Cycling - Rapha Super Cross, Broughton Hall Estate, North Yorkshire

PUBLISHED: 16:27 26 October 2012 | UPDATED: 22:13 20 February 2013

Cycling - Rapha Super Cross,  Broughton Hall Estate, North Yorkshire

Cycling - Rapha Super Cross, Broughton Hall Estate, North Yorkshire

Autumn is upon us. There is a nip in the air, the nights are drawing in and the leaves are beginning to fall. To cyclists and cycling enthusiasts that can only mean one thing – Cyclocross season is upon us. Words and Pictures by Rebecca Love

Autumn is upon us. There is a nip in the air, the nights are drawing in and the leaves are beginning to fall. To cyclists and cycling enthusiasts that can only mean one thing Cyclocross season is upon us.

For those unfamiliar with the term, Cyclocross is an autumn and winter sport where bikes are raced over rough terrain, which usually requires a quick dismount at some point to carry the bike over obstacles. Races typically consist of short laps and, like city centre criterium races, are timed rather than set by distance, with a typical race lasting between 30 and 60mins. Mud is an essential and inescapable aspect of Cyclocross be prepared to get grubby.

Now in its second year, and brought to us by Rapha, creators of cycling clothing and accessories, the Rapha Super Cross are some of the most exciting and anticipated occasions on the Cyclocross calendar. The Super Cross comprises a series of 3 events held over 2 weekends in October.

This year the Super Cross returned to Yorkshire, and for the first time was held in the stunning grounds of the Broughton Hall Estate. The beautiful scenery was perfectly complimented by the glorious autumn weather, bringing spectators in their thousands out to support upwards of 400 riders across a range of races and abilities, from the under 10s race to the invitation-only elite team race.

The Super Cross has a fantastic family atmosphere, the races themselves supported by food and drink stands (the venison burgers were particularly popular judging by the queue), the Rapha Mobile Cycling Club (great coffee) and representatives from Rouleur magazine making sure everyone had cowbells to ring for the riders. This atmosphere was carried across to the races themselves, with the Under 10s (some as young as four) and under 12s races as well supported as the elites. All the kids racing looked like they were loving the experience, beaming as their names were read out as they crossed the line; and my seven-year-old son, spectating with me, begged to be entered to race next year.

Honours in the elite race, where the win was determined by the first three riders for a team across the line, went to last years defending champions, Hope Factory Racing, with their Paul Oldham a convincing solo winner. The team is based in nearby Barnoldswick, so it was a popular victory with the crowd. The special Showboating team prize also went to a local team, Dirtwheels, based in Otley, thanks in no small part to the bike handling skills of Rob Watson, who bunny-hopped the plank obstacle on every lap to enormous cheers from the spectators, rather than dismount and run across.

The final race of the day was the fun and novice race, featuring the slippery foam wall of doom and the infamous Tequila shortcut, and was the absolute highlight of the day. The air was filled with chants of Tequila! Tequila! Tequila!, and the sounds of cowbells enthusiastically ringing for all competitors. We were actively encouraged to Boo! those not accepting the tequila, and did so good naturedly, while wildly cheering those who accepted the shot in order to proceed through the short cut. A couple of the elite riders even hopped back on their bikes and rolled through themselves! To add to the atmosphere, some of the fun riders had even come in fancy dress, with Evel Knievel and a giraffe making an appearance (the giraffe came third!).

The Broughton Hall setting of the event was well organised and extremely popular with the racers and the spectators, and there are hopes to bring Super Cross back to Broughton Hall in the future. Laura Bower of Rapha said:

Broughton Hall won the opportunity to host Round One of the Rapha Super Cross, and its a pleasure to bring the event here.

Sentiments which were echoed by Roger Tempest, owner of Broughton Hall, who told me:

We were proud to host the event. Theres a brilliant positive vibe and family atmosphere here, and we hope to grow it in the future

Event MC Anthony McCrossan of Cyclevox said:

Its the perfect setting for an event like this. Not only is the backdrop of the Yorkshire Countryside absolutely stunning, Broughton Hall itself provides the perfect arena for hosting a well-supported event such as this, with a wide open space for the course so the riders are clear to the supporters.

The Rapha Super Cross at Broughton Hall offered an excellent opportunity to experience the thrill of Cyclocross set in fabulous scenery, with a fantastic family atmosphere. Even a novice bike rider like myself might be tempted to have a go

Words and Pictures by Rebecca Love

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