Press Release: ShamXross invite you to the Regional Cyclo-Cross Championships
Local people are invited to come along and make some noise, and encourage riders around the dedicated cyclo-cross track on Somerdale Meadows, as Keynsham hosts the British Cycling Regional Championships at the “ShamXross” track on Sunday 28th November.
Cyclo-cross is a bit like steeplechase on a bike. It's tough, but enormous fun. It attracts thousands of spectators in Belgium, where top riders are treated like football stars. Importantly men, women and children ride - it has a strong ethic of being family-friendly, and involving everyone.
At ShamXross, the 2.3km circuit over grass, mud, gravel and sand, with man-made barriers and banks, provides great viewing for the spectators as riders on modified drop-handle road bikes see how many circuits they can complete in one hour. The track includes steep sections which tests riders grit, determination and balance, and sections where riders are forced to dismount. As part of the Keynsham circuit a “double spiral” has been cut into the grass track – known locally as “the spiral of doom” - resulting in some amazing photographs as streams of riders ride into and out of the spiral at the same time.
The sport caters for all abilities and fitness levels, with plenty of spectator support and interaction adding to the infectious atmosphere. The most successful riders need a good level of fitness, but often those with smooth clean riding skills and some luck are rewarded, especially during the muddier winter events, where riders have to carefully negotiate tight off camber turns and quickly dismount to run up steep slippery banks.
With racing for the youngest riders starting at 9am, through to mid-afternoon for the faster categories, this all-day family-friendly event will also feature live commentary, a DJ, and will bring some of that Belgian atmosphere to the Somerdale meadows with frites and mayo!
Left: December 2018, the last Regional Cyclo-Cross Championships, also held at the ShamXross course. Image credit: FrameDogs.
Right: ShamXross Western CycloCross League Round 1, 12th September 2021. Image credit: Alistair Stuart Campbell.
Local course designer and director, Kev Brewer, said, “Cyclo-cross is enormous fun to watch, there are always thrills and spills, with riders trying to jump barriers and stay upright around what is quite a tricky course. The muddier the better, as that’s when it gets unpredictable! It’s free to come and watch, and we love to have a crowd down on the course cheering the riders on. Traditionally spectators bring cow bells to make some noise, but pots and pans work well too!”
Gwen Edwards, part of the ShamXross team added, “Cyclo-cross is a great sport to photograph. The circuit means that you’ll have many chances to get the shot you’re after, and there is always something of interest to pay attention to. Here at Somerdale, the backdrop of the wooded hills often delivers dramatic skies and big vistas. We were really chuffed that local photography legend, Alistair Stuart Campbell, joined us at the September race, and his images from ShamXross will feature in an article in the December issue of Digital Camera Magazine.”
“The first Western Cyclo-Cross League race since Covid struck was held here at ShamXross in September,” said Kev, “and everyone was buzzing to be back, with a record 250 racers. For the November event, we’ll be bringing back more of the classic-cross craziness and sponsors that we’re renowned for at ShamXross, including a DJ, tepee, and hot food.”
“Anyone can enter this race. Don’t let the “Regional Championships” tag put you off – just enter via the British Cycling website in advance, no on-the-day race entry. For those who want to improve their skills, we often run coaching sessions with qualified BC coaches for complete beginners all the way through to seasoned racers, and for talented youth riders we’re really proud that British Cycling run their “Regional School of Racing” events at ShamXross. Follow us on Facebook to see info about all our events.”