Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Murray's a Minter

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Murray's a Minter

Article excerpt

Keith Murray scored his biggest win by far on Sunday when he followed up team-mate Stuart Wearmouth last year to take the gold medal in the North of England Cyclo-Cross Championships at Northallerton.

Taking silver was evergreen professional Barrie Clarke, with Shaun Snodden, National Trophy Round winner at Hetton in 2001, in third.

With Wearmouth taking a break from competition at the moment, the reins of team-leader would normally have been expected to fall to Dave Collins, but Murray had other ideas as Collins was left behind in the initial charge from the line, led by Yorkshireman Noel Clough who quickly gained a five second lead.

It took a trio of Murray, Collins and North East series leader Gary Wearmouth to catch Clough half way round the first lap. As soon as Clough was caught, Snodden attacked then Murray, who held a slender lead for two laps until commonsense got the better of him by the end of the third and he eased up.

Clough went again and stretched his lead to 10 seconds until Snodden joined him and the pair enjoyed a couple of circuits of freedom, even adding to their lead.

By half distance Murray's trio had caught the two leaders as Snodden faltered slightly and Clough punctured. With the lead changing hands with every change in direction of the course, Murray knew that positioning in the last few hundred yards would be vital.

As the three went into the last half lap, Murray gained a few lengths up a small incline and over a flat 50 metre stretch before a set of hurdles.

A helpful shout to Murray that he had a good 50 metre gap spurred him on as he leaped over the obstacles but Clarke and Snodden soon closed in and the three lined up for the final section

With a short wooded section making overtaking difficult if not impossible, Murray held the trump card as he led into the trees and knew that all it would take was a strong acceleration to the line.

Exiting the woods first gave him all the advantage he needed, although Clarke and Snodden followed Murray as he scrapped across the line. Murray was understandably jubilant at his win, and said: "I knew I was going well at the moment, but I surprised myself with this one. …

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