CYCLING: Two MI riders injured in Boxing Day cyclo cross races

Kirby Bennett with his Boxing Day injury close to his eye  (picture by Simon Riley)
Kirby Bennett with his Boxing Day injury close to his eye (picture by Simon Riley)

Team’s total for year: 23 British titles, three World Masters and one European Championship

Christmas has been a very busy time for members of Elite Cycle Racing Team ‘Team Jewson-MI Racing-Polypipe’.

On Boxing Day several of the team competed in the Classic Boxing Day Cyclo Cross event on Kenilworth Common, the longest running cyclo cross in

the UK, stretching back 62 years.

Veteran rider Carl Sturgeon finished in 3rd place, and 2nd best Veteran, behind Raleigh Professional Stephen Roach who also won the event in 2014.

His team mate Steve Knight finished 6th overall and 3rd Veteran. Mark James was 4th Veteran and an injured Kirby Bennett 5th Veteran.

World Masters Champion Rugby’s Phil Roach retired after puncturing half way through the race.

Major problems for the team’s Peter Busby, who sliced off the end of his little finger, whilst making adjustments to his machine while

still riding. He bent down to adjust his front wheel and caught his finger in the disc brake. Pete was taken to hospital where they operated to

try and save as much of the finger as possible. It now looks like Pete will have to miss the forthcoming BC Championships at Shrewsbury next week, where he is an important player in the Team Championship title. He has, however, won the season-long Midland Cyclo Cross series for riders 50 and over.

Kirby Bennett was also involved in a nasty accident in the same event, but was able to continue, despite being in pain.

Kirby fell at the end of the first lap, on a slippery bend and landed on one of the plastic marking stakes, which missed his eye by no more than a quarter of an inch. Despite being in considerable pain and with blurred vision he continued.

Success came for Kirby Bennett two days after his Boxing Day crash, when he won the LVRC National Cyclo Cross Championships for riders 55 and over.

The event was promoted by Team Jewson and Organised by six times World Masters Cyclo Cross Champion Mick Ives, and sponsored by Jewson.

The team won two National Championships at the Warwick event, along with two seconds, three thirds and one fourth.

Kirby Bennett won the Championship for riders 55 years and older, his second British Championship this season. (He won the BC National Mountain

Bike Championships in the summer.) It was a brilliant ride by the local rider, who also punctured half way through the event, but managed to get to his spare machine, without losing too much time. Team mate Tim Stowe from nearby Wellesbourne finished a brilliant 4th.

Geoff Giddings made it two National Championships for the team when he won the event for riders 50 and over. Geoff, who returned to racing this season after a long lay off, rode for the team some ten years ago, and won just about everything except a National Championship, which he has now

done.

In 2nd place was his team mate and current World Masters Champion Phil Roach. Phil has not had the best of luck over the Christmas period, as he punctured again (he punctured at Kenilworth) and had a long run before getting to his spare machine, and was never able to get back into

a winning position.

In the Championship for riders 45 and over Mark James finished 2nd, just missing out on what would have been his first National title, when he had mechanical problems, and he too had to struggle to get to his spare machine, losing valuable time, which he could never regain. In third place was Steve Knight.

In the Championship for riders 65 and over Marton’s all rounder Barrie Mitchell finished in 3rd place, and in the 75 plus championship

Organiser Mick Ives finished 2nd and team mate Graham Clements 3rd. A brilliant day for the Coventry-based team, who now have won 23 British Championships this year, along with three World Masters Championships and one European Championship. No other UK team can boast such performances.

Organiser, 76-year-old Mick Ives, was disapointed not to have won his eighth LVRC National Cross championships in a row, and said: “Possibly the efforts of Organising, and riding a high profile event don’t mix at my age. There is always next year. I was hoping to make it 85 British Cycling Championship wins. Guess I will have to wait a bit longer?”

Phil Roach finished 3rd in the Gloucester City Cyclo Cross on Sunday , and Lindsey Nell (Nuneaton) finished 3rd Lady Veteran and 5th Overall in the Notts and Derby event at Bakewell, Derbyshire.