Last Saturday the Inspire VCUK Racing Team travelled to the Bebington Oval on the Wirral peninsular for the 6th Round of the North West Cycle Cross Association league of races.
In this race we had Cory Edmondson, Daniel Gibson and Lewis Hartley representing the team with the other half of the team attending the NW Regional School of Racing at the Manchester Velodrome.
This was the first time that this venue has been used for a CX event and whilst the venue is relatively flat, it proved to be a popular and highly rated course.
With the continued spell of very dry weather the ground was hard under foot with a surface of freshly mown grass. There were some technical features near to and beyond the pits and also around the commentary gazebo but in between were long and fast sections.
Around 35 riders took to the start line for the 30 minute youth race with local favourite Craig Rogers representing his nearby club the Birkenhead North End. When the whistle sounded the riders clipped in quick and sped away with Cory getting an early advantage from the rest.
After half a lap a Cory was joined by Lewis and Craig and these three then set about making a race for themselves. On the first lap, as the riders negotiated the hurdles Cory tripped up and in the process lost his chain which took him a while to fix. Meanwhile, Craig and Lewis put the power down and then made it a race for 1st and 2nd places.
Over the following laps, Craig looked the more powerful whilst Lewis was just gliding around the course content to stick close to Craig poised to take any opportunity that came his way. On the penultimate lap, Lewis attacked before the finish area but there was no way Craig would allow him to gain an advantage so the two riders continued to cruise round the course for the final lap.
Meanwhile, Cory was fighting his way back through the field, trying to catch Isaac Peatfield for the 3rd podium position but Isaac was determined to hold on. Daniel was having a good race as well, riding in 6th position and enjoying the crit like conditions!
As Lewis and Craig crossed the hurdles for the final time it was Craig that got the lead and advantage over Lewis, checking his shoulder and preparing for a final onslaught to the line. The commentators were getting excited as well, remarking how strong Craig had looked throughout the race and wondering if Lewis would have the strength to come around him?
As the sprint unfolded Craig turned on his after burners but Lewis reacted with his own turbo charged pistons to hold Craig’s wheel up to the final chicane only a few meters from the flag. Spectacularly, Lewis accelerated around Craig at the very last moment through a narrow gap on the outside of the final corner to cross the line in first place! The crowd went crazy and the commentators were simply lost for words…