Today saw our guys in action in both races of the Velo29 winter series at Croft. First, here’s a report from Will Haynes, in the E/1/2/3 race.
It was a handicapped race with the 4th and 3rd category riders heading off with a 2 minute advantage on the 12 or so 2nd cats and 1 lonely elite rider. We got organised pretty quickly and everyone seemed happy to work and not attack until wed pulled back the lead group. We caught them on the finishing straight of lap 5 or 6, (cant quite remember) and from then on the racing really started. The attacks started coming thick and fast and the pace would be up and down from 30kph to 30mph, everyone was watching everything it seemed and there were a lot of fresh legs in the group.
With a strong north easterly wind positioning was crucial on the bottom half of the course and finally at the end of the 12th lap Kit Gilham, the 1 elite rider, drifted off the front and nobody seemed to fancy chasing. So I attacked and got clear of the bunch and got onto his back wheel. We were a group of 2 for about another 30 seconds as a few rider back in the bunch spotted we were extending our gap and managed to bridge across making it a group of 4 with 2 to go. We worked hard for a lap and pulled out about a 20 second advantage over the main group. On the last lap we eased off a little with the sprint in mind but we could see the bunch chasing hard so we couldnt take it too easy. Somehow I ended up on the front leading out the sprint and having done a lot of work earlier and in the break I knew I just didnt have it for the sprint and sure enough with 200m to go the three other riders came past and there wasnt much I could do about it. Pretty happy overall though with it being my first road race in over a year due to injury and with the same injury, (now on the other side), having disrupted my training throughout January and February. I cant complain.
And Pete Hudson, on the 4th cat race
Rich Abraham, Ben Crone (DUCC alumnus) and myself (Peter Hudson) took the tarmac for the final event of Velo29′s Winter Series at Croft Motor Circuit, near Darlington. The race took place under grey skies with a brisk but manageable 10mph wind following the riders up the finishing straight.
Rich and I spent the early stages of the race in the first few wheels of the bunch, keeping the tempo high and countering the few breaks that we attempted. The pace slowed and then picked up again for the 4th lap prime. We were all fairly boxed in and weren’t in a good position to contest the sprint, but one rider made the most of the briefly broken field and decided to go for the breakaway.
Over the next three laps, the pace was kept high and gradually the lone rider was reeled in. But with a mistake on the official lap counter, what we thought should’ve been the final lap was still marked out as two to go. The pace slackened on the back straight as the peloton decided that it wasn’t the final lap, and the breakaway was safely away again. Coming through for the bell, all the riders were jockeying for position. One man hit the tarmac out of the hairpin in the slightly damp conditions, but the bunch negotiated this safely. Rich did an awesome job on the front preventing anyone from jumping away. Unfortunately I found myself on the wrong side of the track as faster riders came up from behind through the chicane. Avoiding one rider drifting across the bend by taking to the inside of the rumble strips, I went the long way round and started to sprint early. Although making up ground all the way, I only managed 7th – still one point of 3rd Cat!