Mark Wyer writes...
The rain was lashing down at Leicester when we arrived at the Beaumont Leys Leisure Centre. The course looked excellent but the HQ was a broom cupboard on the side of a pavilion.
Our youth team, managed by Nathan Miller, were first to tackle the parkland course which was by now slippery although not that muddy. Hugo Robinson was well away in second place. Not far behind, Josh Hannan was well up in the top 10 when disaster struck. He overdid it over a BMX jump and went over the bars cracking open his helmet and bashing his face up. It was no consolation to Josh that for the remaining races they took that section of the course out. Hugo continued to finish a close second place. The team finished in 7th overall with Alan Trolove 30th and Alex Anderson 40th. A young B team finished 17th overall with Lewis Parker 52nd, Imogen Buick 54th, Sean Dunlea 60th and Archie Wishart 64th.
Our strong Women’s team was affected by withdrawals due to illness and so only 3 riders took to the start line. Anna Buick soon got stuck into battling some of the best women riders in the country and finished an excellent 4th. Rachel Fenton riding her ‘cross race of the season came off on the first lap but recovered to finish 11th. Laura Hindle riding her first race at this level finished an excellent 15th and the team gained the overall bronze medal. This is the third time in three years our women have won a medal at the Inter-Areas. Much of this is down to the hard work of Team Manager Shaun Aldous.
We entered two veteran teams managed by Stuart Chatting who performed well. Stuart himself had a nightmare race with a number of crashes and he withdrew after breaking a stem. The A team finished an excellent 5th place overall with Clive Harrison the star performer. The teams’ positions were:
Finally the seniors took to the course at 2pm. Vets, youth riders and partners of the seniors piled into the rather small pits to help out including loaning bikes. The seniors matched last years 8th place overall but against a larger and stronger field this was a much better result than last year. Andrew Nichols continued his recent good form with 10th overall against most of the best riders in the country. Brother David was struggling from the effects of a virus and pulled out. Shaun Aldous started steadily but passed riders all race to finish 20th. Martin Carter is another who has improved a great deal this season and came in 31st representing the region for the first time. Junior Matt Cook was the 4th counter in 38th. In contrast Matt has ridden for Eastern teams over the last 5 years, picking up 2 bronze medals along the way. Nathan Miller is still not on top form after competing in the Three Peaks and came in 45th out of the 70 finishers.
Update 9 November 2009: Archie Wishart's report...
When I was first told that I was in the team I was surprised but happy that I had got into the team. Before the race I felt excited but a bit anxious because I was racing against people who were a lot older than me. On the line I was really worried about the race and if I’d get a puncture or not. I felt that I got an okay start but not the best start in the world. I was hoping to stay with Sean because he could give me a good pace. I found the course okay but I didn’t like the height of the hurdles. They were higher than I’m used to. I found the BMX bit of the course really exciting. I would have preferred it if it was a bit drier because some of the corners, when you went round them, were really slippery. I had a fun race and I was quite pleased at how I did. I liked being part of the team because I got to meet some people who I hadn’t really spoken to before.