The Tour of Britain was Oxfordshire’s most popular cycle race in 2017 but the cyclo-cross meeting held at the Brookes University site above Botley was certainly the most populous. Sunday’s event featured over 380 riders of all ages from seven to 70 racing around the playing fields and woods in glorious sunshine. Autumn colours mingled with the kaleidoscope of team shirts to provide a memorable sight.
The course took riders around fields and the golf course, a fast and furious section, before snaking through woodland made slick by overnight rain; it all made for a testing Sunday morning. Madison Genesis rider, Isaac Mundy, made light work of the conditions, never really headed, and although his lead over second place Sam Allen was a mere six seconds at the finish, his victory was never in doubt.
The main ladies’ race was impressive for a different reason: the first five riders home were members of the all-conquering Hargreaves Ridley Montezuma team. This strength in depth cast all other teams into the shade.
All told, there were seven races catering for everyone from top national riders to first-timers, all participating in this Wessex League event that drew riders from across the south of England. Local club, Oxonian CC, organised the event, under the direction of David Jones, who commented afterwards that not only had the racing been keen and competitive but the camaraderie and the ‘crack’ had been well worth it.
And if readers go down to the woods today, there’ll be few colours left, just a string of tyre marks to recall a great day’s sport.