Wessex CX League, Round 5, Southampton

It's been a busy few weeks for the team preparing for the club's biggest event of the year - round 5 of the Wessex Cyclocross League at Southampton Sports Centre. Our volunteers were amazing as always... days spent setting up the course, event village, marshalling and taking it all down at the end, took a team of 30 fantastic people. Well worth it to see over 450 riders (including 54 from Sotonia) race of all ages!

We put on our trademark flowing but technical course, testing rider skill and power and cold conditions arrived for Sunday, but the sun resulted in the ground baking, so the course was fast – although we're sure many riders were caught out by the notorious off-camber bank.

Race highlights saw brilliant wins for Izzy Hall (U16 girls), Tom Wilks ((14 boys) and Andy Gardiner (v40 open). There were also top fives for Annie Forsyth, Flo Boustred (u8 girls),  Freddie Trosh and James Sutton (U10 boys), Matilda Wilks and Eve Carline (u12 girls), Reuben Harrington (u14 boys), Skye Martingale (u16 girls), Niclas Olley, Tom Allen and Monty Flavell (u16 boys) and George Connell (Junior open).


Photos: Pitchside Paul

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Podium finish for Sotonia

The first round of 6 races in the Zwift Racing League came to an end this week. Sotonia Bees (men’s category B team) capped a superb series, coming 2nd in the Team Time Trial around Greatest London Flat. This cemented their third place on the podium.

Congratulations to all the squad who contributed this round: Adrian Robinson Chris Moody, Greg Sanger James Peckham Jerome Bakker, Joffrey Carlier, Mike Marsh Nick Jennings, Niels Langhout, Rob Gasson, Russell Speight, Sam Cooper

Sotonia Cranks (women’s C category) finished their season in 10th place overall. They finished strong in the team time trial, pulling out a huge 4 minute gap on their chasing team, and closing well onto the team that set off ahead of them.

SotoniAs (men’s A team) had just 3 starters in the final race, but rode bravely to the line. They finished 13th in their league, and would be more than keen to have new riders join them.

There’s now a short break before the next 6 week round starts on November 14th. More than enough time for you to join our team of Tuesday night riders. Just let us know. We really need more men’s category A and men’s category B riders, please. Wherever you fit in those categories, there’s a place for you.

Sotonia win again in the Zwift Racing League

Sotonia recorded their third win of the round this week. Sotonia Bees (men's category B team) topped the table on the bumpy Temples and Towers route.

Strong riding from James Peckham, Russell Speight, Chris Moody, Rob Gasson, Adrian Robinson and Greg Sanger gave them their second win of the season (SotoniAs having claimed the other first place this season), and puts Bees in third place overall in their league. With the team time trial to come next week, Bees are confident that they'll cement their place on the podium.

SotoniAs (men's category A team) and Cranks (women's category C team) both found this week's course tougher. There were only 3 finishers in each of their teams (although much to celebrate in Cranks, where Suzy Howick was very pleased that her chain didn't fall off this week), so they're very keen to recruit more riders. We also want to split our Bees into two teams. So if you want to join a winning team, create a new one, or just have lots of Type II fun in your garage on the dark winter nights, let us know. There's a brief pause in the fun until the next round starts on November 14th. Just let us know below, or contact an existing rider, if you fancy joining in.

September Segment Of The Month results

Perhaps because of all the shenanigans with the segment changes, only 24 Sotonians ventured up Woodgreen Hill this month.

Izzy Hall continued her run at the top of the U16 female competition, beating Emma Harrison into second place. Emma, though, has the lead in the overall competition, and, if she passes through this month’s segment, will claim the overall win. Izzy was also fastest in the women’s open competition, with Sophie Sellars and Jennifer Dawson coming in 2nd equal. It’s tight between those two at the top of the overall competition: just two points separate them, so it’s all to ride for next month.

George Connell stormed his way to the top of the U16 men’s competition, beating Niclas Olley into second. George holds first place in the overall, but will be worried by Niclas’ joker in the final month.

