Gala cyclo-cross race takes over historic landmark

After a successful inaugural event in March, the Morvelo CityCross will return to Halifax on November 9, and this time they’ve got themselves a Grade One listed building to play in, Halifax Piece Hall.

The first CityCross was originally planned to takle place in a disused mill, but the owner withdrawing permission to use it forced a change of venue to Old Shroggs Tip, but the organisers rallied and out on a well-regarded event nevertheless. This time, they’re returning to the original building-centred idea.

Organisers Oli and Dave said: “CityCross as a format is designed so it can be taken anywhere, but not in our wildest dreams did we think it would end up in a Grade 1 listed building!”

They have free rein to use all of the Piece Hall. The only fully intact cloth hall in the UK, it was built in 1779 for the trading of locally made, hand-woven “pieces” of woollen cloth. Its original purpose disappeared with the coming of industrialisation and by 1815, the building was being used as venue for political meetings and public spectaculars.

The second CityCross will feature cobbles, kerbs, jumps, grass, barriers and racing along the illuminated corridors when it gets dark. If you get hungry you’ll be able to tuck into wood-fired pizza, hog roast, fish and chips and a wide range of beer and coffee. They'll be a Joolze Dymond photo exhibition and numerous brands on display on the third floor, which also acts as a viewing gallery.

There are categories for children, women, men, vets, seniors and novices all of which have their own races.

For full details see the CityCross website.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.