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Back on Sunday 19th November Darren Haynes headed east to compete in Round 3 of the East Kent Cyclo Cross League.  The “Grand Prix Alex Paton” was held in the grounds of Astor School in Dover and Darren was one of 53 men over 50 to line up on the grid for their race that afternoon.  He made a good start, but soon found his choice of tyre tread and pressure weren’t ideal for the slippery mud on offer and he faded to 25th place come the conclusion of the half-dozen lap event.

The following Sunday the Challenge Tyres London and South East Cyclo-Cross League resumed with Round 9 at Hog Hill, Redbridge, promoted by Lee Valley Youth CC.  Common for racing at this time of year, particularly off-road, the course was greasy which caused a number of spills, although it dried during the 45-minute event and the main climb on the circuit was grippy tarmac.  Dan Street lined up in 10th spot on the grid for the race for men over 50, but hared off the line to lie fourth at the end of the opening lap.  An ongoing tussle for the third spot on the podium ensued, which Dan held for a couple of laps before eventually having to settle for 4th place from 43 finishers at the chequered, although this was by far his best result so far and a podium finish is surely within reach.

Darren Haynes by Pip Jones

Darren was back in action on Sunday 3rd December for the London and South East Regional Championships in the grounds of and promoted by Herne Hill Velodrome.  Perhaps due to the sub-zero conditions in the week preceding the race only twenty-one men entered the race for men over 50, but Darren was not to complain as he was granted 5th spot on the grid.  The temperature was marginally above freezing come the early-afternoon start, but it was still a bitterly cold and grey day and the thaw had left the tracks beyond the inner oval a sloppy mess with minimal traction.  Darren hung on to 6th place at the end of the first of five laps, and 7th at the conclusion of the second circuit., but slipped back to 9th the next time around.  The effect of the racers and their knobbly tyres actually dispersed some of the wet mud from the racing line as the race went on and Darren was able to consolidate that position and hold on for his maiden top-ten finish in this region.

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