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Yorkshire Grit – Team WNT has what it takes


Billed as the toughest and biggest Cyclo-Cross event in the UK, possibly in the world, the annual Three Peaks Cyclo Cross race had its 53rd running on the 28th September and the challenge proved too much of a temptation for the a team from WNT Germany to resist. Led by Claude Sun, WNT’s Worldwide Managing Director the six members of the WNT team were determined to take on the (in)famous three peaks and return with highly respectable times.

If walking the iconic Three Peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside in the Yorkshire Dales, it is a 24 mile route which experienced fell walkers can complete in 12 hours. For the Cyclo-Crossers that route is extended to 38 miles, (61 kms) of which 20 miles (33 kms) are unpaved and four miles (8 kms) are deemed unrideable! In between there is the small matter of 5000 feet (1524 metres) of climbing to overcome as well, with the elite riders finishing in under 3 hours 30 minutes.

The race (www.3peakscyclocross.org.uk/) was founded on the exploits of a 14 year-old Yorkshire schoolboy, Kevin Watson, who was the first person to cycle the Three Peaks, on completion of his ride, in typical Yorkshire understatement he said: “Whernside was hard going and the stretch from Ingleborough summit to Horton was a bit tricky, but Pen-y-ghent was fairly easy.” The 1000s of cyclists that have followed in his tyre tracks may have different thoughts.  To ensure that Team WNT was fully prepared for the event they visited cycle equipment manufacturer, and customer, Hope Technology in the lead up to the event, as Team WNT was making use of Hope Technology cyclo-cross bikes (www.hopetech.com/) in line with Hope Factory Racing Hope Technology’s own Team, who are veterans at this event, with Hope Rob Jebb having won the race in 2013 and 2014. This year he had to settle for second behind teammate Paul Oldham. “The partnership between WNT and Hope Technology is working really well with Hope supporting our road racing ambitions as well as events such as this, with WNT ensuring that Hope’s machine shop runs as efficiently as possible with the latest cutting tool developments and applications advice,” says Claude Sun.

Knowing that their equipment was in ‘peak’ condition, Team WNT headed for the start line at Helwith Bridge, along with the other 650 competitors. As the start time of 9:30 arrived there was no time for negativity and Claude Sun, Tobias Baur, Thomas Schneider, Mirko Pfau, Peter Presslauer and Florian Presslauer set off to take on the first peak of Ingleborough, followed by Whernside and finally Pen-y-ghent before return, as tradition dictates to Helwith Bridge and the completion of a challenge of a lifetime.            

With the race complete it was time to gather the results and the race organisers break down the finishers into four categories, awarding certificates accordingly. These are Elite Class (with a finish time of under 3 hours 30 minutes); 1st Class (with a finish time of under 4 hours), 2nd class (with a finish time of under 5 hours) and Merit (for all other finishers). A remarkable effort by Team WNT in its first participation saw them come home in 7th place overall, with two riders Peter Presslauer (3:31.32) and Mirko Pfau (3:35.37) just missing out on Elite Class certificates. The other team members all achieved 1st or 2nd class certificates with the following times: Thomas Schneider (3:59.07); Florian Presslauer (3:59.34); Claude Sun (4:43.57) and Tobias Baur (4:43.58).