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A cold but sunny winter’s day for the Geoff Shergold Memorial Wessex Cyclocross races at Southampton Sports Centre saw four vets and two Sotonia seniors blast away the Christmas cobwebs.

The course, a variation on previous years with a long uphill grass straight on the edge of the park that rose steeply into a muddy wooded section full of tight turns. Fast downhills then forced the riders back up again in firm but often slippy conditions that meant few bike changes but riders certainly had to watch their footing.

In the Vets race, regulars Simon Guard, Phil Connell and John Phillips were joined by newcomer, Dudley Jaynes on his 29er. Simon and Phil were again locked in close battle in the early stages, but with the course hills suiting Simon better, he began to pull away from Phil after a couple of laps and finished first 40+ Sotonia rider a minute ahead of Phil in 24th and 27th places.

In the senior race Phil Wilks and Tom Budden resumed their rivalry and after a fast start, both were in the top 15 coming out of the woods with Tom around 10th. He wasn’t done there though and proceeded to pull away from the large group that Phil was in, making up three more places as he slowly wound in the riders ahead and finishing in the highest position by any Sotonia cross rider in years with an amazing 7th place! Phil battled on, carrying a sore knee into the race and came in a worthy 19th out 37 riders.

A great result to finish the year for Sotonia. Just one race in the calender to go now, run by Army Cycling Union at Tidworth on February 1st 2015.

Video of the V/W/J race shot by Julian Gee:

The Wessex league report can be found here

Graham Robins’ pics are here