Another busy week of hard racing for Durham Uni – AURA Cycles has lead to some more excellent results for the team. It has also been great to see 10 different riders racing this week, a clear indication of the strength in depth and the progression the club has made this season.
Will Haynes and Andy Miles were again in action down at Croft on Tuesday evening for the TLI pursuit series. A tough race saw both Durham riders in the thick of the action and on the offensive, however with a strong field of riders nothing was getting away. The results were decided in a bunch sprint after a few hectic laps of jockeying for position. Both Haynes and Miles missed out on the top ten but were happy nonetheless with a strong showing and some solid race speed in the legs.
Sam Walsh joined Miles and Haynes for the TLI Newburn Crits on Thursday evening in Newcastle, again run as a 40 lap points race. The Durham riders were well marked throughout after Will’s victory the previous week, and a break never looked likely to succeed. Instead, it was left to the powerful sprinters to mop up the majority of the points, although consistent riding by Haynes saw him pick up a few minor placings throughout the race. Some strong teamwork also contributed to Will bagging the final sprint after a good leadout by Walsh and Miles. A great team performance that saw Haynes finish the race in 4th place, only a single point off 3rd.
On Saturday, the North-East Criterium League returned to Hetton, with a 30mins 4th cat race followed by the 3rd/4th cats. Representing Durham in the first race were Kat Broadbent, Matt Leake, Rory Macleod and Matt Parry. Leake was unlucky to puncture early on, whilst Kat had a solid ride to hang with the bunch for most of the race. In a brilliant sprint up the finishing straight the remaining Durham riders narrowly missed out on the win and had to settle for 2nd (Rory) and 3rd (Matt), two very good results.
Alex Clayton, Pete Hudson, Matt Leake and Andy Miles were racing the 3rd cat race, with all riders keen to get some more points on the board. Durham were attacking from the off, before Miles managed to get away about half way through with Mike Bell of MTS. After working well together for a few laps, Andy then attacked again and soloed to a well deserved victory. Great teamwork from behind saw Clayton, Hudson and Leake blocking any dangerous counter-moves. Pete was unlucky to puncture towards the end of the race, whilst Alex (6th) and Matt (8th) bagged top-ten results in the final sprint.
A strong Durham team competed in the prestigious Ballantyne Memorial Trophy Road Race on Sunday, a very tough 3rd/4th cat race around Northumberland. Attracting some of the top 3rd cat riders from the North-East and Scotland a hard race was on the cards. The four Durham riders racing were Rich Abraham, Alex Clayton, Nathan Edwards and Andy Miles. Edwards suffered a nasty crash early on but thankfully sustained no serious injuries, and worked well in a small group to the finish. Miles rode an aggressive race throughout, initially in an early break bought back at half way, and then in a solo effort to bridge up to the leading break. Unfortunately he didn’t quite make it across and was joined by a select group on the final climb of the day, which included Clayton. This group worked well together to the end, finishing about 1.30mins behind the leading trio. Miles claimed a respectable 5th whilst Clayton came home 13th on the same time. Abraham rode a good race to stay with the peloton until the last few climbs and eventually rolled home about 5mins down.
This week will see riders in action at Croft, Newburn and then a return to Northumberland for a tough Reg. A road race on Sunday. The Durham Uni – AURA Cycles riders will hope to build on this successful week and pick up some more good results.