Oakhill Megacross mudfest - Bike Magic

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Oakhill Megacross mudfest


Despite the atrocious weather conditions the Scienceinsport.com/Oakhill College Megacross took place on Sunday 27th October in Whalley. The event, which also had a main aim of involving the local community and businesses, attracted a number of big names from within the sport including former National Champion & Commonwealth Games mountain bike rider Barrie Clarke. Promoters Science in Sport was also keen to involve local youngsters and had attended school assemblies in the area to encourage as many youngsters as possible to ‘have a go’, and had organised a special introductory skill session with British Cycling Coaches.

Barrie Clarke

Because of the support from local businesses and excellent co-operation of the police, the riders enjoyed a town centre start in Whalley. The neutralized section of about 500 metres was followed by a charge down the main road towards the grounds of Oakhill College and onto the course. A large crowd awaited the arrival of the riders at the college including Nigel Evans, MP for the Ribble Valley, the Lady Mayor for the Ribble Valley Mrs. Joyce Holgate and President of British Cycling Brian Cookson. Peter Middlehurst from Barnsley led the initial charge followed closely by a chasing group of Clarke, his Helly Hansen-Giant team-mate Paul Oldham from Colne, and International cyclo cross rider Stuart Wearmouth from the promoting Scienceinsport.com team.

Keith Murray

After about half a lap of the course these three riders started to pull away from the chasing pack with Clarke being closely followed by Wearmouth and Oldham. Wearmouth held onto second place until one of his tyres rolled off and he had to change his bike, this resulted in him dropping back to third place behind Oldham as Clarke forged clear to make it a one-two for the Helly Hansen Giant team, Wearmouth held on for a comfortable 3rd place. Another former National Champion Chris Young riding for Team Marie Curie made his usual steady start and worked his way through the field to finish fourth ahead of the Three Peaks Cyclo Cross winner Rob Jebb of Team Ron Hill.

Ian Wilkinson

Just behind the leading five riders a real battle developed between Peter Middlehurst and Scienceinsport.com team riders Ian Wilkinson from Burnley, Keith Murray, Kenny Johnson and local junior Ian Bibby from Preston, still only 15 years old yet pushing top seniors all the way. Also in the group was Richard Kipling riding for the Merlin Rock Lobster team who had taken the leaders yellow jersey from Bibby in the previous weeks National Trophy race at Cheltenham. This group was gradually whittled down to three riders, Middlehurst, Bibby and Johnson as they battled all the way to the line to finish 6th, 7th and 8th respectively. This gave Bibby the Anderton Bosonnet Junior prize and an excellent 7th place overall.

Barrie Clarke crosses the line

The women’s race was won by Commonwealth Games mountain bike rider Victoria Wilkinson riding for Scienceinsport.com, Helen Saunders (James Hay RT) took 2nd place and 16 year old Amy Hunt from Horwich took an excellent 3rd place riding for the Helly Hansen Giant Team.
Despite terrible weather conditions there were good turnouts in the Houldsworths Solicitors under 12 race, and the Whalley Warm & Dry Under16 race. The Novice race for riders who have never competed in a cyclo cross event before was won by Colin Wright of the joint promoting club Oakhill Clarion.

Wearmouth, Clarke and Oldham

Overall this was a tremendous and very successful event and it was very pleasing to see a large number of youngsters and first time riders turning out.



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