End of season Cyclocross report for 2023-24

Stephen BrookCyclo Cross, News

This end of season round-up is brought to you by Peter Golding, WSW CX stalwart and race organiser

As the season is finally over in the UK it’s time to put together the final report and I’m doing so whilst watching a televised race from Middlekerke in Belgium !
It has been a wonderful season for all of the Wheelers Cyclocross Collective.
The Eastern League had a 13 race schedule, the league committee decided that the overall positions would be decided by taking the riders best 7 results from the season.
When there was a gap in the races in our own league, the dedicated CX team ventured across to race in other leagues, such as the Leicestershire, Central and London. Racing as far afield to the west as Misterton near Lutterworth, and the south into Kent, Milton Keynes Bowl is an exceptional venue and Hogg Hill to the north of London is a unique one. We’ve had dry grass courses, waterlogged ones, ups and downs, off-cambers, tracks through woods, round lakes, up and down bowls, and of course mud, mud, glorious mud, all thoroughly enjoyable and everything that we adore about ‘Cross’.
Of course every race organiser will tell you that theirs is the best course, but I can say with confidence tha, the Wheelers course at West Stow, really is, amplified by just how many racers travelled from far and wide to take part.
A few of us took part in the National Trophy which has 6 races, where your best 5 events count. Those races are as far North as South Shields, Skipton, Bradford, Derby, Gravesend and Torbay and the National Championships this year were held for the first time in Scotland at Falkirk. And there was the long drive to Hamburg for the World Masters.
Back to our league and the end of season standings, firstly I must emphasise that in order to receive an end of season ranking, you must join the Eastern Cross League.
The Ollenbuttel brothers James and Samuel road every round with smiles on their faces and that meant they enjoyed the season, which was reflected in their results, finishing 8th and 13th respectively.
In the Youths Sam Brook had a super consistent season and finished 5th but, if total number of points counted, he would have been 2nd, and he tested himself by entering the National Trophy.
And it was great to see Oliver Ferris racing occasionally.
Harley Gregory also raced well all season long and this showed when he was awarded the Bronze medal and only 10 points behind the Silver.
Megan Free was another rider who demonstrated consistency and tenacity, she finished 4th Senior Woman, but, scored more points across the season than anyone else.
In the Vet 40’s Simon Christie and Stephen Brook were our representatives and they too had a really good season in a very competitive category, they both improved across the races finishing 24th and 30th. Stephen also ventured to a couple of rounds of the National Trophy.
The Vet 50’s were the only Adult category to complete the last race and it was good to watch them finish their season off on a high, in the standings, Karl Hale finished first Wheeler in 38th, and also raced in 2 other leagues, then came Shaun Woodley in 52nd, followed by Matt Denny in 53rd and good result from just 5 completed races. I must mention Ady Grimwood racing in Maglia kit for 79th and Kevin Burton had some super results, finishing fast at the end of season relays, so has to be pleased with 80th from only 2 counting races.
We have more Vet 60’s than any other club and at the front of the race in Paul Watson we had one of the best, he battled all season long with his closest competitors and truly deserved the Bronze Medal, Pete Golding had a good season to finish 5th, Nick Rush, who is one of the fastest starters finished 16th but was the 9th highest total points scorer, Paul Chapman had to finish his season early, but still managed 24th and Will Tate despite only completing 4 races managed to finish 29th. Sadly Tony Read didn’t join the league, my fault, I didn’t tell him he should, so he didn’t figure in the standings, but he’s become an invaluable team member for us all.
As a team Wheelers finished 5th of the 40 registered teams, what a season we had, if you’d like to join the Cross Crew, don’t be afraid, you’ll be very welcome. Watch this space for the next season schedule.
A big thank you to everyone involved with organising events, it’s a big ask, they also wouldn’t happen without a results team, thanks to Teresa Rush and Stephen Brook, who are part of that and to the Commissaires who are there all day every day, Jo Denny is one of those, and finally thanks to Basil Thornton for his montage.