Winter Series from Rider Coaching


With the influence of SPOTY winner Bradley Wiggins and Sir Chris Hoy, 2012 has been an excellent year for British Cycling and it would seem that it has influenced more people to take to pedal power, with some using cycling to push their bodies through new feats of endurance.

Regularly training on your bike it’s good fun; however, as you get fitter you want to pit your new-found strength, stamina and tenacity against fellow competitors as well as the terrain. To allow people to race there has to be the events for them to do so and that is where organisations such as Rider Coaching come in. These good people are running a series of exciting events at a number of venues across South Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire throughout the winter that provide challenging competition to both the seasoned club racer and new comers alike to competitive mountain bike racing.

The competition is fierce, the terrain severe and conditions challenging,making the experience memorable. With the five scheduled rounds within the winter series each featuring two competition options: a two or four hour enduro race aimed at elite and novice bikers alike.

Round 1 was held in November at the Rother Valley Country Park, South Yorkshire, with sponsorship provided by ‘Accelerade Performance Products’ ( and it was to be the conditions that provided the main challenge to the riders, as the previous 24 hours had seen no less than 40mm of rainfall. As a consequence, the organisers were faced with the prospect of cancelling the entire event at the eleventh hour due to the river bursting its banks and causing one section to be knee-high in water; however, with a large dose of good ol’ British stoicism the organisers re-routed part of the course and after a huge effort, round 1 of the Rider Coaching MTB winter series was started by the Mayor of Rotherham at 11am.

The four-mile course took in fierce climbs, fast descents and technical sections mostly on single-track, all made more difficult due to the muddy conditions, however this did nothing to dampen the spirits of the competitors and after the first lap the smiles on faces indicated that they may have actually been enjoying themselves.

Unfortunately, as the day wore on the conditions took their toll on man, woman and machine and as the races came to an end there was only a handful of competitors left.

The complete results for the first Round 1 can be found at

The venue for round 2 was at Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire. On this occasion the conditions were drier and much improved on the first event. In fact as the day was forecast to be pleasant and sunny there was a last minute rush of entries with a smattering of festive antlers creatively attached to helmets and one intrepid couple entering the race on a tandem MTB.

The forest path terrain was excellent for racing and as the course included less of the severe hill climbs of the first event it made the race a much faster prospect for the competitors as it wound its way through the towering firs with their fallen branches providing natural obstacles. As the race got underway, to the sound of Christmas hits blaring from the HQ’s sound systems, the quickest of the riders quickly established a good lead with the constant encourage

As dusk started to fall and the doors of the social club welcomed the weary riders in to a warm and welcoming environment and judging from the smiles, the banter and the happy camaraderie, all had an excellent day.

The final results for the Clumber Park event can be seen at

Copy by S Gresty

Photography by D Thorburn, Collin Greenough, C Ashmore, S Gresty, M Ludbrook


Tour of Britain Comes to Derbyshire

Tour of Britain in the Peak District

After an amazing summer of sport, highlighted by the success of British cycling this year, it seemed only natural for the sportsshots team to cover the Tour of Britain as it weaved it's way through the surrounding counties and onto the roads Derbyshire.
With a strong field including crowd puller, Bradley Wiggins, the first Brit to ever win the Tour de France and the ‘Manx Missile’, Mark Cavendish who was proudly wearing the World Champion’s rainbow jersey.

The tour thundered into the Peak District twice on the 8 day tour, providing some gruelling hills climbs and classic sprints. Stage two returned to Nottingham, a favourite Tour venue, for the start of the 180.7km stage that finished in Knowsley Safari Park, the Tour of Britain returning to Merseyside for the first time since 2008.

It was a stage of two halves. The riders first tackling the hills and dales of the Peak District before riding out onto the flat roads and lanes of the Cheshire plain, ensuring an exciting bunch sprint finish for a second successive day. As the tour made it’s way through the picturesque Derbyshire towns and villages of Duffield, Ashbourne and Fenny Bentley, it crossed the River Dove before ascending the King of the Mountains climb of Alstonfield and then onto Hulme End and the Manifold Valley.

The riders then raced into Staffordshire, where they would return for stage 5, before a fast descent onto the flatlands of Cheshire before sweeping into Knowsley, the ancestral home of the Earl of Derby.

