New Norfolk summer CX series — New women’s race series for South England — Tribute to Billie — Last week’s results — Transfers and Team News — Interesting Links — Photos of the Week — more to come…
East Anglia looks set to gain a new summer cyclocross series in 2015, thanks to the efforts of NorfolkCross – and the team behind it are especially keen to encourage female riders and fans, further strengthening the sport in the region.
Len Fletcher, the driving force behind the series, explained his plans to Neutral Service: “The idea is really very similar to the 5×3 mountain bike series that Sara Flatt runs in Norfolk, in that the intention is to run an introductory league giving new riders experience and hopefully the motivation and confidence to enter the regional league, but also to give existing riders something to do with their ‘cross bikes during the summer – as one rider put it, he spent a small fortune on ‘cross bikes but only gets to play with them a few times over the winter!” he told us.
The plan is still in its very early stages, but developments so far have been positive. The main issue at present is finding sites that are able to host races.
“In terms of how far I’ve got it’s really still in what is probably best described as the initial phase,” Len explained. “I’m talking to several venues, and also trying to find more potential ones. Some have already hosted regional events and some are completely new to it. At the moment it’s a bit of a waiting game with the venues, so far one is confirmed verbally but we need to sort out dates, a couple of others have to speak to management committees/trustees before they can give permission, and others it’s a case of badgering them until I get an answer either way.”
“I’m also developing a marketing strategy with some help from Richard Crook at Active Fakenham in order to promote the races both to potential racers but also spectators, and with a particular focus on young riders and female riders, and to promote cyclocross to the general public,” he added.
Cyclocross, and women’s cycling in general, is undoubtedly a growth industry in Britain, with sales of ‘cross bikes increasing all the time – only a few years ago it was rare to see one, but they’ve become relatively common. Many of them are being bought by female riders, not least of all due to the success of British riders such as Helen Wyman, Adela Carter, Amira Mellor and more. Len was taken by surprise at the level of support he’s already received.
“Last week I finally went public with the idea on Facebook, really with the intention of seeing if there was the support for such a league. In all honesty I didn’t expect the reaction to be even a fraction of what it has been and what was originally a ‘wouldn’t it be good if…’ idea has gone a little mad to say the least – fortunately I currently have the time to devote to it so it’s not a problem! As I say at the moment it’s mainly planning and raising awareness, I admit that my sense of timing could perhaps be better, what with Christmas only a week or so away, but I really wasn’t expecting the amazing reaction the idea has received.”
New women’s race series for the South of England
Grant Bayton, of British Cycling, has announced a new women’s racing series for the South of England – a region which currently has no women’s races. This is great news as it provides even more indication that there’s a real appetite for more women’s races, and people who are willing to put in the hard work to make sure it happens.
Neutral Service has contacted Grant for more information, which will be added here when we get it.
Tribute to Billie
You probably know who Tommy Godwin was, and what he did (if you don’t – in 1939, Tommy set a record for annual milage on a bike which still stands).
You probably don’t know who Billie Fleming was. In 1937, she set a record for the most miles in a year by a female cyclist. Her record still stands, too.
The people behind the Billie Fleming Tribute Ride want to make sure that Billie, who died in May this year, becomes as well-known as she deserves to be, and by doing so they hope to encourage more women to start cycling. They plan to do this by replicating her achievement, riding every day in 2015 to reach her total of 47,642.5km, and they’d like as many cyclists as possible to join them – men are welcome too, provided they’re riding with one or more women.
Last week’s results
Odd Down Winter Series Round 1
Competitive cyclists don’t hibernate in winter, and there are a number of winter racing series taking place to let them maintain skills and keep us fans entertained. The first round of the Odd Down Series took place at Bath on the 13th of December, with five races in total including one for female riders in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th categories.
1 Kate Baker (High Wycombe CC)
2 Phoebe Speck (Ride 24/7)
3 Joanne Jago (Performance Cycles)
4 Elle Twentyman (High Wycombe CC)
5 Corrinne Clark
6 Victoria Ratcliffe
7 Julia Hesselberg (Performance Cycles)
8 Rebecca Stubbs
9 Gemma Stuart (Performance Cycles)
10 Kate Comber
Imperial Winter Series Round 2
Round 2 of the Imperial Winter Series took place on the same date at Hillingdon and had a good female turn-out. Click here for more.
1 Emma Flattery (Kingston Wheelers)
2 Alice Lethbridge (GB Cycles.co.uk)
3 Heather Rankin (Dulwich Paragon)
4 Gabriella Leveridge
5 Claire Richardson (Zappi’s)
6 Catherine Coley (Ludlow CC)
7 Sophia Chastell (Welwyn Wheelers)
8 Alexandra Hamilton (Kingston Wheelers)
9 Kathryn Morris (Dulwich Paragon)
10 Georgina Pymer (Performancecoaching.me)
BC National CX Trophy Round 5
T-Mo Racing’s Evie Richards proved she can race with the best at Bradford, managing to keep some of the top riders in the country at bay on a difficult parcours made even more challenging by strong wind and heavy rain: the race, which was watched by 1500 fans, featured names such as Amira Mellor, Merce Pacios Pujadó, Ffion James and Adela Carter, all of whom competed at the World Cup round in Milton Keynes last month. Mellor proved Richards’ strongest rival and made her work hard for it, but a final push on the tarmac section to the finish line clinched the victory.
1 Evie Richards (T-Mo Racing) 42’54”
2 Amira Mellor (Paul Milnes-Bradford Olympic) 42’59”
3 Merce Pacios Pujadó (Beeline) 43’45”
4 Ffion James (Abergavenny RC) 43’46”
5 Adela Carter (Hope) 44:41:000 55
6 Diane Lee (Team Mulebar Girl – Sigma Sport) 45’18”
7 Sarah Murray (www.cxmagazine.com) 46’01”
8 Isla Rowntree (Islabikes) 46’04”
9 Tracy Moseley (T-Mo Racing) 47’35”
10 Henrietta Colborne (Beacon Wheelers) 48’18”
Full results (Senior/Junior, Veterans, U14/16)
Transfers and Team News
VCUK PH-Mas have launched a shiny new website for 2015 and, being the sort of team that they are, their women’s squad gets equal billing – you won’t spend ages searching for a link only to be rewarded with basic information here, because as far as team manager Neil Hendry is concerned his female riders are every bit as important as the men on the team. Having more than doubled in size from 8 to 17 riders and with a new sponsor onboard, PH-Mas are definitely one of the outfits to watch in 2015: find them here.
TeamWatt Cycle is a newly-launched team from the North-East of England that intends to operate as a 100% female environment – female riders and female staff (with the exception of team owner Tony Manilla, whom you may recognise as the manager of the Manilla/Planet X Power Race men’s team). Find out more here.
Velosure Starley-Primal have revealed their full 2015 line-up. The women’s team will be led by Tanya Griffiths, who won the Tickhill GP in spectacular style this year; having lost Eileen Roe (to Wiggle-Honda) and Katie Curtis (to Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours International), they’ve signed up Pia de Quint, Laura Cheesman, Gaby Leveridge, Josephine Gilbert, Sian Bottely and Emily Attfield.
Les Filles have completed their 2015 roster too, having just signed Laura Greenhalgh.
Finally, it looks like Speg Project 51 have signed first-year Junior Amy Smith, previously with VC Jubilee – Amy was racing in Speg kit at the Velopark Youth Track League last week.