Southport CC - Bickerstaffe Road Race (Regional A 2/3/4)
In the week prior to this Sundays race I wasn't thrilled to be racing. Despite starting the week with a solid 3rd at the Tameside midweek Crit i'd been feeling under the weather ever since and to make matters worse, it had rained every day and the forecast didnt show any signs of improvement. Good news though, I had a team mate for the weekend. Jon was crashing the night before the race. His only requests were a fresh towel and some milk for his protein shake so it felt like I was getting a good deal in return for some company and pre race banter for a change.
Up early on Saturday ......... NOT Sunday and we arrived in Bickerstaffe at 8am to surprisingly pleasant weather. We squeezed into the last remaining car parking space at HQ, Signed on and then had a really good look at the course during our warm up. It's flat with some left hand turns like most courses in the area with a fast flowing section down the back straight and a slight drag round to the finishing straight. Having suffered two punctures in races in April I was relieved to find that the road surface in most places was excellent, with the exception of a few small pot holes (marked by the organiser) and lots of cow shit!
Our tactics for the race had been simple. Being based in the North West and knowing which riders and teams were strong I would be the one to follow the moves leaving Jon in the bunch to what we anticipated would most likely be a bunch sprint. For much of the race this worked perfectly. I would get myself on the right side of any dangerous moves and bridge across to anythng promising but despite my best efforts and those of other attacking riders nobody established anything more than a short lived gap of 15/20 seconds. As the race went on and following another failed break attempt I settled back into the bunch to take a breather and have a conversation with Jon.
'DEFINITELY a bunch sprint today'.
'NO WAY anything is staying away today'.......... You know where this is going!
By the time I had made my way back to the front of the bunch 4 riders had rolled off without a reaction, the bunch were not cooperating and we would eventually be sprinting for 5th and not 1st as me and Jon had so confidently predicted just moments earlier.
As the remaining laps ticked down I hadnt seen much of Jon but as we approached the final KM he nonchalantly rolls up alongside me and takes the wheel in front. This is exciting, with only one left hander to go Jon and I sit circa 6th and 7th wheel and with only 4 riders up the road 5th place is up for grabs which would be a solid result in this company. Unfortunatly the pace is not high enough and as we hit the little riser before the left hand turn I begin to be swamped on the right. It's too late for me but I scream to Jon to move right to block the path of the riders behind and take the best line into the corner. Jon does this perfectly. I have been swamped and lost several places and with only a short run into the finish line after the corner there is only one thing for it. Divebomb (sorry lads). I jump out to the left, take some wind and take a very tight line around the corner and amazingly Jon is now on my wheel and we have only lost a few places through the corner. I drive out of the corner and start to take some wind believing that I have Jon on my wheel but we have lost each other once again. I manage to get into the wheels and sprint with the first group of riders to secure 10th while Jon faids slighly before the line but digs deep to grab a top 15 for the team. Encouraging results for both of us but even better Jon is confirmed as the first 3rd Cat rider to cross the line and he's £20 better off...... Until we order our Domios Pizza later.
A really enjoyable race on what was a nice fast but safe circuit so One for the calendar again next year. Well done to all riders and many thanks to Southport CC and to all those who marshalled on the day. Thanks to Ellen for the great photos.
1 Micheal Ashurst Onimpex Bio-Racer
2 Kristian Zentek Team Chronomaster
3 Christopher Booth
4 Matt Hallam Crimson Perf.RT.
5 Lee Brown Holmfirth C.C.
6 Jake Cowen
7 Thomas Ashcroft Bott Cycle Team
8 Anthony Greenhalgh Team Chronomaster
9 Paul Wilkinson N.Chesh.Clarion
10 Ryan Ellis Thre Datawolves RT
11 Thomas Mitchell B,Head N End CC
12 David Parrington Hoppers Rollers
13 James Noonan Hoppers Rollers
14 David Price Chorlton Velo
15 Jonathon Farmer Thre Datawolves RT
Race report by Ryan Ellis
British University and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Criteriums (York Sport) - E/1/2/3
Only Ellis was in the criterium races at BUCS, Hayden preferring to save his matches for a big day on Sunday (turned out to be a good idea):
"I knew going into the weekend that my form wasn't that great so I went in with the intention of just having some fun. After attacking from the front out of the hairpin I got into a break of 5. That was brought back after a few laps and then the winning move went. The pace then got too high coming out of the corners and I popped with 20 minutes to go. I settled into a group of three and we rode the rest together, getting some good cornering practise."
BUCS Road Race Championships (Sheriff Hutton, York) (National B - E/1/2/3)
Ellis and Hayden took to the start line of the 2018 BUCS road race champs, representing the University of Southhampton and Leeds Beckett University respectively. The Sheriff Hutton circuit has been used for the last few renditions of the race, and never fails to provide a grueling test for the rides with the likes of Bulmer Bank to negotiate. The race would take in 7 laps for the a total of 77 miles/124 kilometres that would result in 1800m of elevation gain.