As the finishing line grew nearer, Wiggins was leading the peleton and the Tour de France champion and it looked as if he was set to join forces with Cavendish for the win. But it was not to be, as it was Sky’s Luke Rowe who took on the lead out duties for Cavendish but the Manx man got boxed in leaving Orica/GreenEDGE’s Leigh Howard to take the stage.

The Peak District proves to much for the Manx Missile

The day dawned bright as the Tour moved to Stoke-on-Trent for Stage 5 - a round trip of the Staffordshire Peak District finishing only 5½ miles away in the Hanley town centre.

Having won stages 3 and 4, Sky’s Mark Cavendish held a slender lead in the General Classification of 6 seconds on Orica/GreenEDGE’s Leigh Howard who won stage 2; however, stage 5 was to prove the undoing of Team Sky.

Tour of Britain in the Peak DistrictTour of Britain.The Peak District leaves Mark Cavendish TrailingShortly after leaving the Italian Gardens in Stoke’s stunning Trentham Estate the Manx Missile was left behind a breakaway of 27 riders which included Howard. Cavendish’s team-mate Bradley Wiggins quickly gave chase but then bizarrely dropped back to wait and try to pull the flagging Cavendish back to the lead group.

By the time the riders had climbed up to Morridge and onto the windy moorlandtops, Wiggo and Cav. were around three minutes and 20 seconds back with little chance of defending the Manxman’s yellow jersey.

As the tour streaked towards the finish, a crash on a sharp bend with 10 km to go brought down a number of riders including UnitedHealthcare rider Marc de Maar; however the Dutch rider quickly remounted his bike and made the ride of his life to catch the lead group with only 2km to go. With the finishing line in sight DeMaar seized on some indecisiveness, saw a gap and launched an attack which clinched him a brilliant stage win.

Photography by M Ludbrook, D Thorburn, S Gresty.

Copy by S Gresty, M Ludbrook


Hope Valley Mountain Bike Challenge

15th Sept 2012

Well today was a first for two reasons, one I have just photographed a Mountain Bike event and second, it’s the first time I have written something for the web site.

What does a photographer do on a day off? Put his feet up? Stay in bed? No, not a bit of it. Fresh from photographing the Stoke stage of the Tour of Britain you would think I would have had my fill of cycling, but at some ungodly hour I found myself looking for a field somewhere above Hope village, where I eventually found a large group of suitably clad and equipped mountain bikers who all seemed remarkably 'chipper' considering what they were about to put themselves through - something the organisers called "...a long and demanding predominately off road event", to be honest, that doesn't tell the half of it!!!

The Hope Valley Mountain Bike Challenge, was organised by HVMBC at Hope Valley College. It is an annual charitable event where all the proceeds are split between Hope Valley College PTFA and local charities and currently in its 12th year.

The Challenge had two route options: a 28 mile gruelling ride for the experienced riders and for lesser mortals, a shorter distance of some 14 miles in distance, both taking in some extraordinarily beautiful countryside including “The Beast” - Jaggers Clough in Edale, then up Jacobs Ladder en-route to Hayfield returning via Rushup Edge. Phew, that is tough!

The quicker riders in the 14 mile challenge of the two distances covered the distance in a respectable time of 2H 19M with Tim Meadows being the first past the post, the 28 mile stage taking 3H 17M by Chay Granby. The emphasis, however, was on the event being a personal challenge to each and every rider leaving the field spread out along the highways and byways. There were check points at various stages en route where riders could not only get their breath back, but also partake in the abundance of cakes and biscuits provided. I was informed by some of the riders that reason for this was to replace their energy - thanks to the marshals who kept a certain photographer full of energy.

It was evident through the day that everyone who I met had enjoyed the day as the smiles that I saw in the morning were still there at the finish in Hope. (Or perhaps they were grimaces?)

Well done to the organisers, the volunteers, riders and whoever ordered the unusually good weather.

I will leave the last word with a rider I met at the finish, ”I am bl***y knackered, but what a day! Is it on next year?”


Words and Images by D Thorburn

Edited by S Gresty


Festival of Cycling comes to Thorsby park

Report May 2012

The setting could not have been much grander for the second Pennies in the Park event. Stately Thoresby Hall in north Nottinghamshire provided a stunning backdrop for the occasion which, unlike the inaugural Penny in Matlock last September, was extended over two days.

Another key difference was the pitting of different styles of bike against one another.


