Bike stars on song in national Cyclo-Cross

The Westmorland Gazette: Lewis Craven in action at the National CycloCross Championship in Bradford. Picture by Andy Jones Lewis Craven in action at the National CycloCross Championship in Bradford. Picture by Andy Jones

WHEELBASE duo Lewis Craven and Jack Humphreys and Staveley’s Rob Jebb were in action at Sunday’s National CycloCross Championships on the classic Peel Park course in Bradford.

Craven finished seventh in the senior mens event two minutes and 21 seconds behind winner Ian Field of Hargroves Cycles/Specialized/Trant, who won in 1:04.09, with Jebb just under three minutes behind Craven for his Team Hope Factory Racing team.

Craven said the course was technically challenging and greasy due to the morning frost but flowed well, and he got off to a good start by fighting his way up to third after the second corner.

He avoided a high-speed crash with Field and Ian Bibby as their bars locked together at top speed approaching a major climb.

Field pulled 20 seconds clear of the field on the second lap but a problem with Craven’s back wheel lost him 30 seconds.

After over-cooking a corner Craven lost more time and finished seventh “Seventh was respectable in the end but I was hoping for a little more,” said Craven.

Meanwhile in the Under 23 race Humphreys came home 10th, three minutes and 19 seconds behind winner Grant Ferguson of Superior-Brentjens MTB Racing Team, who emerged victorious in 46.30.

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The pace was rapid with very slippy corners and muddy ruts, with rock-hard frost and soft mud causing hazardous conditions for the riders.

Starting from the second row, the race began at lightning speed and Humphreys held his own despite a rider causing a crash - the first of several in the race.

After battling with three other riders, Humphreys found that this shorter format of the race didn’t suit his style and after a slip on an off-camber section, Humphreys fought his way into the top 10.

He said that while it wasn’t his best placing of the season, he was happy with the result considering the conditions and the fast pace set.

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