Inter-Area Championships 4th Nov 2007

This season’s Inter-Area Championships were something of an experiment being held mid season rather than on the traditional end of season date. The experiment certainly worked with large entries in the 4 events. The venue was the picturesque Misterton Hall at Lutterworth in Leicestershire. The course was a mixture of sloping grassy fields, woodland and tarmac paths and generally considered a stiff test.

First event of the day was the Youth Championships. Joint Team Manager Mark Wyer and Carl Thompson had marked down Yorkshire and defending Champions London areas as favourites but had hopes that the Eastern A team could compete for the bronze medal position. With virtually all the country's top youth riders entered it was going to be a tough challenge. The start straight led up a grass slope before a descent and a drag into the first wooded section. From the front two rows of the grid, Eastern A riders Tom Castle and Luke Newby were away and into contention. Unfortunately most of the remainder of the Eastern riders were held up by a large pile up at the top of the first straight. First to disentangle himself was Will Meadows who was soon back in the chase. Matthew Cook took longer to recover and would have to chase through much of the field to get back to a good position. Whilst Castle lost time from a spill, Newby was keeping the leading trio in sight. Although the top 3 pulled away towards the end, he pulled out all the stops to take 4th place his best finish of the season at this level. Castle came in only 10 seconds later to claim 6th place to put the Eastern team in a strong position. Meanwhile Cook had been on the charge accompanied by B Team rider Hugo Robinson who is still an Under 14 rider. Aware of the importance of pulling back as many positions as possible, Cook had fought his way up to 18th place with Robinson just behind in 19th. Meadows had a solid ride and with a fast final lap finished in 25th place.

We then had a nervous wait to see if this was enough for a podium position. It was clear that London and Yorkshire had ridden well and indeed London retained their title, winning for the 6th time in 8 years. When it came, it was great news, Eastern A had taken the bronze medal. This was backed up by a great effort from the B team, finishing 10th team overall and the third best B team.

A Team
Luke Newby 4th
Tom Castle 6th
Matthew Cook 18th
Will Meadows 25th

B Team
Hugo Robinson 19th
Will Adams 40th
Robert Green 43rd
Josh Green 44th

Before the women’s race team manager Shaun Aldous had similar optimism that the team could do well and gain a medal position. However before the start we learnt that the rider TBC for the West Midlands was none other than previous World’s Silver medallist Louise Robinson. This created a very strong West Midlands team who romped away to victory in the event. Eastern rider Jen Ives had a storming start, holding position in the top 6. Not far behind was Rachel Moss. However Rachel Fenton had an early crash leaving her much to do. Susan Wood and reserve rider Andrea Halman had started promisingly further down the field. A storming recovery by Fenton pulled her back to 12th place to back up Ives in 8th and Moss in 10th. Susan Wood came in 18th with Andrea Halman 21st overall. Yorkshire had looked to have beaten the Eastern team but the question was had Eastern done enough to hold off London? We had to wait until after the final race of the day to find out. When the podium was announced we were disappointed to find London were awarded the bronze medal. Team Manager Aldous asked for a recount but by then it was time for everyone to head home. It was only when we all arrived home that the great news filtered through that indeed a mistake had been made and Eastern should have been awarded the bronze just 2 points behind the Yorkshire team.

We had two teams of 4 entered in the Seniors/Juniors event, but with the first 4 of 6 riders to count there was no margin for error. Unfortunately junior David Nichols was suffering from a back problem and had to pull out leaving the A Team without enough finishers to qualify. Best Eastern finisher was Glen Stanford coming in an excellent 20th in a high quality field. Nathan Miller was next best in 30th place with Shaun Aldous making a return from injury a promising 35th on 2 weeks training. The B team finished a respectable 13th place and third best B team.

A Team
Glen Stanford 20th
Nathan Miller 30th
Ian Newby 57th
David Nichols DNF

B Team
Shaun Aldous 35th
Nick Ainsworth 49th
Craig Beech 67th
Ben Spashett 75th

Youth riders line up for their start

The Youth Teams before the start

The Women’s teams line up before the start with Eastern riders nearest the camera

Jen Ives on her way to 6th place overall