Zepnat teammate helps Middleton clinch national cyclo-cross title

Winner Peter Middleton (centre) and runner-up Tim Gould on the podium.
Winner Peter Middleton (centre) and runner-up Tim Gould on the podium.

A sterling effort by riders from the Matlock-based Zepnat racing team was the highlight of the final round of the National Trophy Cyclo-Cross Series.

Peter Middleton went into the round, held at Ipswich’s Trinity Park showground, level on points with Welshman Tim Davies in the over-50-year-old veterans’ category.

He knew that victory over Davies would clinch him the title, so he enlisted the help of Zepnat teammate Tim Gould to dominate the race. At every opportunity, Middleton and Gould worked together to share the effort against the high wind and to distance themselves from Davies, so that he had to face the wind without an eider to shield him.

It worked a treat and became clear, with two laps to go, that Davies had too much ground to make up. Middleton lost Gould near the finish and went on to win the race and the series overall.

As Gould came home second and Davies third, further down the field, fellow Zepnat riders, Sean Beswick and Julian Gould, came home 28th and 35th respectively, while Paul Dalton, of Matlock Cycling Club, was 52nd.

Several other riders from the Matlock area took part in the competition across various categories on a course that is based on former sand dunes, close to the tidal river.

There was no mud and also no long climbs. Instead the course was made up of more paved tracks than usual. What climbs there were happened to be tricky and made the course an interesting figure of eight. The riders went under a bridge and even in and out of the showground’s large barn, where seating was provided and refreshments were being served!

In the category for veterans aged 40 to 49, Zepnat rider Jim Bryan finished third, just behind the series leader Nick Craig, who had earlier crashed and lost valuable time. Craig still clinched the overall title, while other local riders included Lee Shunburne, who finished ninth, and Dan Alexander, who was 18th.

In the veteran women’s category, Matlock Cycling Club’s Julie Parker came home a creditable 12th.

There were no Matlock-based boys or juniors competing, but for the U14 girls, Harriet Limb continued to show promise by finishing 11th, while her Matlock Cycling Club teammates, Annabel Parker and Annabel Shunburne, were 14th and 21st respectively.

This Sunday, the National Cyclo-Cross Championships take place at Hetton-le-Hole, near Sunderland on Wearside.

It promises to be tough and interesting because the course is in a reclaimed coal pit. But hopes are high that Matlock riders can bring home medals.