Slideshow: Ripley Castle Cyclocross

A Cyclocross event at Ripley Castle kick-started the region’s Tour de France year.

Hundreds of cyclists braved the elements to take part in the New Year’s Day circuit.

Young cyclists at the event (s)

Young cyclists at the event (s)

Despite torrential rain throughout the day about 400 entrants tackled the cross country route which ran through the castle grounds finishing in front of the tea rooms.

Organised by Harrogate Nova Cycling Club and Ripley Castle, the event had races for all ages and abilities enabling children and beginner adults to race on the same circuit as the expert riders.

The day started with the novice adults and youngsters, followed by the children’s races which attracted over 80 participants riding a shorter but still tricky muddy course.

Late morning rain worsened the conditions for the expert senior racers who faced ploughing through deep mud to complete the circuit, which included riding through the woods with lit up trees and a ‘hidden’ disco.

Other features on the course included riding up and under a ramp, leaping over jumps, running up steps whilst carrying the bike and tackling the Ripley cobbles.

Race director Steve Smales said: “Harrogate Nova is delighted to have promoted the first cycling event of this special Tour de France year with Ripley Castle.

“The numbers of riders who have come to Ripley to take part has far exceeded our expectations and we are especially pleased to have seen so many novice adults and children come along to have go.”

The expert categories attracted top riders from across Yorkshire and beyond.

Paul Oldham, the number one ranked senior male cyclo cross rider in the UK took the expert men’s race with Abby Mae Parkinson taking the women’s race.

Other winners included: In the novice ‘Haggis Dash’ event 1st Amanda Manor, the veteran rider categories were won by Mike Simpson (MV40) Peter Harris (MV50) and Nicola Davies (FV), 18-23 was won by current national champion Billy Harding with Abby Mae Parkinson taking the female race and youth categories were won by Alfie Moses and Lucy Horrocks.

After presenting the prizes, Sir Thomas Ingilby said: “Lady Emma and myself have been thrilled to welcome so many competitors and spectators to Ripley Castle today, unfortunately we were unable to provide better weather, but the rain certainly hasn’t dampened the spirits.”