East London artist Matthew Webber races at the highest level in the UK. His ‘cyclocross story’ reveals that the seeds were sown very early, yet he is a relative newcomer to the sport. He’s made a rapid rise as the sport drew him further in. Here’s his story. Photos: Phil Moran.
It’S been four years since my first cyclocross race, but probably about 30 years since the sport first captured my imagination. I remember watching a ‘cross race on Grandstand at my Nan’s house one wet, wintery weekend, then heading out on my beloved Raleigh Chopper to try and recreate the event on the farm track that circled her house. My first ‘proper’ racing bike spent more time on mud than on tarmac, and our back garden had a permanent figure-of-eight worn into the grass around my Dad’s flowerbeds, eroded by my tyres as I timed my garden laps.
Lining up at Davy Down, in Essex to the east of London, in 2010, I felt the same surge of excitement that I had experienced all those years ago. With the smell of wet grass and bike lube in my nostrils and an hour of flat out riding ahead, I started the race at the back of the grid and made my way up to eighth place, thrashing my hastily constructed ‘Franken-bike’ round a course that remains a firm favourite. Read more