The 2013-14 Yorkshire Points Series took riders to nine events stretched over almost exactly four months. Early season events were generally dry and, in the case of Temple Newsam and Wakefield in particular, hot and sunny. A late downpour turned Oakbank into a skating rink, though the mud was largely superficial and the first six events were largely clag free.
Round seven at a new venue on the edge of Sheffield was altogether stickier and wetter, but the Beverley course for round 8, another new venue, was amazingly fast and mud-free. Todmorden was predictably heavy going, but along with almost all of the rest of the series, the day was almost free of rain.
And so to the racing itself –
The Senior/Under-23/Junior series all hinged on getting in those seven scoring rides. At the early rounds it was hard to work out who the leading contenders were, with Paul Oldham, David Fletcher and Nick Barnes winning the opening five rounds between them, with occasional visitors like Dieter Droger and Jack Clarkson also getting involved. All of these riders were unlikely to go on to finish the series, given their national commitments.
And so, the real battle began at round six where Jiri Kleckner took his first win at this level. But it was Simon Maudsley, who was third, who gradually emerged as the favourite for the overall title. He backed that ride up with 4th in Sheffield and sixth at Beverley at the end of November. His consistency and smooth riding style brought him seven top seven results, with only his 12th place at Temple Newsam slightly undermining his push for the title.
And, in the end, no-one else was able to quite match Maudsley’s relentless points accumulation. Ben Cooper, who took the under-23 title, was closest, never finishing outside the top ten and finishing strongly with second at Beverley and sixth at Todmorden.
Tom Hooper was third overall and second senior after six top ten rides, his best being 5th at New College. Ben Pygott was second under-23 and fourth overall and although his form fell away in the second half of the season, his outstanding ride into second place at New College was one of the highlights of the season.
Edwyn Oliver-Evans was fifth overall and third under-23, as usual mixing exciting charging rides with some off-days when bad luck seemed to dog him.
David Morris was sixth overall and third senior and his consistent season really got going at Sheffield where he was 10th, which he followed up with a fine fifth at Beverley and 13th at Todmorden.
The Junior series was dominated by Tom Seaman whose distinctive green Nutcracker colours and amazing turn of speed off the start made him one of the riders of the series. Fourth place at Sheffield was a stand-out ride and came at the mid-point of the season when he was really flying – he followed it up with a first senior win at the non-series race at Ilkley and although slowed by illness at Todmorden, he still managed to secure a very well-deserved 9th overall in the series and the prize of top Junior.
Daniel Gilpin was second in the Junior series, just ahead of Connor Palliser: both riders showing steady improvement throughout the season, not to mention impressive stamina as they competed week-in-week-out with total commitment and clear enjoyment.
The Youth races are always some of the closest and most tightly fought, as riders improve almost overnight as they gain experience. And whilst Alfie Moses dominated the series, winning seven times, his battles with Rob Scott were a real feature, with several very close finishes. Both rode very well all season and gave the rest of the field a taste of the standard they would have to attain to achieve success at national level. Ben Turner was a consistent performer as well and took third in the under-16 category and fifth overall.
Euan Cameron was the leading under-14 rider, both on Yorkshire and nationally, and will have enjoyed his overall Youth win at Beverley when Moses and Scott were both away. Cameron emerged a clear winner in that category and third overall in the Youth category as a whole.
Fourth overall and second under-14 was Jenson Young, who improved all season and was second at Beverley. Matt Taylor was the third under-14, his fifth at New College being his best result.
The female Youths saw something of an inversion of logic with the under-14s dominating proceedings. Lucy Horrocks was far and away the best rider in both categories: a stunning 4th in the Youth race at Sheffield underlined her status as the best rider in her category in the country. Lucy Whearty was second youth female, a great achievement for a rider who was still only 11 years old for much of the season. Amy Hinchcliffe rounded out the under-14 top three, with a series of solid rides culminating it two very good results at Sheffield and Beverley.
The under-16 female winner was Wakefield Tris’s Elizabeth Lloyd, ahead of team-mate Grace Feetham, with whom she enjoyed a close rivalry.
The Veteran-40 series was as close and competitive as ever. Three early wins for Ian Taylor were irrelevant as the Jedi rider’s attentions then turned to the national series. That left a terrific three way battle between Chris Young and his Pedalsport team-mates Chris Taylor and Mike Young.
