Billed as a season opener, it was always going to a hard race. Add in the fact that it was open to all categories, had a £500 prize fund and was raced on the pan flat, windy Croft Motor Racing Circuit and you’ve got yourself a really hard race.
A team of 5 Durham University – AURA Cycles riders (Andy Miles, Nathan Edwards, Richard Abraham, Matthew Leake & Pete Hudson) took to the circuit for the race, with Abraham, Leake & Hudson starting first with the 4th cats, and Miles & Edwards 1.5 minutes later with the 3rd cats.
With a cash prime being offered at the 6 lap point the 3rd cat group quickly set to work chasing the first group down. During the first couple of laps the gap stayed relatively steady until a group of about 5, including Andy and myself (Nathan), upped the pace, at one point gaining a gap on the bunch, bringing the front group back within 3.5 laps.
At this point my legs started itching for the prime, and at the end of lap 5 I soft pedalled off the front to chase down a guy whom I thought was going for a long one for the prime, as it turns out he’d gone a lap early, but it left me in a good place in the bunch to prepare for the prime. At the beginning of the last corner, a guy made a move which I immediately closed down, causing him to give up and also leaving me on the front of the bunch with nobody wanting to come round. As it was I jumped a second too late to grab the wheel of the guy who won the prime and had to settle for 3rd. Still, I won my entrance money back! After this, my race was over, I didn’t recover from my effort quick enough to hold on and rode the rest of the race in small groups or alone. Not long later Pete and then Rich joined me in doing so.
Andy & Matt rode well to stay in the main bunch but didn’t have much hope of holding on when the scratch group came through. They both finished strong in the main group.