Andy Gardiner did what Andy does, and led the overall men’s times (snagging the second fastest all-time on the segment). George Connell came in second, beating Joey Wynne into third. Andy has the overall competition sewn up now, leading Paul Macken and George Connell. But Jeremy Hubbard, yet to play his joker, will have his eye on second spot.

Full results can be viewed here.

So, October is the final month of the 2023 competition, and takes us back to the Forest, this time to the Hamptworth Road segment: ra3. This was postponed from September, and don’t worry: I went out today to check the gravel "top-dressing", and its now safe. Good luck. While it’s the last month for the competition, we’re still open to newcomers. Find out how to join here.

Wessex CX League, round 4, Reading

The Bill Higson Memorial Race, also round 4 of the Wessex Season was hosted at a staple of the Wessex calendar, Prospect Park. The traditional CX conditions were on show, making an already tough course, very technical and physically demanding. The slippery mud through tight corners, and steep banks made for exciting racing throughout the day.

The U10 Boys showcased impressive technique and speed. The competition was fierce, with Freddie Trosh in second place. In the Under 12 girls race, Matilda Wilks and Eve Carline 4th and 5th. The Under 14s displayed incredible endurance and skill, Tom Wilks crossing the finish line second.

In the Under 16s Open, a very close and competitive race was on the cards, with Tom Allen and Niclas Olley blasting the race apart on lap 1. In the final whittling down of the front group Tom was in the running for the win, only a bizarre mechanical with a crank arm coming loose denying him a chance. Tom and Niclas eventually coming 3rd and 4th. In the girls race, Izzy Hall finished a strong second.

The Junior Open category delivered an electrifying race, George Connell impressing again with 7th. In the Vet 40-49 category, the competition was fierce among the men, with Sotonia riders making up 5 of the top 10 places. Andrew Gardiner in second, Tom Budden 6th, followed by Phil Wilks, Pete Boustred and Phil Banks. In the female v40 race, Gemma Wilks scored a brilliant second place. Emma Harrison finishing 5th in the junior women's race.

The Vet 50-59 riders put on a spectacular display of talent and determination. Jason Harrison top club finisher in a quality field of nearly 90 riders, in 19th. In the senior men, Lewis Revill was Mr Consistent with another fine 13th place.

Overall, very impressive racing by all, on a classic course, thank you to all involved. See you all at round 5 in Southampton hosted by Sotonia next Weekend!


Photos: Pitchside Paul

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Wessex CX League, round 3, Foxhill

Andy Smith Events hosted round 3 of the 23/24 Wessex season. A powerful, yet technically challenging course, provided fast and physical racing. Technical features, such as Steps and Off Camber gave the riders tricky conditions to race in, and many riders fell victim to the slippery grass.

The under 10s saw Freddie Trosh ride a terrific race, leading from the off and only just being beaten in the sprint with James Sutton rouding out the top five. In the under 12 female race, Matilda Wilks was third, Eve Carline 5th.

Moving into the first race on the full course, the under16 category was always going to be a thriller. A punchy, slippery course provided difficult racing, and Niclas Olley and Monty Flavell led the charge for Sotonia, a dropped chain on the last lap denying Monty a top five with Niclas coming 5th.

In the under 14 Open race, Thomas Wilks was again an impressive second place, Marit Davidse fifth place in the girls race.

The course was now representing a proper CX day out, and it was the vet 40-49, and juniors turn to take on the brutal course. Carnage from the start, due to the tight corners and fast straights, meant the bunch was strung out from the word go. Andy Gardiner placing 4th v40 and George Connell giving the v40s plenty to think about, slugging it out with team mates Pete Boustred, Phil Wilks and Tom Budden, to finish 7th junior.

In the 40-49 female, ,there was a third place for Gemma Wilks.

The final race of the day, the Senior Open Category. We got some of the most exciting racing of the day, with Lewis Revell finishing things off in 13th.

