FOLLOWING three months of hard racing across the county, Spalding Cycling Club members are taking a well-earned break before the 2011 season kicks off.
Around 20 Spalding riders, aged between five and 60 competed in the Lincolnshire Cyclo Cross League in various age categories, taking them as far away as the river Humber.
The league was held over 13 races dotted across the county, with 11 races counting towards a riders points total.
Each race was held on a completely different course, ranging from thick wooded areas to the flat fields of the Fens, meaning a wide variety of skills would be needed to take the overall victory.
Adverse winter weather was against the riders throughout most of the series, making for difficult courses and hard racing.
As in previous years Spalding members didn’t disappoint in their medal haul, taking four podium places and a wealth of individual race victories – with the majority of these coming from up and coming youngster Matt Ellis.
The under-12 rider retained the title he won in 2009, with his team-mate Jake Norton taking silver. In the same category, Robert McAndrew fifth, Tom Burton seventh, Megan Kendall ninth and Ben Norton 12th.
In the U/14s category, Jennifer McAndrew and Reece Moradkhan fought hard all year to secure fifth and sixth place respectively.
Three riders represented the club in the U/16s too, with the best overall result coming from Harry Bellars in fifth place. Sam Bentley and Ollie Fensom also competed, taking tenth and 12th positions respectively.
Spalding were best represented in the senior races though, with competitors battling in races lasting for over an hour to finish as high up the field as possible.
This saw Sarah Bentley regain another title for the club by winning the ladies’ category for the second consecutive year. Tracy McAndrew also finished well in the group with a fine fourth place.
Meanwhile, in his first competitive season for many years, Adrian Thurston took second in the vets 60 plus.
Seasoned rider Derek Chamberlain managed fourth in the vets 50 plus too, backed up well by Gary Bentley and Ian Fensom in fifth and sixth places.
In the vets league, Shane Norton took fifth and Graham McAndrew managed eighth, while the senior event saw club coach Adam Ellis finish in a respectable eighth overall.
The results buoyed Ellis, who paid tribute to the Spalding riders – and declared that it’s only a matter of time before they boast a national champion.
He said: “This year really showed that seven years of hard work establishing the Go-ride youth section is really starting to pay off.
“A small market town club had more riders in this years Lincs Cyclo Cross league than any other club, with riders racing in all age categories.
“For the first time in many years Spalding had riders in National Cyclo Cross and regional events and in the under-12s section, 50 per cent of the field were often Spalding riders.
“The club continues to go from strength to strength it is only a matter of time before we produce a national champion. Well done to all the coaches, helpers and parents that have made this possible.”
Spalding return to action in March with the start of their Go-ride events. The time trial season then gets under way in early April.