With a month’s gap between the last two rounds of this year’s Wessex League cyclocross series, the last round proved to have lost none of the popularity for cyclocross with another big turnout at an impressive new venue – Tedworth House in Tidworth organised by the Army Cycling Union.

It’s official, the Wessex CX V50 league is the hardest league in the country (and arguably the world as well actually). John Phillips and Martin Ward were lined up in the V50 race against the UCI Masters V50-54 world champion (Philip Roach) and the UCI Masters V60-64 world champion (Dave McMullen). Fortunately, Steve Davies, the UCI Masters V55-V59 world champion was otherwise engaged (he normally rides Wessex CX) otherwise it would have been the full set!  Well, we did our best against such formidable opposition and thoroughly enjoyed our race over a new flat, fast parkland course that gave great views to spectators, wrapped up against the biting north wind.

Featuring a fast tarmac start leading to twisting grassy turns around the trees that lined the sports fields, bankings were used to good effect to break up momentum. The firm conditions were then interrupted by a short, sticky mud section and a set of boards that would have benefitted from a ladder to negotiate. Riders then rode into a biting headwind to a long set of stone steps to climb the small hill and the finish line.

In the world-champless V40 race, Simon Guard (33rd) and Phil Connell (40th) enjoyed their customary tussle with Simon just coming out on top this time round. In the Seniors race, Sotonia had a great turnout with Tom Budden, Phil Wilks, Darren Sell and new team member David Baxter flying the flag, with placings of 11th, 19th, 30th and 32nd respectively. Dave Crocker and Jez Hart again provided us all with great vocal support and pit duties. All in all, a great end to the season, with much celebratory sausage rolls and banana drizzle cake scoffed.

It’s been a great year of cross for Sotonia, with 19 club members who rode for us across all categories, to what will probably be our highest team finish for many years. Well done everyone and roll on next season!

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