A massive thanks to Andy Smith Events, for providing us with a mega course, and everyone involved in putting the event on! See you all next weekend, in Prospect Park, Reading, for round 4.


Thanks for the photos: @pitchsidephoto

Wessex CX League, round 2, Romsey

A fab day of cyclocross racing this weekend for Fareham Wheelers round 2 of the Southdowns Social Wessexcxleague. Tom Allen made it to the top step in only his 2nd u16 race, closely followed by Niclas Olley. Tom Wilks finished 2nd in the u14s after challenging for the win. Andy Gardiner and Tom Budden 2nd and 5th in the v40 men. Izzy Hall 2nd u16 girl, Lucy Phillips and Emma Harrison 2nd and 4th in the Junior women. Gemma Wilks 5th v40 woman.

Thanks for the photos: @pitchsidephoto and Paceline Media


Wessex CX League, round 1, Clanfield

The Preamble! Solent Pirates hosted the first race of the 2023/2024 Wessex season, using one of the most challenging courses on the calendar, Clanfield. Bringing a mix of fast corners, and a few technical features, the course was the perfect mix for the opening race of the season. There were some great performances despite the heat by Sotonia riders.

Thanks @dfaulkner_ and @pitchsidephoto for the pics


September segment of the month change

Segment of the month September plan C - Changed again!

We seem fated with this month’s segment. Despite me going out for a scout ride at the weekend, it seems that since then, the road outside Hamptworth Golf Club has been selected for “improvement” through top dressing. This has turned it into a gravel extravaganza inappropriate for our segment competition until it’s all settled down again.

Rather than find a whole new segment – again – we’ll just swap the October segment with the September one.

So, the segment for this month is now Woodgreen Hill. This is one of my favourite slopes in the New Forest. 1 km of steady climb, on a wide road. We'll ride the Hamptworth segment in October.

Once again, all jokers that were previously played for the September segment at Hamptworth are now void. If you still want to play your joker on the new Woodgreen Hill segment, then please let us know by a revised date, which is: 1800 on Wednesday 13 September.



August Segment Of The Month results

Well, it’s all hotting up in the competition, even if the weather is starting to cool down again. 33 Sotonians tested their late summer legs against Furzedown Hill.

In the women’s competition, Sophie Sellars made it two wins in a row, but this time with a narrow gap over Izzy Hall. Jen Dawson took the third place on the podium. Sophie and Jen have the top two places in the whole-season competition, with just two rounds to go. But they are being chased hard by Emma Harrison and Debbie Hallett, neither of whom have played their joker yet.

In the U16 female competition, Emma Harrison and Izzy Hall continue their tussles, reversing last month’s finishing order. Izzy took the top step this month, but lies in second overall. This one may be decided by consistency: can they both manage to complete the final two rounds?

In the men’s competition, Will Weynberg made only his second entry into the competition, but also recorded his second win. 5 seconds off the KoM time, Will beat Andy Gardiner into second place by 2 seconds. Joey Wynne achieved his best finish of the competition, to take third place. Andy now has a commanding competition lead, but there’s strong competition for second and third place. Paul Macken and Aaron Barry are the current occupants, but they’re vulnerable to a joker played by any of Jeremy Hubbard, George Connell and a bunch of others.

It's a similar story in the men’s U16 competition. Niclas Olley took revenge over George Connell, taking first place this month. He’s breathing hard down George’s neck in the overall; once again, a joker could make all the difference.

Full results are viewable here.


September's segment

This month, the segment is a little longer: a 4 km segment ra3 that will bring back some happy memories for those of us who raced the Downton two day race. Note that this has been changed from the previous segment so those of you who had planned to play your joker this month will now have to re-consider. To allow time for this, we’ve extended the deadline; if you let us know by Friday 8 September 1800 on info@sotonia.co.uk then we’ll count your joker for September. If you have already played your joker, please let us know if you would still like to use it.