TWO weeks ago Andrew Macdonald (GA Cycles) took a tumble on the opening lap of the veterans' race at the British Cyclo-cross Championships and lost his chance of matching, if not improving upon, the bronze medal he won a year earlier.

The Hedge End star (pictured) nearly fell again within a few seconds of starting the veterans' race in the fifth and final round of the National Trophy series, but luck was on his side this time as some of his principal rivals went down instead.

They included Martin Booth (Ace RT) and Paul Gilbert (Team Hed) who lost the best part of a minute untangling themselves from this mishap, by which time the overall lender, Martin Eadon (Ace RT) MacDonald, and over a dozen other riders were well away.

Gilbert abandoned shortly afterwards, but Booth took up the chase and caught Macdonald on the penultimate lap. Eadon was well clear by then to sew up the series, but the battle for second and third places on final classification was still unresolved, and Booth joined forces with MacDonald to draw away from everyone else. Booth paid for his efforts on the last circuit and "blew up", but the challenge had the opposite effect on MacDonald.

"I felt really strong then and knew I'd finish second overall, even though Chris Remnent (VC Meuden) finished second this time," he said, happy to equal his final placing in his first year as a veteran in this competition last season.

MacDonald apart, it was not a good day for Wessex League riders. Most were missing from this Ace RT promotion in Leicestershire, which ended with the national champion, Roger Hammond (Collstrop), clinching the series with his fourth successive win after missing the first through injury. He will lead the British challenge at the World Championships in the Czech Republic at the end of this week.

He and the rest of the British team will be serviced by Geoff Shergold of Southampton, now reckoned to be the leading cycle mechanic in the country who was in charge of equipment at the Paralympics in Sydney.

Shergold has been servicing British teams at the World Cyclo-cross Championships for 20 years, and is being supported at this year's title races by fellow Sotonians, Peter Hargroves, an international mechanic since 1990, and Paul Coates, who will be attending his third successive meeting.


National Trophy Cyclo-cross, Heather, Leicestershire: 1 Roger Hammond (Collstrop) 20km in 1.2.26 seconds, 2 N Craig (Diamond Back) @ 51s, 3 S Snodden (Ace RT) @ 53s, 4 P Dixon (Team Y2K) @ 1.19s, 5 O Beckinsale (Scott UK) @ 1.40s, 6 S Blunt (Team Corrideri) @ 2.31s.

Final Classification: 1 Hammond, 200pts, 2 Hunt 153, 3 D Collins (Pedal Power) 151.

Veterans' Race: 1 Martin Eadon (Ace RT) 17km in 44.33 seconds, 2 C Remnent (VC Meuden) @ 51s, 3 A MacDonald (GA Cycles) @ 56s.

Final Classification: 1 Eadon 180 pts, 2 Macdonald 150, 3 P Gilbert (Team Hed) 127.