Those races provided intriguing and occasionally nail-biting contests as state-of-the-art unicycles slalomed along the park's avenues side by side with the historic high wheelers to prove which design was the swifter.


The Retford Times has perhaps never been so quickly delivered as it was during the paperboy race which attracted some entrants for whom a newspaper round may now be a fading memory.


At the other end of the generational scale, British Cycling's Go Ride coaches provided youngsters with some top tips for tackling a meandering course over grass and for powering down the straights on Tarmac. 


But of course, the main event was the hour long penny farthing race on Sunday. 


In Matlock the course had been just a few hundred yards long with the tightest of turns, with the crowd only feet from the competitors. This year's event made the most of the wide Thoresby vista; inclines, bridges and all. It even swung through neighbouring Perlethorpe. 


Richard Thoday, organiser of the Matlock event, had been pipped at the post on home soil. This time around he was a comfortable winner by some distance, completing nine circuits as the race reached the hour mark.


The spirit of the event was etched in the faces of the competitors as they crossed the line. The most notable finish was by a bloodied Karl Webster, another Matlock Cycling Club member, whose bike had suffered what can only be described as a Victorian mechanical issue, unseating him from its great height.  Despite the bumps and bruises, he crossed the line on foot, wheel in one hand and frame in the other.


But the biggest smile was on the face of organiser Graeme Waters, of the Retford Wheelers club. Perhaps it was partly relief at the end of such a gruelling race, but it could also deservedly be for a job well done to have kept the high-wheeling revival ticking along very nicely indeed.


More feature images and a short film  from the event to follow and also check out the image galley from the event using the link below

Feature by Rob James

Images by M Ludbrook, D Thorburn

Film (to follow) by Rob Leake

Lucy Garner Promotes Pennies in the Park that moves to Thoresby Park for the Festival of Cycling


Lucy Garner Promotes Pennies in the ParkLucy GarnerLucy Garner Promotes Pennies in the ParkLucy Garner pennies in the parkLucy Garner pennies in the parkLLucy Garner nails the shotucy Garner, 2011 Junior World Champion at the UCI World Championships visited Thoresby Hall to help promote the 2012 Pennies in the Park recently.

Sportsshots have again been asked to be the official photographers for this years Pennies in the Park.

Matlock hosted the 1st ever pennies in the park with huge success in 2011 with large crowds visiting the Derbyshire Town. Matlock rider and organizer of the first event Richard Thoday has now handed the race event to cycling buddy Graeme Waters who will host this years Pennies in the Park at Thoresby Park 0n the 19th and 20th May 2012. Lucy a member of Leicestershire cycling club came along and took a penny farthing for a spin to help promote what should prove to be a wonderful weekend of cycling with many disciplines on display.Lucy herself is no stranger to a penny farthing although due to a busy schedule had not ridden one for some time. The penny farthing that stood almost as tall as Lucy was built in Czechoslovakia and was reported to be of some considerable value.

Lucy not only became UCI Junior World Champion but was selected also to be part of the British team at the Commonwealth Games held in the Isles of Man where she took Gold in the Road Race.Lucy Garner behind the scenesLucy Garner behind the scenesLucy Garner behind the scenesLucy Garner behind the scenesLucy Garner behind the scenes with sportsshotsLucy Garner behind the scenes with sportsshotsLucy Garner behind the scenes with sportsshotsLucy Garner behind the scenes with sportsshots

Lucy heads off now to continue training ready for a fantastic year ahead of her, where she is part of the Olympic Development Programme.


To the right New Photos reveal a behind the scenes view of the pennies in the park promo photo shoot with Lucy Garner


Previous news & press release on sportsshots
Continue Below





The succsess of the rcent Pennies in the Park at Matlock  this year is to be repeated in the neighbouring county of Nottinghamshire at Thoresby Park, The event will be held over two days so as to make way to some new support events,and as we are led to believe some that have never to have been tried before.

Sportsshots are in talks with the organizers about providing media coverage of the event and hopefully will be bringing you the lastest news on the event as we get it.

Any sponsors wishing to get involved in Pennies in the Park should contact Graeme Waters for further information

For more information on the event please read the press release below


Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th May 2012

On May 19th-20th 2012 there is the first Festival of Cycling to be held at Thoresby Park North Nottinghamshire.

This event is being held in the beautiful historicThoresby Park and Courtyard and aims to be a celebration of all things cycling.

