Battling through the mud, 270 cyclists show why it’s their favourite race!

It was not all all riding as this picture of a difficult part of the course shows.  Picture: Joolze Dymond, www.joolzedymond.com
It was not all all riding as this picture of a difficult part of the course shows. Picture: Joolze Dymond, www.joolzedymond.com

MORE than 270 cyclocross racers braved the mud, the cold and the New Year’s hangovers for the New Year’s Revolution cyclocross race in Centre Vale Park, Todmorden.

Weeks of rain had meant that a muddy race was inevitable, but it did not seem to have discouraged anyone as racers came from all over the north (and some from as far afield as Ireland) to race this fourth running of the event.

Some were there to blow away the New Year cobwebs, while many were there to ensure their placings in this final Yorkshire Cyclocross League race.

The first race of the day was the under-16 youth race with Billy Harding from Bradford’s Paul Milnes Cycles taking the win.

There did not seem to be much slowing down due to the mud and the racing was fast and fierce.

The next events were the always-popular under-12s and under-10s races.

The riders at the front belied their ages and sped off, while tiny youngsters at the back gamely took on the challenge of the muddy fields and the slippery slopes of the park.

By the time the veteran (over 40) and the women’s race took place, the course was truly worn in and muddy enough to make some sections unrideable.

To cheer things up, Todmorden Community Brass Band had set up and oompahed encouragement at the racers.

A good crowd turned up and were cheering on racers as they rode the various parts of the 1.5km Centre Vale Park course, taking in the famous ‘Todmorden Cobbles’ at the eastern end of the park and several of the paths through the woods before appearing near the skate park for a sloppy lap of the playing fields.

Winner of the vets was Chris Young (Wheelbase), who also took away a first prize last year. The women’s race was won by Zepnat’s Diane Lee with Hebden Bridge rider Jenn Hopkins (Velocake) in second place.

The final event was the senior and junior race, with 18-year old Halifax rider Jack Clarkson (Hope Technology) being not only the winning Junior racer, but comfortably taking the overall title too.

Jack will be off to Belgium at the end of January to represent Great Britain in the under-23 category of the World Championships.

Organiser Chipps Chippendale, from Todmorden’s Singletrack mountain bike magazine said: “I’m so chuffed with all the racers that made it such a great event, along with the support of Calderdale Council, who’ve let us make a mess of their lovely park and muddy up their leisure centre showers. To get this many people turning out to a sports event in the middle of the winter is fantastic! No wonder it’s many riders’ favourite race of the season.”