Team WNT returned to north Yorkshire for the second time to take on what is billed as the UK’s toughest and biggest cyclo-cross event. The race takes in the peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside, covering 38 miles (61 kilometres) of mixed terrain and, no less than 5000 feet (1524 metres) of climbing. To highlight the level of difficulty riders taking part are at the peak of condition and the winner completes the course in under three hours. The last rider to cross the finish line arrived 3.5 hours behind the winner. To lose such a large amount of time, over a relatively short distance, indicates the severity of the challenges faced by the 650 riders who entered, of which 537 completed the course.
Team WNT featured eight riders, five of which were returning for their second time, the team also included an under 23 entrant, and two members of the Team WNT road race team. The first aim of this event is to finish, and then try to improve on previous results. Al members of Team WNT completed the course with Mirko Pfauth the highest individual finisher for the team, coming home in 19th place, up from 60th in 2015 and taking over 12 minutes off his time, crossing the line in a time of 3 hours, 23 minutes and 11 seconds. In achieving this sub 3.5 hour time he also joins the ranks of Three Peaks Elite riders. First time Team WNT participant Raphael Sun took 2nd place overall in the U23 category in a time of 4 hours 19 minutes and 56 seconds. Finally, with the first three finishers from each team contributing to the overall Team Award Mirko Pfauth (19th), Thomas Schneider (120th), Peter Presslauer (189th) brought Team WNT home in a highly respectable 8th place overall.
As in recent years the race for top honours was fought out between Hope Factory Racing’s Rob Jebb and Paul Oldham, with Paul taking the race win for the second year running in a time of 2 hours, 58 minutes and 30 seconds, with Rob just 35 seconds behind, with fellow Hope Factory Racer completing the near domination by finishing in 4th place. The gap between Team WNT and Hope Factory Racing may still be wide on the mountains of north Yorkshire, but the working relationship remains close, with Team WNT making full use of Hope Technology Equipment to ensure their bikes were up to the rigours of the race. The parts produced by Hope Technology similarly rely on the cutting tools supplied by WNT to ensure they are manufactured to the highest standards.
“This has to be one of the toughest, most arduous races in the world of cyclo-cross and it pushes man, woman, and machine to their limits. We are proud to have been able to participate and to put up such a strong performance. Congratulations go to Hope Factory racing for their support and success in the race and also to the organisers of this magnificent event,” says Claude Sun, Global Managing Director of WNT.
This was the 54th running of the Three Peaks Cyclo Cross which talks in the iconic ‘Three Peaks’ of Pen-y-ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside in the Yorkshire Dales. The walking route is a mere 24 miles long, but for the cyclists an additional 14 miles is added. The route includes 20 miles (33 kilometres) of unpaved/dirt tracks of which four miles (8 kilometres) are deemed un-rideable! The total climbing involved is 5000 feet (1524 metres) and just to add a bit of added difficulty there is the famous Yorkshire weather to contend with, which can change from one minute to the next. The race was started following the exploits of a 14 year-old Yorkshire schoolboy, Kevin Watson, who was the first person to cycle the Three Peaks. More details of the race and results can be found at www.3peakscyclocross.org.uk