TEENAGE cyclo-cross rider Max Gibbons revelled in the tricky Yorkshire conditions at the latest round of the HSBC National Trophy Series, recording his best finish of the season.

Mud and snow around the Bradford circuit made life tricky for many of the riders but for the 18-year-old Ludlow Brewery Team ace, it made for a perfect day.

“Those are the sort of races I prefer,” Gibbons admitted. “There were a lot of hills and plenty of running. It was also very slippery.”

The former Ludlow School pupil, who has just completed a sports science course at Herefordshire and Ludlow College, finished 28th senior at Bradford and tenth in the u23 category having made the step up from juniors this season.

Sunday’s race was the fifth in the HSBC National Trophy Series and although Gibbons missed out on the local Shropshire round, he has improved as the season has gone on after starting with 44th place in the opening event.

Now he has his sights set on two races at the start of the new year when he hopes his training schedule will pay off. On January 7 he heads to Ipswich to compete in the final round of the series before he travels north to Tyne & Wear the following weekend for the National Championships.

“My aim is to try and finish among the top 15 u23s at the championships,” he added. “It will be a tough race because there will be a lot of riders coming back after they’ve been competing in Belgium.

“I have been riding since I was about 11 but have only taken it seriously in the last two or three years. I won the Welsh Juniors last year before moving up to u23s and after finishing at college I’m taking a year out to concentrate on my cycling – both at cyclo-cross and then into the mountain bike season.”

That dedication has seen him take a part-time job at Ludlow Brewery which helped fund a trip to Belgium where he was able to compete with some of the leading riders.