CYCLING: Tough conditions for final round of cyclo cross season at Misterton

Rugby's Phil Roach competing earlier this season
Rugby's Phil Roach competing earlier this season

Good ride by Roach despite last-lap puncture

Team Jewson-MI Racing-Polypipe-McCann cycle race team continued their amazing success rate with more impressive results over the weekend.

Conditions were terrible for the latest round of the Notts and Derby Cyclo Cross series on Saturday afternoon.

Overnight rain had turned the course into a mud bath, but that didn’t stop Kirby Bennett from doing a brilliant ride, fresh from his bronze medal in the 55+ class at the British Championships in Co Durham last week, where he also finished 3rd counting member in the Championship Team as well.

On Saturday Kirby finished 2nd in the Over 50 race behind British Champion Pete Middleton, and 1st in the Over 55 race, staying on one bike for the whole event.

On Sunday morning riders faced rain and snow when they competed in the final round of the Leicestershire Cyclo Cross season, the event being held at the popular Misterton venue, near Lutterworth.

By the time the Veterans race was held, snow was about two inches deep, but that didn’t stop riders fighting out a tough battle.

Rugby rider Phil Roach continued his excellent form by attacking from the gun, chased hard by former Professional Tim Gould, despite having driven to Norway and back since last week’s race, as part of his work with rally cars and not having had a chance to ride the bike in between times.

His pace split the field wide open, with only Gould able to stay the pace. At half distance Gould showed his experience and eased ahead of his older rival and was a clear winner after the 45 minutes had elapsed.

Meanwhile Roach was well clear of his chasers.

Team mate Steve Knight, after making his usually slow start, was working his way through the field and Kirby Bennett, no doubt feeling the effects of such a tough ride a few hours earlier at Derby, was also in the hunt.

With one lap to go Roach was still well clear in 2nd place, until with three quarters of a lap to go and the technical part of the course still to ride, he punctured.

In the muddy and snowy conditions it was difficult to ride, or even stay upright and he slowly slipped back, and by the time he reached the pits for his spare bike from Team Boss Mick Ives, he was down in 3rd place, with Knight closing fast, and Bennett not too far away also.

At the line Roach finished inches ahead of Knight for 3rd place, and also won the Over 55 rider class. Knight was 4th and 3rd Over 50 rider and Bennett 8th and 2nd Over 55 rider, showing once again how consistent the team is.

Lady team member Lindsey Newman also braved the terrible conditions to win the Veteran race, and win the Overall series as well. She also finished 2nd in the Midland series. After a short rest she will race mountain bikes through the summer season.

The MI Racing Youth Academy riders also had reason to celebrate.

Jude Chamberline won the Under 14 years race with team mate Ed Hopkins in 3rd place, Hopkins taking the Overall Championship and Ed Woodward finished 2nd in the Under 16 years race.

The cyclo cross season draws to a close now, but many of the team are active on the track, dominating events at the Derby Velodrome, while other riders will prepare for the road season ahead.