On behalf of Harrogate Nova Cycling Club, I would like to welcome competitors and spectators to Ripley Castle Cyclocross. Following on from our successful first running in 2014, we approached 2015 with some degree of trepidation. A ‘difficult second album’ was very much our feeling as the event drew near.
Working closely with our kind sponsors and Ripley Castle, the organising team delivered another fantastic day of high quality, accessible cyclocross racing. In 2014, we catered for 360 competitors. In 2015 we welcomed some 523! Moreover we saw nearly a 100% increase in participation in our slightly more relaxed GoCross race which surely has to bode well for the sport.
Our course designer set about a minor redesign of our 2014 course which resulted in a great balance between providing challenging racing for committed riders, yet was still great fun for less experienced riders. 2016 will see some further fine tuning, which will probably see an really exciting change to the finish area layout and technical changes to pit arrangements.
2015, saw us make further steady progress by offering modest, but warm changing rooms. We also achieved live to web results from transponder timing…..even for the children’s races. The new spectator hub around the finishing straight with a strong trade team presence worked well as well as our relationship with the Dave Rayner Fund.
For 2016 we seek to broaden the appeal of the slightly shorter adult Go-Cross race early in the day that typically enjoys easier course conditions over a shorter duration. For those who perhaps had one too many the night before, maybe building fitness, perhaps fancy having a lower key ‘go’ or maybe run a mountain bike, it’s probably just the job.
Our biggest ambition is to build our women’s race into the exciting one hundred strong stand alone race that we all know it should be. From day one we have offered equal prizes to both genders. Now is the time to make a stand alone race happen in front of our estimated 1000 spectators. I have given this aspiration the title ‘RCCX100′ and will not settle for any compromise between this race and the Senior Men’s race. One Hundred focused athletes on that starting grid….
Whilst the weather cannot be controlled, what is beyond doubt is that Ripley Castle is both a beautiful and spectator friendly venue that can be easily reached from anywhere in the North of England. We really look forward to seeing you on New Year’s Day, be it to blow away that hangover, fine tune your race form, or simply have a go on whatever bike you bring.
Background Photos – Russell Ellis, Andy Whitehouse.