RCUK's report of USE's Exposure night 'cross race - Road Cycling UK

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RCUK's report of USE's Exposure night 'cross race

Friday, just above freezing, a flat grass track and tarmac course, skinny tyres, the smell of embrocation, lights. Whoa, back up a minute – Cyclo-Cross with lights? It has to be Extra Exposure, the Derby based Cyclo-Cross event sponsored by Exposure Lights. There was a healthy field of over 30 combatants for this inaugural event in the calendar, and with national ranking points up for grabs, anyone within striking distance of Derby, the necessary race credentials, a ‘cross bike (or an MTB) and sufficient lycra should have been there.

Stuart from Evans hops the plank
(© Chris Keller-Jackson)

Exposure’s Exposure
I managed to pre-ride the course on a very fat tyred Merida MTB (thanks to Jon from USE for the loan of the bike) and found the course fast flowing, with an interesting banked 40 degree obstacle (see picture) but favouring the CX bike, as the grass was dry but draggy. It also gave me a chance to scope out the best places to take pictures from. The bike was equipped with an Exposure Light ‘Race’ model, and was more than enough light for the conditions. The cable free design is spot on as it does not tie up your bottle cage and is ultra light (most CX frames come without bottle cage bosses, making these lights even more suitable). Exposure Lights were offering the riders the loan of their new lights, and most people took them up on their offer. Exposure even fitted and adjusted them for each competitor. The lights were universally acclaimed in the race situation, with the eventual winner claiming them to be ‘ideal for race use’.

USE’s Exposure lights lit the way
(© Chris Keller-Jackson)

And they’re off
On to the racing then. The format had only two restrictions, 40 minutes of racing and a short course to aid marshalling at night. The course was short at 3′ 30″ per lap when canning it, though it was varied and interesting. There were 4 classes, MTB, Veteran, Women and Senior, each class had serious trophies for the top places, with a prize fund well over £2000, donated by Ultimate Sports Engineering. Saddles, bars, seat pins, bottle cages and lubes were on offer for the placings. The main race was contested by the usual suspects, with Ben Eedy, Phillip Dixon and Daniel Alexander being the favourites. It was close between Daniel and Phillip who were able to work as a team until misfortune as Phillip had two mechanicals. Eventual winner Daniel Alexander managed to pull away from a close Ben Eedy and David Clark. Phillip Dixon was 4th but gutted at his poor luck.

In the women’s race, Ceri Pridham beat Michelle Gascoigne and looked pleased with her spoils. David Lowe went on to win the Vets category in a close fought event. It looked like everyone enjoyed themselves, except those that had failing lights as you really needed off road lights to make any decent headway in the gloom.

The winners from the seniors
(© Chris Keller-Jackson)

A bit of a social night out too…
Notable attendees included Tim Gould, John North and Pat Adams (24 hour race organiser). The organisation was faultless, with good marshalling, timekeeping and very prompt. If you have never ridden off road in the dark it makes all your favourite trails that bit different, shadows are altered and perception becomes far more insular. Give it a go, I doubt this will be the only time this event runs – short course night time CX / MTB could well be the new winter pastime.

Now for the really uplifting bit.  Exposure Lights provided a random prize to one lucky rider, and with no collusion, John North pulled number 3 out of the hat (er. . . bin)  From bad luck to good because Phillip Dixon won the prize – a set of race lights all of his own.  Even though Phil knew he could not win, he helped his team mate by working with him, quite a fitting end to a very sporting gesture.

Wow. Well worth the trip for these prizes
(© Chris Keller-Jackson)

1st Dan Alexander – Ace RT
2nd Ben Eedy – South Pennine RC
3rd David Clarke
4th Phillip Dixon – Ace RT
5th Craig Ansell – Wolverhampton Wheelers

1st Pete Harris
2nd Dave Lowe – Derby Mercury
3rd Russ Wakefield – DVATC

1st Ceri Pridham
2nd Michelle Gascoigne – cyclo-cross.com

Mountain Bikes
1st Dave Clark
2nd Steve Killingbeck

Special thanks must go to Rory and Jonathan from Exposure Lights and Viv Cox and all the organising crew and marshalls for all their hard work.


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