CYCLING: Team boss impressed with Roach’s form in run up to national championships

Rugby's Phil Roach competing earlier this season
Rugby's Phil Roach competing earlier this season
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Eight of Mick Ives’ racers will be competing against country’s best in County Durham

Some very impressive cycle race results were obtained by members of Team Jewson-MI Racing-Polypipe-McCann over the Christmas and New Year period.

Two days before Christmas Kirby Bennett finished 3rd in the Notts and Derby Cyclo Cross race for riders over 50, with team mate Phil Roach, from Rugby, in 4th place, despite having a puncture and having to ride part of the course on a flat , before getting to his spare machine. They were 1st and 2nd best Over 55 riders.

Then on Boxing Day the longest running Cyclo Cross event in the UK, the Coventry Road Club’s Kenilworth Boxing Day promotion on Kenilworth Common, in its 64th year, attracted almost 1,000 spectators and a field of over 100 riders from all over the UK fighting for the £750 prize list.

Darren Atkins finished a brilliant 3rd and 1st Veteran, with his big rival , former British Champion Steve Knight (Team Jewson-MI Racing) close behind in 4th place and 2nd best Veteran.

One of the best rides of the day came from former UCI World Masters Champion 56 year-old Rugby member of the Team Jewson-MI Racing team Phil Roach, finishing in 9th place and best Over 55 rider.

The LVRC National Cyclo Cross Championships, which should have been held at Warwick two days later, had to be cancelled following heavy snow on the Tuesday evening, which partly melted on the Wednesday.

With racing still possible, organiser Mick Ives had to cancel the event on the Thursday morning because overnight frost meant parts of the course were like a skating rink and Ives and top riders considered it unsafe to race.

Organiser Ives said in all his 60 years of Cyclo Cross racing he has only ever known of three events being cancelled.The event cannot be rescheduled again this season .

Racing resumed, however, on Saturday with the Notts and Derby race at Bakewell, Derbyshire, where members of the MI Racing Academy excelled. Josh Giddings won the Under 16 years Boys’ race with team member Jack Brough 3rd. Lotta Mansfield finished 2nd in the Under 16 years Girls’ race and is lying 2nd overall in the series.

Finn Mansfield finished 2nd in the Junior race, his first race as a Junior.

And at the latest round of the Leicestershire Cross series at Cattow’s Farm, near Coalville, Leicestershire, the team had more success.

New Academy member Jude Chamberlain won the under 14 years race , with team mate Ed Hopkins 2nd. Jude is son of former Coventry International Roy Chamberlain.

In the Ladies’ Veteran race Lindsey Newman recorded one of her best rides of the season when she finished 2nd .

One of the best rides of the meeting came from former World Champion and current Midland Champion Phil Roach, who stormed into an impressive lead on the all ridable course.

Roach led from former professional Tim Gould for half of the 50-minute race, but Gould attacked and distanced his younger rival, but Roach maintained his position to finish ahead of Chamberlain and team mate Steve Knight (4th ) with Kirby Bennett in 6th place.

Knight was gridded at rear of the field as he was not contesting the overall series and had to work his way through the large field. Roach won the Over 55 years award.

Team boss Mick Ives, who has been watching Roach in all his recent events, said: “It looks like Phil is coming into his best form at the correct time of the season. When he is on top form he is so impressive to see. Let’s hope he can produce one of those special rides at the forthcoming National Championships and lead the team to the Team Championships as well as gaining a podium position himself.”

The team will now prepare for the British Championships in County Durham in two weeks time, where they will field eight of their best riders.