British cyclo-cross preview

After a week’s break, the popular Waldrons Solicitors West Midlands League resumes with the 10th event at Rugeley in Staffordshire on Sunday.

Branded as round 9a following the Midlands Championships a fortnight ago, this weekend’s race is the Cycleshack Christmas Cross and takes place at Tackeroo Camp Site, Birches Valley.

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Like many leagues across the country, the West Midlands series has reached a crucial stage with the overall winners being judged over ten rounds from a possible 13.

Long-time leader Neil Hayward, the 30-year-old rider from Kingswinford, will be aiming to boost his points tally once again, but despite having secured a second and two thirds, he will still be looking to take his first maximum points haul.

Sunday’s race could prove crucial to the overall league ambitions of Leicester-based Matt Barrett (Cycleshack-Forme Coaching). He has only ridden six rounds of the series so far and must ride all remaining races to get in the required ten qualifying scores.

If he does ride, he looks set to start as favourite, having taken maximum points twice and finished second three times.

Elsewhere, Thornes Park in Wakefield is the venue for the penultimate round of the Yorkshire Points Series on Sunday.

Paul Milnes RT junior Joe Moses will be aiming to show the form which led to him winning the National Trophy junior category at Bradford last weekend by secure his second victory in the series following his win in round six at Brighouse.

The Mosquito Bikes London League heads to Herne Hill for round 11, where league leader Matthew Webber (London Phoenix) will be aiming to preserve his fragile seven-point lead over former leader Sylvain Garde (La Fuga Sigma Sport).

Of the eight rounds where both riders have finished, Webber has beaten Garde on five occasions, while Garde has beaten his rival on just three occasions.

But Garde pushed Webber into second spot in the last round by more than a minute at Penshusrt Off-Road Centre in Kent, and will be aiming to maintain that sort of form in Sunday’s race.

With seven wins from seven rides, Andrew Nichols (PCA Ciclos Uno) is poised to take over the lead in the Eastern League should he choose to ride Sunday’s penultimate round of the series at Broome Heath, Ditchingham.

Third-placed Nichols is the only rider in the top five who has not yet ridden the required eight events, and he looks set to leapfrog current leader Hayden Wood (unattached) and Tim Guy from the promoting Iceni Velo.

This weekend’s events
Saturday, December 17
Notts and Derby Lge R11, Sherwood Pines Forest Park, Nottinghamshire.

Sunday, December 18
CX North East League R10, Chances Park, Carlisle, Cumbria.
Welsh League final, Blackweir Park, Cardiff.
London League R11, Herne Hill, London.
Yorkshire Points Series R8, Thornes Park, Wakefield.
Western League R11, St Georges Park, Bristol.
W Mids League 9a, Tackeroo Camp Site, Rugeley.
Lincolnshire League R13, Rossington, near Doncaster.
Poole Wheelers Christmas Cracker, Wareham.
Eastern League R12, Broome Heath, Bungay.
South West League R11, Central Park, Plymouth.
North West League, Leverhulme Park, Bolton.