The first two rounds of the 2015 Rapha Super Cross series UK took place at the grand location of Shibden Hall, Yorkshire, over the weekend of 17th – 18th October. Dating back to the 1400s, this private estate turned public park in Halifax served as a picture-perfect background for the beginning of this year’s Super Cross series UK, and welcomed more than 1,000 riders onto a world-class cross course throughout the weekend.
In keeping with the historic venue, the first round of racing rekindled the centuries-old War of the Roses rivalry between Yorkshire and Lancashire. As the smell of embrocation and the sound of cowbells filled the valley, the Lancastrian and Yorkshire racers lined up nervously on the start line waiting for the sound of the gun. After a fierce battle, albeit slightly less bloodied than those that have gone before, it was Yorkshire that emerged victorious, earning themselves ‘The Rose’ trophy.
In the women’s races, Hope Technology’s Annie Simpson led from start to finish, showing fine form and technique through the turns and over the obstacles. Talented youngster Sophie Thackray, proudly riding with the Yorkshire rose on her jersey, finished the weekend with two second places for her efforts, and Isla Rowntree of Isla Bikes rounded off the podium with third place across both days of competition.
The men’s elite race was a closely fought contest between teammates Paul Oldham and Jack Clarkson from Hope Technology, and for an hour of racing the lead switched between the two as they duelled it out. Graham Briggs, representing Yorkshire, fought his way up to third place as the race progressed, but in the end a final charge from Paul in the last lap gave him the edge on day one. On day two, and on a slightly damper course, it was Jack Clarkson who attacked first claiming the win.
With rounds one and two now complete, the focus shifts to round three at the less-than-likely venue of Granary Square, King’s Cross, on 14th November. Here, in central London, a very different style of course awaits, leading racers through Central Saint Martin’s University and the Granary Square fountains, and over course obstacles built by architecture students from the university.
Limited spaces remain for round three, but even if you’re not racing, there’ll be an atmosphere worthy of the theatre of cross. Expect DJs, the finest food and drink and, of course, cowbells.