The “Dune ‘Cross” was the 3rd Round of the Welsh Cyclo-Cross League held at Pembrey on October 2nd. This was the event selected for the Club Off-Road Championship for 2016. Unfortunately only two Club members lined up at the start but the competition between them was no less keen. The weather conditions were very different to the “normal” CX rain and cold, Pembrey was bathed in sunshine.
Each lap was about 1.25 miles with a start on a long tarmac section leading onto a sharp left turn over sand followed by a section of twisting compact sand/gravel dirt tracks. After this more familiar CX terrain appeared with a short steep stepped run up section of about 20 yards, not too far but enough to force riders to to jump off and shoulder the bike in the traditional CX running fashion. More twisty compact tracks led into another steep bank which would see riders having to dismount for the final 10 yards. Jumping back on the bike the riders finished the lap with a fast flowing, rutted descent into the main grassy start/finish area.
As a result of the large numbers entering the race had been spilt so that Vets had a separate race start to Seniors and Youth riders. The Vets were then spilt up further, meaning that V50 Jeff Rees had to consider his tactics carefully because V40 Steve Davies would start 2 minutes in front of him. Jeff saw Steve get off to a decent start and had to wait what seemed like an eternity for the 2 minute gap before he could start from the second row which kept him out of the initial gridlock.
After the first half lap the V50 began picking off the back end of the V40’s on the stepped run section. Jeff felt that they it would not be too long before he was able to catch Steve. Jeff realised that Steve was having a good day as there was no sign of him after three laps. Eventually Jeff spotted the distinctive Acme Jersey in front of him and made the junction on the fast tarmac section. Trying to catch Steve off guard Jeff attacked but Steve latched onto his wheel as they weaved their way through the field. Luckily, Jeff says skilfully, he was able to nip past the rider in front when there was not enough room for Steve to follow. A big effort on the climb and a kamikaze descent saw him open a gap and “snap the elastic” For Jeff it was then a matter of staying focussed and avoiding mistakes to claim the off road title.
In the end Jeff finished 6th of 32 V50’s and Steve a creditable 47th from 65 V40’s, a great achievement in only his second CX season. Jeff ‘s result means that he is the Club Off-Road Champion for 2016. Well done to him.