White-hot Yorkshire riders

Spectacular sight: competitors charge away from the the start line in Sunday's race for women and over 50s on a frosty surface but under a clear sky. The famous landmark of Stoodley Pike is in the background . Picture: Jim Fitton
Spectacular sight: competitors charge away from the the start line in Sunday's race for women and over 50s on a frosty surface but under a clear sky. The famous landmark of Stoodley Pike is in the background . Picture: Jim Fitton

Sunday’s inaugural War of the Roses cyclo-cross event at Centre Vale Park resulted in a runaway win for the white rose contenders.

Yorkshire beat Lancashire by 202 point to 84 in the new-look Todmorden winter two-wheel showpiece.

Some of the sport’s big names were racing in Derby, with the Tod event no longer a winter series points qualifier.

However, almost 200 cyclists contested the six races with the leading riders’ points counting in the battle for the trophy.

There was even an entrant from California - bike industry legend Keith Bontrager, who raced in the over 50 category.

Local success was provided by Toby Kershaw in the under 12 race. He lives across the road from the park and his dad Tim is a reasonably successful racer.

He rides for Pedalsport and the Halifax club had further success through Noah Ellison in the under eights race while Harry Ellison was third and Mathew Warriner 11th in the under 10s contest.

James Clark was sixth behind Toby Kershaw, Graeme Bird was fifth in the seniors/vets 40 race and Oliver Walton sixth and Lucy Whearty 10th in the youth/novices contest. Lucy was first under 14 female.

The main event, the seniors race, was won by Jamie Sharp of Feather Cycles with Ribble Valley’s Alison Rushton the first female in the final race, which was for women and men over 50.

Organiser ‘Chipps’ Chippendale said the War of the Roses had been a success and he was pleased with the number of bikers who had defied the freezing weather.

“It went very well,” he said.

“It was minus three when we started setting up the course at 8.0am but competitors in this sport are used to winter weather. Snow and ice does not put people off.”

While conditions overhead were glorious, almost the entire course was in the shade.

The plus side of that was that the grassy areas stayed firm apart from 100 yards of the course in the sunshine which had ankle deep mud.

Chippendale indicated that the race day was likely to be repeated in 12 months.

“I pull in favours from all over the place to stage the event. I always say ‘never again’ but we will see - I am sure something will happen.”