The sun shone on the Plymouth Life Centre which held the final round of the South West Cyclo-cross series on Sunday, 18th January. This final round witnessed more than 120 riders take on the gruelling course which had been set up by the University of Plymouth Cycling Team. The previous weeks rain provided a very slippy course which was only made harder by hair pin bends, off camber climbs and sticky mud, meaning riders had to pick up their bikes and run or stop to unclog jammed wheels.
Max Standen performed exceptionally well in the U8s, with determination straight from the starter's whistle, he managed to create a lead of more than 30 seconds on the first lap. Max was keen to make sure he kept the pressure on and increased his advantage on each lap, securing first place during the 5 lap race and finishing nearly 2 mins ahead of second place rider Oliver Robins.
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The U10s and U12s started with riders being gridded for the final race, meaning both Edward Armstrong and Ellen Garnsworthy secured a place on the front row. Making a break from the start, Edward charged for the lead into the first corner, before tackling a very tricky downhill decent into a hair pin bend. Sam Medlyn from One and All Cycling and Leon Dawes from Pilgrim flyers took advantage of the situation to ensure the lead positions. Ellen Garnsworthy gave a good fight to secure her lead in the female U10s category. The 6 lap race was eventually won by Sam Medlyn with Edward coming in 3rd place. Ellen secured first place in her fight for the U10s girls title.
The novice race was up next which also included the Youth categories. Becky Cornwell was favorite to win the ladies novice section, however stiff competition from fellow team mates Katie Standen and Caroline Armstrong, meant she would need to go hard straight from the start. Briony Goldsmith from CSSH was able to push her way through the field and challenge Becky for the lead, however Becky was too strong and managed to hold onto first place all the way round. Fellow team mates Katie managed 4th place in her first ever race along with Caroline, in only her second event, securing 5th.
The youth race was fast straight from the start, initial lead was held by Gabriel Cox followed closely by Max Hindes. However at the first road crossing both riders took a wrong turn, allowing Max to gain an advantage on Gabriel. Gabriel and George Armstrong both pushed each other to the limit to try and catch Max, but where unsuccessful in the their efforts and had to settle for 2nd and 3rd places.
The main event had over 90 riders competing in the hour-long race. The course now resembling more of a mud bath rather than a grass field. This now meant carrying the bike and running was a main feature of the race, as riding was almost impossible due to lack of traction from the back wheel. Bike changes and a strong pit crew now made the difference between winning and losing. The first place teams were changing bikes every 2 laps so that brakes and wheels did not get clogged up with the sticky mud. Taw Velo's Darren Armstrong suffered a puncture on the first lap, meaning a bike change was required. Due to the hard efforts of his pit team (Edward and George) allowed him to change back to his original bike once the puncture had been fixed and secured 17th place in the vets category. Graham Garnsworthy managed a respectable 26th in the senior race. The race finally over, after an hour of running and riding through thick mud was won by Seniors Dextor Hurlock, Vets James Bovey, Lucy Allen for the women's and Charlie Mcfadzean for the Juniors.