Quarry Cross | November 5 | Shropshire
Isla Rowntree proved that local knowledge is key as she took a fine victory in the Quarry Cross, while Chris Bailey won the men’s event at the disused Titterstone Quarry near Ludlow.
The usual sounds of jet washers were absent as riders had to rely on one bike and no pit-area assistance in the muddy and rocky conditions.
Veteran rider and Ludlow local Rowntree, a former national champion, is renowned for only having one singlespeed machine and created the unique event with her Islabikes colleagues.
She put on a masterclass of running and riding in the picturesque setting high above the Shropshire countryside.
She was challenged in the first half of the race by Sarah Willhoit (Rhino Velo CC) before pulling out a winning margin of more than a minute. Fellow veteran Karen Summers rounded off the podium in third after seeing off a challenge by Melissa Baker.
“It was a little bit rougher and less sanitised than most cross courses,” said Rowntree. “You had to plan your effort as well, as all the height gain was in the last quarter of the lap and if you get there out of breath it’s a torrid experience, but I really enjoyed it.
“There were quite a lot of restrictions about which bits of the quarry we could use but it’s a spectacular setting.”
In the men’s race, mtb specialist Chris Bailey showcased his skills on a cross bike to take a clear victory.
The KTM Impsport RT rider from Stoke took the lead on the opening lap and steadily increased his advantage.
Behind, he was initially chased by another rider from the organising team, Robert Burns, who was just a handful of seconds behind the leader coming into the closing stages. However, his race ended when he crashed into a lapped rider. Second place went to Sam Hyde, while veteran Danny Alexander (Zepnat RT) rode through the senior field — despite starting a minute behind — to clinch third overall.
“It was tough but really fun and pretty sketchy on some parts,” said Bailey. “I had a couple of big moments in the mud but managed to hold on. It was one of those races where I was trying not to make a mistake, and be smooth around the corners.”