On Sunday the 6th December was the Northern Area Cyclo-Cross Championship held at Heaton Park in Manchester.
The event is almost as significant as a trophy event, encompassing the regions of the North West, North East and Yorkshire.
The youth race had over seventy entrants in the A/B categories with each category for boys and girls being set off separately.
In the Youth A race, Lewis Hartley and Cory Edmondson represented the Inspire VCUK Racing Team, joined by a number of other talented riders including former national champion and recent trophy round winner Euan Cameron (East Bradford CC), Charlie Craig (Scott Racing), Oliver Draffan (Derwentside CC), and two Pedalsport riders from Yorkshire: Max Rushby and Jenson Young.
After the passing of storm Desmond on Saturday, the ground conditions were expected to be very wet but surprisingly, the course was not too muddy and clearly had good drainage!
The course was undulating, technical, included two sets of hurdles and lots of running.
The whistle blew to set the riders off around 11:30am and the initial pace was red hot. Euan Cameron and Charlie Craig were early pace setters with Cory also getting up there on the first half lap.
Not too long after the start, Cory experienced a few problems with his brakes (sticking) and was hampered thereafter. Having a bike that functions is paramount to a good performance and we understand Cory is going to get to work on eradicating his brake issues for future events.
Meanwhile the race was hotting up at the front with Euan really forcing the pace through the pits with Charlie in close quarters, gapping the Pedal Sport riders and Lewis who lay in 5th.
Lewis was playing a game of patience, probably struggling a little to match the initial power set by the giant Euan at the beginning of the race. Lewis, however, looked smooth and comfortable and as he passed the fast side of the pits he was clearly on mission to catch the leaders.
As the riders came by for the 2nd lap, Lewis was now almost level with Euan, who entered the pits, whilst Lewis passed by and pressed on up the climb and subsequent hurdles. This was one of the critical parts of the race as Euan then lost contact and dropped back to 3rd place whilst Lewis rose up to 2nd.
A lap later and the race was being battled out between Lewis and Charlie. Just before the pits was a technical tree section and Lewis hit this hard and fast which Charlie on his wheel. Charlie’s rear wheel slipped out and off rode Lewis past the pits and up the hill, piling on more pressure.
The final lap became a victory lap for Lewis as the gaps soon became significant with those left behind looking tired and worn down.
This was one of Lewis’s target events for his 2015/16 CX season and he was delighted to take the championship for VCUK.