The Festival is a combination of events and will include Youth and Senior Circuit racing, `Go Ride` Racing, Grass Track Racing, trade stands, vintage bikes and the feature races for the Unicycle and Penny farthing bicycles.

There will be an attempt to try out a `penny stack` [a row of penny farthings static side by side with riders held for 3 minutes]


There will be other feature events including `roller racing` a proposed `paperboy` race and during Saturday evening a barn dance and hog roast.


This will be an opportunity for families,cyclists and non cyclists to witness what is anticipated to be a special unique friendly and exciting atmosphere.


"To see Unicyclists and Penny Farthing racing is enthralling and exciting" said organiser Graeme Waters the Chairman of the promoting Club Retford and District Wheelers Cycling Club.


In addition there will be quality food stalls who normally attend the Thoresby foodfest.
"Our stallholders are local, with the vast majority coming from Nottinghamshire and the surrounding counties", said organiser Alison Lowe of Nottingham-based Adelanta Events. "Our aim is to promote local companies and products, helping visitors to be aware of just what a fantastic array of produce we have in this region".

Running from 9.30a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, the Festival of Cycling will be located on Thoresby lawns with the racing taking place on the private estate roads that pass the beautiful Thoresby Hall and also within Thoresby Courtyard that has its own uniques shops including the Gallery all run by the StoneBridge Trust who are supporting and allowing this event to take place.

There will be `have a go` events including `Go Ride` racing for the youngsters and an opportunity to see close up original and modern Penny Farthing machines and some vintage bikes in action.


Admission to the event is free with free parking at Thoresby.

The event Charity is the Notts and Lincolnshire Air Ambulance


Entry to the cycling racing events is through application on either the British Cycling website for the Circuit and Grass Track Racing

Entry to other events will be through application on the event website


The event  has still to locate a title sponsor but is being supported by The Stonebridge Trust, Ashfield Training Solutions, Bassetlaw District Council, David Fowkes Jewellery,Retford, Matlock, Derby and Heanor Cycling Clubs and other volunteers.

For further information, please see the website

Graeme Waters



Trial this for size

Report March 2012

There's nothing like a gentle cycle through the woods, and this, as Rob Leake's photos prove, is nothing like a gentle cycle through the woods.

You've probably heard of trial biking, but we normally associate it with motorcycles

This event, held at Bracken Rocks at Holloway, near Matlock, was all about pedal power rather than horse power. The same principles apply, though; make your way around a two-lap eight-section course without putting a foot down. Each time you do place your sole on terra firma, you incur a five point penalty.

The rider with the least points against their name at the end of the event is the winner.

Bracken Rocks hasn't earned its name for nothing. It is strewn with mossy boulders that provide the perfect props for proving your pedalling prowess.

It wasn't your common or garden cyclist pitting their wits against the terrain either. 

Around 60 or the UK's most talented bikers were in Derbyshire for what was in fact the opening round of the British Trials Cup, run by the Biketrial Federation in association with British Cycling, 3SIXTY and Onza Bikes.

And just to prove the quality of the field, the Elite category was won by a world champion, no less, in the shape of Yorkshire's Jack Carthy.

For a detailed report on the event, check out this link

But before you do, spend a little more time on the site and admire how Rob's old school mastery of the manual focus has captured the skill, the control and the balance needed to be top of this particular game.

Report by Rob James

Photos by Rob Leake


Notts & Derby League Cyclocross Closes the 2011 Season at Thornbridge

Report Jan 2012 (event 31Dec 2011)



It was soggy terrain for the final cyclocross race of 2011 Nottingham and Derby league. The weather held but the ground was already waterlogged from the deluge of rain over the past few weeks. Thornbridge was the venue and the Lee Shunburne (course designer & event organiser) course was described as short but technical by the riders that braved the Derbyshire Peak District on New Years Eve.


Some big names in the sport were present taking the opportunity of one final race of 2011. Local legend, ex-Senior and current Veteran national champion Nick Craig (Scott) was victorious in the race. A field of 179 in the main race was led away by David Fletcher (Boardman Elite) and Tom Last (Sigma Sport) with Craig down in around 5th place. By lap two Craig had got across to and past Last and was chasing hard to catch Fletcher, which he did by lap 3. They stayed together for a while but as the course cut up further Craig came into his own and was able to pull away by lap, employing his usual technique of taking lines that few others use in order to find traction.

