Local boy tipped to triumph

‘Local boy’ Harry Birchill is a hot favourite to win today’s South West Cyclo-Cross Championship at Paignton.

Birchill, 17, the national junior mountain bike champion from nearby Newton Abbot, has no trouble switching disciplines.

He warmed up for today’s meeting – which doubles up as the tenth round of the SW Cyclo-Cross League – with a typically dominant victory in round nine at Bush Farm near Saltash last Sunday.

Birchill (southforkracing.com) lapped all but a handful of the senior field, eventually finishing six minutes clear of his nearest rival, Richard Long (Rockin Bikes).

Today’s championship round takes place at the Torbay Velopark, with organisers Mid-Devon CC laying out a course which includes grass and tarmac sections on the closed circuit.

With drying weather over the last few days, conditions should be ideal. That wasn’t quite the case last weekend, but cyclo-cross racers like a bit of mud – and they certainly weren’t disappointed at the new Bush Farm centre, who had taken on the event from Plymouth’s Central Park and earned plenty of plaudits in the process.

Behind Birchill and Long in the main race, Alex Fanshawe (Saint Piran) was third, followed by James Chapman (Clive Mitchell Cycles), Paddy Scullion (Mid-Cornwall CC) and Lee Adams (Tavistock Wheelers).

Robin Delve (Mid-Devon) drew level with Richard Taylor (Exeter Wheelers) in the Vet over-50 series with his seventh place overall, and Cathy Kilburn took over from her Mid-Devon team-mate Jackie Shute in the Women’s competition

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.