After helping his team secure victory in the lucrative Rapha Supercross three-race series over the last fortnight, Lancashire ‘cross legend Paul Oldham (Hope Factory Racing) will defend his early National Trophy series lead when the second round is held at Leicester Leys Leisure Centre at Beaumont Leys in Leicester on Sunday.
Oldham, the reigning National Champion from Colne, took the maximum 50 points in the senior race when he crossed the line 15 seconds ahead of last season's Trophy Series victory Jody Crawforth (Hargroves Cycles).
But he still had to settle for second in the opening round with Dutch rider Thijs Al (AA Drink) taking the win by inches from Oldham.
The pair look set to turn the 2011-12 series into a two-horse race, and much will depend on Oldham's ability to avoid facing a sprint finish, with Crawforth widely accepted as having been stronger than Oldham in such circumstances last year.
However, when Crawforth pipped his rival to victory in the second round of the Rapha Supercross series in Huddersfield, Oldham stuck grimly to the task and was not far behind.
Close finishes were the order of the day in the opening round of the National Trophy in South Shields three weeks ago. Sheffield-based rider Adela Carter (Crosstrax) won the women's event by just 13 seconds from Team Corridori's Corrine Hall, while Jim Bryan (Zepnat) pipped former national champ Chris Young (Wheelbase) to the over-40's prize by seven seconds.
The gap was even less in the over-50s with Mick Bell (London Fire Brigade CC) just one second ahead of Martin Eadon (Stevens UK), while Bradford Olympics' Joe Moses' won the junior event by a relatively comfortable 30 seconds.
But the National Trophy is not the only ‘cross event taking place this weekend.
Wheelbase rider Michael Cotty, 32 and from Hampshire, will be aiming to secure a third victory in five races when he rides the Wessex League event on Sunday, promoted by Oxonian CC at Westminster Sports Centre in Botley.
With the National Trophy being staged on the same day, riders in Lincolnshire will tackle the sixth round of the Lincolnshire League at Church Farm, Stroxton, on Sunday.
The most prominent rider missing from the race will be Bycka Sport Racing's Mark Cotton, the Lincoln-based rider who is tackling the National Trophy and therefore is only competing for the Lincolnshire Championship, which omits Trophy dates.
North of the Border the fourth round of the Scottish Series, due to be staged on Sunday at Lockarbriggs Community Centre in Dumfries, has been cancelled.
This weekend's events
Saturday, October 29
Mercia CC/SRAM Notts and Derby League, round 8 - Rosliston Forestry Centre, Burton on Trent.
East Liverpool Wheelers/North West League, round 8 - Otterspool Park, Aigburth, Liverpool.
Sunday, October 30
National Trophy Series, round 2 - Leicester Leys Leisure Centre, Beaumont Leys, Leicester.
Colchester Rovers CC/Eastern League, round 7 - Furze Hill, Mostley.
Witham Wheelers/Lincolnshire League, round 6 - Church Farm, Stroxton, Lincolnshire.
Archer RC/London League round 7/Central League, round 6 - Hillingdon Circuit, London.
1st Chard Wheelers/South West League, round 6 - Holyrood Community Centre, Chard, Somerset.
New Tredegar Nomads/Welsh League, round 6 - Parc Cwm Darran, Fochriw.
Oxonian CC/Wessex League - Westminster Sports Centre, Botley.
Severn Road Club/Western League, round 6 - Conham River Park, Bristol.
Huddersfield Star Wh/Yorkshire Go-Cross - Newsome High School, Huddersfield.
Oldham pleased with start to 'cross season after Ally Pally triumph
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