Sunday, 4th January was round 13 of the South West Cyclo-cross series, which was held at the Plymouth City Motopark. The testing track which involved a number of natural obstacles such as mud, table tops and a cork screw ensured that riders endurance and technical skills where tested to the limit. Young riders Louis Garnsworthy and Max Standen battled for pole position straight from the start in the under 8s race. Max managed to hold the lead for a lap, before Louis managed to get past him. The pair had a strong lead over a group of 14 riders and finished over 30 secs ahead of 3rd place rider, Ben Goldsmith (CSSH). Max found the task more challenging when he got stuck behind a group of riders in the corkscrew.
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The under 10s and under 12 race saw a field of 21 riders taking on a longer course with long stretch of mud and grass. Freddie Birchill from Certini made an impressive start managing to create a gap straight from the start, by the end of the second lap he had increased his lead by well over 30 seconds. Sam Medlyn and Leon Dawes both tried to regain ground on Freddie but could not reduce the gap during the 20 minute race. Taw Velo rider Edward Armstrong managed 6th place behind a strong team from the local club Pilgrim Flyers. Ellen Garnsworthy was able to hold on first place for the under 10s girls.
The under 14s and under 16s race also included the novice section for adults which meant around 20 riders took on the longer course, again with more obstacles included. The strong field of riders from Certini, Harry Birchill and Gabriel Cox tried to create a gap from the start, however Max Hinds (bike in motion) and George Armstrong (Taw Velo) kept the pressure on to make sure the race would be contested over distance and time. In the end the Plymouth team was too strong and managed to keep ahead, overall Harry managed 1st, Gabriel 2nd, Max 3rd and George 4th. Becky Cornwell from Taw Velo managed an impressive 1st in the women's novice section.
The main race held over the full course and lasting for an hour had 66 riders representing clubs from around the region. The track now in a poor state from the mornings races meant that thick mud would ensure a tough time for the adults. Graham Garnsworthy took the challenge of competing in the main race after winning several of the novice races. Now racing for an hour instead of 30 mins, meant that he had to work much harder for longer. His efforts were rewarded with a respectable 49th place overall.
The final race of the series will be held at Plymouth Central Park on Sunday, 18th January where Taw Velo will sending a team of riders and hopefully achieving a number of 1st places in the South West series. Full event details are available on the British Cycling and South West Cyclo-cross websites.