The Team had the honour of hosting what was perhaps the first ever Inter Services Cyclocross Race held at Chetwynd Baracks Nottingham. The event run alongside the Army Championships saw riders from all three services take on a relatively dry but demanding 2km course.
Gridding was by lottery with riders of all abilities and gender mixing it up with each other.
There were just two categories to compete for, the men’s and women’s races.
The start drag was on a grassy, gloopy energy sapping climb and straight away the 40 riders pushed hard to get that all important start and to be first into a tricky section in the woods where a clear run at it was important.
In the men’s race, Sgt James Bevan (Army) had an impressive first lap, quickly establishing a 30 second gap. Cpl Daniel Watts (RAF) also pushed hard on this opening lap settling into 2nd place. A group behind formed with WO1 Jason Marriott (Army), Capt Stu Jackson (Army), Cpl Top Rai (Army) and Rfn Sam Chadwick (Army) chasing the front runners. Going into the second lap, Bevan was holding the pace up front with Watts 40 secs behind. Marriott had pushed up to 3rd with the pack hot on his heels. Marriott continued to chase and gradually caught Watts on the third lap. Attacks and counters by each rider came to nothing until on lap 4 Marriott managed to obtain a gap on Watts to pull clear into 2nd. Watts was still pushing every lap to close down but Marriott was having his own battle to reign in Bevan who was still holding the pace at the front. There were some surges by the chasers but Bevan was consistent and eventually crossed the line as the winner, with Marriott 30 seconds back and Watts a further 30 secs back.
A single race start using the grid lottery saw the ladies racing alongside the men. There were some extremely strong rides by the ladies, impressive stuff. Quickly stamping her authority on the race, Fl Lt Lucy Nell (RAF) pushed through the traffic to open up a gap on the remainder. In the melee behind Maj Natalie Taylor (Army), 2Lt Claire Nott and WO1 Chanel Mason (Army) were chasing the leader, battling for their place on the podium. Nell gradually stretched her lead to over 2 minutes going into the final lap. Taylor managed to break from the pack and settled into 2nd place with a comfortable buffer of 2 minutes. This left the 3rd spot on the podium up for grabs. Mason and Nell were lapping in similar times with only seconds between them. A great bit of racing ensued where, eventually, Mason would cross the line first by just 7 seconds to take the last place on the podium with 3rd place.
As with every cross race there are many battles being fought and this was no different with riders positions changing constantly throughout the race. It was a hugely enjoyable event, made so by the way in which the riders threw themselves into the racing, well done to all.
1st – Sgt James Bevan (Army)
2nd – WO1 Jason Marriott (Army) @32secs
3rd – Cpl Daniel Watts (RAF) @1min 4 secs
1st – Fl Lt Lucy Nell (RAF)
2nd – Maj Natalie Taylor (Army) @1min 38 secs
3rd – WO1 Chanel Mason (Army) @2min 25 secs
Many thanks to those that gave their time up to help us on the day – Ian Bradley, Simon Hale and Andrew White.
Also to Matt Payne of Full Speed Events for his excellent live commentary and presentation of the prizes.
Also great to have riders from the and Royal Navy and Royal Marines Cycling Association and RAF Cycling Association taking part in the event, the camaraderie and racing was excellent.
This trial event was a success, we look forward and start the planning to hopefully hold the first Inter Services CX Champs in the 2020/21 Season.
Many thanks to Mick Bown for the photos.