By the end of the race he had pulled his advantage out to 46 seconds over Fletcher and 1-21 to Last. After a steady start Zepnat's Jim Bryan rode through the field to 4th place, 2-09 behind Craig.

On a day with a top-class field (ex national champion Ian Bibby was a non-finisher with mechanical troubles), Notts and Derby league regulars found themselves a little further down the order than usual, the first of these being Andy Naylor (Ashfield RC) in 9th followed by Chris Metcalfe (Charge Bikes) in 10th, just behind another local Pete Middleton (Zepnat) in 8th.

Annie Last (Boardman Elite) took an anticipated victory for the women's honours, using all her technical ability to finish 28th overall after a recent break from training and competition.

The Final Results are:-


Nick Craig (Scott) 9 laps in 52-17


David Fletcher (Boardman Elite) @46"


Tom Last (Sigma Sport) @ 1-21


Jim Bryan (Zepnat) @ 2-09


Lee Westwood  (Cycleshack) @3-35


Alex Welburn (Cycleshack) @4-25


Jack Humphreys (Wheelbase Cannondale) @5-12


Pete Middleton (Zepnat) @5-26


Andy Naylor (Ashfield RC) @5-42


Chris Metcalfe (Charge Bikes) @ 5-54


Women: Annie Last (Boardman Elite). Juniors: Alex Welburn (Cycleshack).


For images from al the days racing go to gallery pages or click on link


In the preceding Youth race, James Shaw (Heanor Clarion) continued his current run of good form, finishing 24 seconds in front of the visiting Billy Harding (Paul Milnes Cycles) and Dylan Robson (Rhos-on-Sea) after 24 minutes of racing. Arthur Green of the promoting club took 4th and Sarah Lomas, also of Matlock, was the first girl.


Top 5 


James Shaw (Heanor Clarion) 5 laps in 23-56


Billy Harding (Paul Milnes Cycles) @24"


Dylan Robson (Rhos-on-Sea) @44"


Arthur Green (Matlock CC) @1-20


Thomas Craig (Scott) @1-55


Girls: Sarah Lomas (Matlock CC). Under-14s: William Gascoyne (Matlock CC). Under-14 girls: Jess Willett (Heanor Clarion).




1 Sol Kerfoot-Robson (Rhos on Sea CC) 7 laps in 14-32
2 Jenson Young (Pedalsport CC) @ same time
3 John Webster (Matlock CC) @ same time
Girls: Poppy Wildman (Nottingham Clarion).




1 Ben Chilton (Derby Mercury RC) 4 laps in 7:05
2 Alex Colston-Shield (Lichfield City CC) @ 1sec
3 Libby Smith (Matlock CC) @ 24sec
Girls: Libby Smith.


For images from al the days racing go to gallery pages or click on link






Images by M Ludbrook & D Thorburn of sportsshots. Words by M Ludbrook and L Shunburne



Classic bikes battle it out in park centenary event

Report Sept 2011




A thrilling sprint finish was the fitting finale to a cycle race that truly was a blast from the past.


Probably a century after their like had last been spotted in Matlock’s Hall Leys Park, fourteen penny farthings hurtled along its leafy avenues at up to 20 mph for an hour on Sunday 11 September 2011, until a three-way bid for a historic victory was decided in the final few yards.


With five minutes of the race to go, Pennies in the Park organiser Richard Thoday, resplendent in bow tie, dress shirt, cords and brogues, made a burst for the front, hoping to snatch what would have been a very popular victory ahead of his lycra-clad rivals.


But it would be Jim Brailsford, already the holder of the Knutsford Great Penny Farthing Race title for perhaps the remainder of the decade, who just pipped Worcester’s Dave Preece and Thoday, all three crossing the line to be met by tumultuous applause from a curious crowd of hundreds.


London-based Joff Summerfield, a man who has previously ridden around the world on his high-wheeler and donned an explorer’s pith helmet for Sunday’s race, was fourth, closely followed by the only female entrant, Australian Kat Jungnickel.


Afterwards, Brailsford, who was riding a restored original bike, revealed it wasn’t only his rivals he had had to do battle with on a course he declared “scary”.


“The first time round they were using the grass on the inside and the outside and I thought ‘no way, they can’t do that’. But in the end you just had to do it or you got left behind,” he said.


The grass wasn’t the only hazard.


“There was a very, very tight corner and the first time I went round there was a duck on it – foul play &

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