The final round of the UK Rapha Super Cross series took place on Saturday 25th October at London’s Alexandra Palace, with a full day of racing that saw novices and fancy dress fanatics negotiate a foam-filled course in the Fun category, whilst Seniors, Vets, and Youth races took in the mud and off-camber turns, jumps and steep ascents in four rounds of muddy chaos. The series saw more than 1000 racers taking part, a new record.
The Elites were given a chance to stretch their legs in preparation for the following day’s National Trophy race in Southampton. Jody Crawford of Hargroves RT took his third win in as many attempts in this year’s series, but Hope Factory Racing managed to hold on to the team classification after their strong showing in the first two rounds. Dan Craven of Team Europcar made his cyclocross debut with a guest appearance for the Rapha Development team. Moments after the Elite race, Dan lined up next to fancy-dress pandas, tigers and frogs (amongst others) for a turn in the Fun race – he spent much of the next half hour in the tequila shortcut.
In the Women’s Elite category, Annie Simpson of Hope took her second win of the series, holding off a late charge from the young Yorkshire rider Amira Mellor. Ruby Miller of Hargroves RT rolled over the line less than a minute later, shortly followed by trainee doctor and Rapha rider Sarah Murray, who’s racing only her second season of cyclocross.
The Kids and Youth races saw unprecedented levels of participation, boding well for the future of cyclocross in the UK, while Vets racers demonstrated the virtues of experience as they battled up the muddy climb. In the Seniors, Hackney GT’s Benjamin Lewis bested the field over nine gruelling laps.
Highlights of the racing included Bruce Dalton of the Rouleur team choosing to bunny-hop the barriers rather than bothering to dismount, Dan Craven (almost) mastering cross without so much as a practice lap beforehand (will he run up the next Grand Tour hors catégorie climb?), and one of Rapha’s product developers, Miles Gibbons, gamely racing in a Team Sky skinsuit custom-made for one of their tiniest riders whilst understandably looking a little…constricted.
Rapha Super Cross will return next year, with dates to be announced in the first part of 2015. Stay tuned.