The Preamble! Solent Pirates hosted the first race of the 2023/2024 Wessex season, using one of the best venues on the calendar, Clanfield. Bringing a mix of fast corners, and a few technical features, the course was the perfect mix for the opening race of the season.
However, the weather was not stereotypical cyclocross weather, at 9:30AM, it was already 19C, and it was only getting hotter as the racing went on. By the time the seniors took to the course, the summer weather was in full swing, reaching upwards of 25C. I’m sure many are looking forward to the colder and wetter race days…
In the under 8’s race, Martha Kiddel, representing Poole Wheelers, came away with the win in the female category, followed by Cordelia Dampey, also from Poole Wheelers, and in third place, Florence Boustred, representing Sotonia CC. In the Male Category, Adam Bishop got the better of Harry Wagstaff, Sprockets CC, in a thrilling sprint finish for 1st place. Thomas Coomber of Poole Wheelers came in for 3rdplace.
As the weather got hotter, the racing got longer, and in the female under 10 category, Daisy Duffield, Cmwcarn Paragon CC, had a very strong race to finish nearly a minute up on her rivals. Ella Lamb, Bournemouth BMX Club, was 2nd, followed by Nancy Wagstaff, Sprockets CC. In the Male category, Edward Nicholls, Hillingdon Slipstreamers, secured the win, followed closely by Freddie Trosh, Sotonia CC, and in 3rd place, Fletcher Pierce, Sprockets CC.
At 9:50 it was time for the U12 male and female to start. In the female category Isabelle Mar-Molinero, Solent Pirates, took the win with a very impressive ride, lapping the whole field. Matilda Wilks, Sotonia CC, came second, and Florence Cooper of Palmer Park was Third. In the Male race, Jacob Wadlow, Solent Pirates, took the win with a storming ride, followed by Riley Tonner, Palmer Park. Riley had this to say after the race:
‘My first under 12 race after 7 years in the under 10. It was good to watch the under 8 and 10 have their own race. It was a good course and lots of fun. I enjoyed the steps and the descent down to the S bends, because it was fast and the steps were good to ride, if you could, which I found was faster than running. It’s nice to have technical features in the kids race.’
Luca Meir, also from Palmer Park, rolled in third, after an impressive ride.
The under 16 category is guaranteed to bring exciting racing, and it sure did at Clanfield. In the female category, Zoe Roche, Ribble Verge, rode impressively to take the win, over 2 minutes up on 2nd place, which was taken by Isla Pattinson of Solent Pirates. Peggy Knox of Vicious Velo rolled in to fill the podium places.
The open category went off extremely quickly as predicted, with Cypher Tindell of Palmer Park leading from the start into the first lap, with a lead of only a few seconds, the hopes of a win were gone after lap 2. Jack Morgan of Solent Pirateseventually took the win, ahead of Sam Genazzini also representing Solent Pirates, and Jacob Mauger of Jersey Youth Cyling filled the podium, coming 3rd.
Starting a minute behind the u16 category was the u14 category. In the female category, Jess Duffield of Cwmcarn Paragon Cycling Club rode a very impressive race, lapping the entire field to take the win. In second place was Lauren Fox of Mid Devon CC, and in third Eva Mar-Molinero.
In the open category, Daniel Elliot of Welwyn Wheelers, took the win with a strong ride, Thomas Wilks of Sotonia was only 7 seconds down, and rolled in to take second place. In thirdplace was Matthew Holmes of Mid Devon CC.
The vet 40-49 and juniors were off next, in 25-degree heat, one of the most competitive categories was in for a tough race. In the Junior Open, first year junior, Miles Horner of Ignite, rode a very strong race, to take the win, followed by Oscar Martin, who had an unlucky race, with dropped chains. Tommy Stroud of Ignite followed closely to take third. In the vet category, Paul Lloyd, Banjo Cycles, rode a very skilled and strong race as usual to take the win, finishing over a minute up on his rivals. Andrew Taylor of C and N cycles came in 2nd, and Andrew Gardiner of Sotonia rolled in 3rd.
The Womens race provided a great spectacle in such heat. In the junior race, Charlotte Smith, Ignite, took the win, in front of Eloise Foster, Avid Sport, and in third was Rebecca Gascoyne, Pedalon. In the senior female race, Phoebe Roche of WXC World Racing rode strongly to take the win, 3 minutes ahead. Sarah Toms of RAFCA came in second, and Carly Ibbitson, Fareham Wheelers was third. In the vet 40-49, Rowena Duffield, Cwmcarn Paragon CC, took the first place with an impressive ride, followed by Tracy Bremner, Pedalon, and Gemma Wilks, Sotonia, who rolled in for third. In vet 50-59, Helen Pattinson of Montezuma’s RT stormed to victory, lapping the entire field on the way. Michelle Williams of West Drayton was second, and Brenda Hoult of VC Venta was third. In the 60+, Julie Hughes, Pedalon, took the victory ahead of Catherine Pascoe of New Forest CC.
At 1:45 it was the vet 50-59 and 60+’s turn to take the course. Ruts were forming more, but the ground was baking in the heat. In the 50-59 Mike Simpson of Beeline RT, got the better of Keith Sheridan to take the win, and Chris Ames of Newport Phoenix rolled in to take third place. In the 60+, Kev Holloway, GS Vecchi, rode a strong race to secure victory, ahead of Dave McMullen of Cotswold Velidrjen. John Alderman, also representing GS Vecchi, got the better of Steve Jones to take third.
In the Senior open, the lap times were some of the quickest of the day, Tom Couzens of Ribble Collective was on fine form to take the victory, finishing 4 minutes ahead of his competition. David Bone of RC Ravenna rolled in for second, and Oscar Hoult, VC Venta, rode a very impressive ride to secure 3rd.
Overall, a very impressive and competitive day of racing. Many thanks to Solent Pirates and the course builders for putting so much time into making a great course for us all to ride and putting on a very well organized event. See you all next week in Fareham for another hot race in the sun!
Photos: Pitchside Paul