Nick Barnes, one of Raleigh’s four sponsored cyclocross riders, has reported back from the first two races of his winter season; round one of the Notts & Derby Cyclocross League and Round 2 of the Yorkshire Points series.
“The course was very bumpy and flat, however offered some interesting wooded sections. At the start of the race Dave Collins had a clear lead together with Mark Cotton at the end of the first lap, I was just trailing behind with a fellow www.zepnat.com rider. As the race progressed Mark began to fade and come back to us, whereas Grant Ferguson (last years U23 National champ) was coming through strong and had caught and passed Dave Collins. I was then in a group of three until Dave Fletcher caught us and began to put the pressure on. Eventually after a few laps we dropped the other Zepnat rider. This group then came down to the last lap, on the last section of the lap we hit lapped riders and Cotton made a break for home. I decided to follow him and make myself as big as possible to prevent Fletcher from getting on his wheel instead of me. I realised that Cotton had probably made his move too early. As I knew the finish straight was quite long and my legs felt good I thought I would wait to get him on the line. As we came onto the finish straight we started to sprint and I managed to beat him to get third place about a minute behind Dave Collins.
“At the Yorkshire Points race at Northallerton, I made my fast start away from the line, then the surprise visitor Paul Oldham took over on the front and just left us all. This race was slightly more boring as I was in a group of 4 with Dieter Droger, Billy Harding And Robert Watson for most of the race. About ¾ of the way into the race Dieter decided to put a hard turn in at the front to prevent the guys from behind catching us, this had a side effect of displacing Watson from the group. The remainder of the group then went to the finish line. However, I made a mistake of not going hard enough into the final wooded section and the 2 of them passed me. Dieter had been the worst in the technical sections of the group all day, so Billy got the gap he needed to hold to the line. I had to then decided how I would beat Dieter. I chose to take a wider line into the final bend as it was quite tight and come underneath him to the line to finish third.”