The most local of the available cyclo-cross races, the Welwyn Wheelers event at Stanborough Lakes WGC, was the venue for the BCF Regional Championships this year. The full quartet of North Road cross riders had entered with John McDowall, Tim Brown and Dave Kiely in the Vet45 race. Steve James, after a three week lay-off due to back problems, was back in action in the Vet50 event that used the same course but started a little after the main vets race.
The North Road riders assuming there would be a grid, but were caught at the back of the field as the riders formed up for the start of the race with no grid in operation - a serious disadvantage! The course was set atop and round a ridge line; with plenty of slippery corners and off camber sections, a set of uphill-round-a-bend hurdles, a ramp of a bottom gear climb and a shoulder the bike and run up a steep bank. It was clearly a ‘suffer fest’ of a course, and so it proved.
A good turn out of North Road support was on hand to cheer on their team mates. Many cycling pearls of wisdom were shouted in encouragement, including the all time most helpful piece of advice of ‘pedal faster.‘
Tim battled manfully through the field to finish in 16th place, a lap and 41 seconds down on the winner; a rider in the Vet40 catogry, Greg Simcock of Team Corely Cycles. That made Tim the seventh placed Vet45 on the day.
John was not at his best, but did indulge in an early lap bunny hop and some tail out cornering as he teated out the limits of some newly purchased rubber. A slightly disappointing finish of 30th place, a lap and 1.52 down on the winner, and 15th in the Vet45.
Dave had a virtually trouble free race, apart from almost garroting himself on some race tape due to some confused cornering. He achieved 33rd place, a lap and 3.28 down on the winner, and 17th placed Vet45.
A total of 37 riders finished the Vet40/45 event.
Steve, on his bad back comeback race and at best 80-85 percent fitness, was cut from the main North Road herd and was part of the Vet50 race. He came 17th out of 21 finishers, a lap and 3.56 down on the winner - Mick Bell of the London Fire Brigade.
Thanks are due to club members who came out to cheer on their team mates and to the Welwyn Wheelers for hosting the event.
Full results can be found here,