Team Jewson-MI Racing-Polypipe-McCann. Mark James won the National Championship for riders 50 and over, his first ever National Championship. It was his ninth victory in the last ten races, and just reward for his tough regime of training this season, beating his old rival and best team mate Steve Knight. The time gap between them after 44 minutes of racing was just seven seconds.

A minute and 23 secs behind James came Phil Roach to take the 55+ National Championship. He is currently British Cycling National Champion as well.

Peter Busby finished fourth best 55+, just missing the podium. Phil Stokes finished a brilliant second in the 65+ Championship in only his third event of the season, and Sally Reid won the Ladies’ Championship, her first National Cyclo Cross Championship. So, that’s three more British Championships for the Coventry-based team, making the year’s total 25. No other team in the UK can boast that many in one season.

Tim Stowe had bad luck when in a medal position, he suffered a broken chain and had to run half a lap before getting to his spare bike and Dunchurch’s Martin Van Hackley retired on the final lap with mechanical problems.

Team boss Mick Ives said: “It’s been a long while coming for Mark James to lift a British Championship. He has been a member of my teams since 1993, when he first rode as a mountain bike rider for Saracen Cycles. This year he has been outstanding. I just hope he can keep his excellent form for the next two big events.”

Then on Sunday riders competed in the Coalville Wheelers race at Cattows Farm near Coalville in Leicestershire, on a flat, fast, and dry circuit. This time it was the turn of former World Champion Phil Roach to show his hand. Storming into the lead and never to be seen again by his rivals, it was a masterly display of speed and bike handling, Chasing hard, but never in the hunt was team mate Steve Knight, for once, not on the podium, finishing in fourth place, a rare occasion for Knight. Peter Busby finished tenth, Ian Wright was the winner of the 60+ race, with Tim Stowe fifth, John Gabriel ninth and Phil Stokes tenth. Sally Reid won the Lady Veteran race and Young Ed Hopkins, a member of the Mick Ives Youth Academy finished third in the Under 16 Boys’ race.

The next two big events will be the National Trophy event at Shrewsbury this Sunday. Kirby Bennett is currently the leader of the 60+ series.

A week later the British Cycling Championships are at Gravesend, where the Team will be out to defend their Team Championships in the 50+ race and Phil Roach will be hoping to retain his 55+ Championship. The Team will have ten riders competing in the Championships.