Chris Young took the early advantage with a run of three seconds, two thirds and a win. But a disappointing end to the season – despite his continued excellence in national events – let in Chris Taylor who was exceptionally consistent throughout, recording wins at Wakefield and Sheffield. Mike Young was second or third in all of the last five rounds, but a couple of early season off days and his inability to get the better of Taylor – who beat him six times out of nine – meant that he missed the title by just 6 points. Mike nicked a point off Taylor at the final round, but it was too little too late and Taylor was a worthy winner, with Chris Young 3 points behind in second after failing to finish in Todmorden.
The Vet-50 riders had a new format to get used to this season, their race starting a minute after the V-40 race. This created an interesting race dynamic, with the riders enjoying the luxury of being able to identify their rivals more clearly in the first few minutes of the race, before they plunged headlong into melee of slower V-40 riders, where their passing skills and patience were tested to the full!
Mark Horrocks won the opening round, but with Wayne Nicholson and Pete Wilkin also topping the podium in the next two races it looked set to be a tight battle for the title.
However, Horrocks then reeled off four wins and two second places in the remaining rounds to take the title in some style. The smooth and deceptively quick Nicholson was second, helped by another win in the morass of Todmorden, whilst Wilkin also won again, at Sheffield – a triumphant return to racing for the popular blacksmith who had recently undergone heart surgery and seemed destined not to race again.
Third in the series went to Justin Morgan, who had his best ever season and finished just ahead of Charles Warren and Kevin Holmes. The standard and competitiveness of this category was outstanding throughout.
Brian Perks was the top Vet-60 and was well inside the Vet-50 top ten in almost all of his races. Phil Jones was second, with Ken Wilby third. John Dowell was again a welcome visitor to the series and was the leading over-70 rider.
The women joined the Vet-50 riders in taking the start a minute after the Vet-40 riders. They too appeared to benefit from a more coherent race dynamic in the early laps and with up to 19 riders competing in some races and over 50 riders taking part in at least one race, there were signs that this category is on the verge of an explosion in numbers.
The series itself only began to sort itself out in the latter stages. Early form from Nikola Butler took her into a strong position, after two wins and two seconds, but illness and national commitments distracted her after October. Annie Simpson also took a couple of wins, but again she had commitments elsewhere as winter drew on.
And so it was Marie Jackson and Juliet Horrocks who emerged as the leading contenders. Jackson started well with a win and two seconds, faded a little mid-season, but came back to win at Beverley and finish second at Todmorden.
Horrocks grew in confidence, belying her relative inexperience with two superb wins at New College and Sheffield. However, Jackson always had a small but significant cushion, got the better of most of their head-to-head battles and was able to edge the series by six points in the end.
The under-12, under-10 and under-8 categories were not racing for series points, but that didn’t prevent them proving that they had all the competitive spirit and skill of the older categories. Up to 100 riders competed in these categories at some events and there were some outstanding performances as riders showed marked improvement through the season.
So, overall, it was a bumper season, both in terms of entries and in the depth and quality of the racing. We’ll be looking back at the season again at the Annual Awards Dinner –
Yorkshire Cyclo-Cross Annual Awards Dinner
The Yorkshire Cyclo-Cross Annual Awards dinner is on Saturday 8 Feb 2014. Tickets are now available, full details below.
This time it’s really going to be worth popping the date in the diary as this year’s dinner is going to be a little different to past editions. We’ve asked top cycling commentator Matt Payne to come along and act as host for an evening in which we give you, the YCCA riders, a chance to be centre stage.
Matt will be asking a wide selection of prize winners in the Yorkshire Points Series (Youth categories upwards) to share the mic and talk about their racing during the 2013-14 season. We’ll make our own riders the centre of attention for the evening, which, given Matt’s enthusiasm for and knowledge of ‘Cross, should make for a very entertaining way to end the season.
Matt will also be orchestrating the handing out of the various series prizes and awards on the night. As usual, the evening will end with a disco.
The Dinner tickets are now printed and ready for sale. Mandy Parker will take them to every event from now on so you just need to grab her or call/text her on 07917 860292. Cheques to be made out to YCCA please or cash.
Details for the dinner are:
YORKSHIRE CYCLO-CROSS ASSOCIATION PRIZE PRESENTATION & DINNER DANCE
Date: SATURDAY 8TH FEBRUARY 2014
Venue: The Best Western Guide Post Hotel
Common Road, Low Moor,
Timings: 7.00pm – 12.30am (Dinner 7.30pm)
12 years and under £12
TICKETS AVAILABLE FROM MANDY PARKER 07917 860292
Tickets need to be ordered no later than two weeks before the event for the hotel to be
advised of final numbers.