MATLOCK Cycling Club members competed in the second round of the Notts and Derby Cyclo Cross League, held on Saturday at Southglade Park near Nottingham.
Ashfield RC were the promoting club, and a tough and technical course had been laid on for the hundreds of riders who took part.
Heavy rain prior to the event meant the course was wet-under-tyre meaning that as the races went on, the ground cut up and became quite muddy considering the early time of the year.
The under nines race was first to start with 21 riders taking part. Derby Mercury’s Matthew Luscombe proved too strong for the field as he won the race having lead from the start.
Matlock Cycling Club’s Libby Smith recorded a superb second and was just 13 seconds down on Luscombe. Smith was involved in a sprint finish for the line with 4-Life Tri member Lucas Wolf, and was comfortably the fastest girl in the race.
Other Matlock riders in the under nines category also had some great placings with Louis Swindell finishing in seventh place, and Elizabeth Webster finishing in eighth and second girl, with Anica Taylor finishing just inside the top ten.
The under 12s race was a hotly contested affair, right from the start, with the leaders changing lap by lap.
James Swadling of Nottingham Clarion was the eventual winner after outsprinting 4-Life Tri rider Tom Dussek.
Third and fourth place went to Matlock riders John Webster and Tim Elsmore-Martin, who were 16 and 31 seconds down on the winner respectively.
Reuben Orr from Matlock Cycling Club also had a good race but just missed out on a top 10 place, finishing 1minute and 26 seconds down on the winner to come 11th.
Matlock’s Ellie Smith, like her younger sister in the Under 9’s, made light work of the course as she came home the comfortable winner in the girls Under 12’s, after powering away from Nottingham Clarion’s Poppy Wildman.
The Youth race took its familiar pattern as James Shaw of Heanor Clarion once again edged out Matlock CC’s Arthur Green.
Green had managed to stay in contention with Shaw, but the Clarion rider proved too strong and opened up a gap that Green could not bridge. Shaw’s winning margin was 43 seconds, with Tom Weeds of Derby Mercury finishing just a further eight seconds back from Green to make up the final podium place.
Predictably, Matlock’s Sarah Lomas won the girls Under 16’s race.
Her win was never in doubt as she sped away with great power and bike handling skills from the rest of the field to record a second successive win of the year.
One hundred and fifty two riders took to the start line for the seniors race in the afternoon.
It proved to be one of the closest races in recent times and was a real nail biter right until the finish.
The race started with the usual suspects breaking clear of the main bunch.
The riders consisted of Matlock Cycling Club’s Lee Shunburne, Charge Bikes Chris Metcalfe, Buzz Cycles Rob Parkin and Adam Bigg, Empella rider and serial league winner Ben Eedy, and Boardman Elite’s David Fletcher.
The six riders stayed together lap after lap, despite many attacks from all of the riders who were trying to make a bid for glory.
After 45 minutes of racing, Rob Parkin was the first to crack as he dropped off the back.
The bell was sounded and the five remaining riders were still all bunched together.
Going in to the final corner, David Fletcher of Boardman Elite put in a huge dig to open up the smallest of gaps, which he managed to hold on to until the line.
The bunch sprint began behind him for second place, with all four riders finishing on exactly the same time – remarkably at just two seconds back from Fletcher.
Adam Bigg of Buzz Cycles just got his wheel over the line in front of Empella’s Ben Eedy. Chris Metcalfe finished in fourth, with Lee Shunburne finishing in fifth.
Rob Parkin came over the line in sixth at just 18 seconds down.
It was the closest finish to a race that the crowd had seen for years and shows that this year is going to be one hotly-contested affair for that prized top spot.