Mishaps at the start and at the second corner made life very difficult for two leading Bradford area hopefuls in the National Cyclo-Cross Championships at Moorways Leisure Centre in Derby.
Keighley’s Alfie Moses had problems from the off in the under-16 boys’ race, while holder Billy Harding went down with a thump seconds after the junior men’s race had begun.
Meanwhile, Bradford’s Euan Cameron was involved in a four-way scrap for the under-14 boys’ crown before adding the British title to the National Trophy Series victory that he clinched earlier this month.
East Bradford Cycling Club’s Cameron was battling with Lewis Askey (Lichfield City Cycling Club) and Alistair Leivers (Blackpool Youth Cycle Association), with the latter taking the lead, only to fall as they reached the slippy mud.
That allowed Craig Rogers (Birkenhead North End Cycling Club) to move to the front, opening up a gap, with Wibsey’s Cameron a close second and Leivers third.
Rogers, Leivers and Cameron then headed affairs in turn before Leivers made what looked like the decisive attack with a lap and a half to go, ahead of Cameron and a resurgent Askey.
Leivers led at the bell, with Cameron and Askey neck and neck not far behind, but soon the trio were back together.
Cameron then made a telling move, going clear through the quagmire on the off-camber bends to nail victory.
Leivers fell on the final bend, allowing Askey to take silver, with Leivers third on foot, carrying his broken bike.
Bradford Christian School pupil Cameron revealed: “I think I had too much pressure in my tyres as I was slipping on all the corners.
“I was trying not to take too many risks but when I saw Alistair had dropped a chain twice, I just knew I had to go for it, chase him and then drop him.
“I’m really happy - it’s my first national championship so I’m over the moon.”
Moses (Paul Milnes Cycles-Bradford Olympic) was a victim of thick mud over the tarmac at the start and slipped a wheel to go from the front of the grid to last.
He revealed: “I remembered what Seth Smith, who coaches all the Yorkshire riders at Marley, had said to me before the start, which was not to panic whatever happened, because that is when you make mistakes.
“I managed to overtake several riders on every corner and was soon back up to fourth, but I had used up a lot of energy.”
Eventually he reeled in his pal David Barnes (Condor Cycles) to take third behind Dan Tulett (Hargroves Cycles) and Joshua Waters (Sherwood Pines Cycles).
“That’s my winter season over now,” added Moses. “I won’t bother with the road. I will go for the Yorkshire Summer Cyclo-Cross Series, which I think begins in May.”
Birkenshaw’s Harding, whose knee injury had not recovered sufficiently for him to ride in last month’s National Trophy Series in Peel Park, soon came a cropper in his race.
“I don’t know whether I hit my leg on the tarmac or had it scraped by another bike, but it was badly swollen by Sunday night, although it was better the following day,” said the Orange Monkey Pro Team rider, who finished 13th.
“After that it was just a matter of getting in some hard practice for the rest of the race.”
Harding will concentrate on the British Mountain Bike Series after some training in Marbella.
Jedi Cycle Sport team-mates Ian Taylor, from Cononley, and Andy Peace, from Haworth, were second and third in the veteran men’s 40-49 years’ race, with Shipley’s Chris Young (Pedalsport CC) fifth, while Bingley’s Marie Jackson (Paul Milnes Cycles-Bradford Olympic) was third among the veteran women.
Hartshead’s Abby-Mae Parkinson (RST Racing Team) was fourth in the women’s race, fellow junior Amira Mellor (Paul Milnes Cycles-Bradford Olympic) finishing fifth, with Otley’s Delia Beddis (Vicious Velo) ninth.
Mellor’s clubmate Sophie Thackray was eighth in the under-16 girls’ race, and Bingley’s Rob Jebb ninth in the men’s race.
Jebb helped Team Hope Factory Racing win their team race, Young’s Pedalsport CC were second in the veterans’ team event and East Bradford were third in the under-14 boys’ team event via George Fox, Joe Parker and Will King.