Following completion of the rider briefing, the usual scramble to be chomping at the bumper of the lead car ensued with riders trying to ensure they reached Bulmer bank in good position for the first time. Ellis initially found himself nestled in the bunch, whereas Hayden was sat last wheel. Everyone made it up and over the Bulmer the first time round, the pace not too hot due to some very strong wind. A number of small attacks began on the backside of the course but were quickly shut down. Ellis made the first decisive move off the front of the bunch on the fast finishing section, and was quickly joined by Hayden and Leeds Beckett team mate Billy Robinson. The trio quickly established a gap, with no willing chasers.
A lap later and Ellis drifted back to the bunch whilst Hayden pushed on with Billy for company, establishing a gap of 1 minute 17 seconds to the main bunch. The duo were joined by a trio of riders, including Sheffield Universities Archie Cross while Ellis disrupted any moves from the bunch. The quintet work well but turns became less strong with the realisation of more riders attempting to come across. Hayden made a move that would take himself clear of the rest of his breakaway companions, a bold move considering there were still 60kms to race. At it's greatest, Hayden held a gap of 39 seconds but some sporadic attacking from the chasing group closed the gap quite quickly with a lap and a half to go. Hayden slotted in the group of 15 riders that remained and proceeded to recover the best he could despite the attacks within the group. On the last ascent through Terrington village, with the bunch 4 abreast, Hayden attacked. With the chasers looking at each other, he established a significant gap entering the final cross-tail wind straight, and had done enough to take the solo victory ahead of the bunch.
Awaiting full results
Thank you too the University of York, the volunteers and marshalls for making it happen!
Chevin Cycles Evening Road Race League Round 1 - E/1/2/3/4
The first round of the league was contested on the nearly pan flat Bishopwood course, and would take in 6 laps for 35 miles of racing. Tuesday (01/05/2018) evening was particularly windy which meant there were many cross wind sections. The race is run in a handicap format and meaning 4 different groups, based on category/experience, start at 1 minute intervals. Groups typically proceed to chaingang until the groups ahead are caught and the race all comes together.
Unfortunately a few riders from the last group merged with the third group prior to the start, later disqualified, that meant the 4th group on the road didn't catch anyone. Further up the road, the third group, containing Hayden saw the front of the race with 3 laps to go. There was one solo rider out front that was being kept in sight by the group. On the last, following a tough tailwind section, Hayden attacked the rest of the group. He was able to bridge over the solo rider who had been out there for two and a half laps. In the finishing straight Hayden swung away from the other rider to take the win.
Thanks to Chevin Cycles for organising the series. Hayden looks to defend the yellow Jersey throughout the rest of May.
Result: Chevin Cycles Evening RR Series 1
1 Hayden Allen THRE Datawolves RT
2 Christophe Demoulin York Cycleworks
3 Cameron Blake Prologue Racing Team
4 Tom Cullen Otley CC
5 Toby Jarvis Team PB Performance
6 Tom Barras
7 Billy Harding
8 Harry Lee Selby CC
9 Thomas Davison J’s Cycle Shack
10 Lee Morley Ilkley Cycling Club
CTT Otley 10M TT (V212):
Hayden took 4th place with a time of 21:10 in a field of 80 riders in the Otley 10 mile TT on Saturday. The course was an 'out-and-back', and was a slight decent all the way to the halfway roundabout before a gradual drag back up to the finish line. Hayden's ride didn't get off to an ideal start with his garmin headunit turning off in the open 2kms. This lead to some suboptimal pacing on the way out that may have cost him on the way back. Eventual winner Chris Smart completed the 10M course in 20:38. Race report: https://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk/race-report/17472#anchor
Photo credit: @photography_PCS
EMRRL Round 2 - Witham on the Hill:
Race organiser - Mark Botteley
Race report - Jon Farmer
Following the successes of Hayden and Ellis at round one of the EMRRL, we decided to dedicate a four man squad to round two. It would be the first outing of the year for newcomers Nick Moore and Joel Candy; and the first time the four riders had raced together.
The plan was to see Nick and Joel represented in the early, long range moves; both being very handy in TT’s (representing UK Feather flags/ Tri RT for the 2018 TT season). Hardly a minute after the neutralised flag dropped and Nick was making a nuisance of himself, taking two riders off the front of the peloton. Attack after attack went but nothing meaningful formed. The decisive moment occurred around 50 minutes in to the race when a very heavy crash split the group. Unfortunately this led to Nick abandoning the race and Joel being distanced with too much ground to make up. Myself and Ellis managed to bridge across to the front group and were now in a reduced bunch with half the race to go.
The steep kick in to Witham had been the launch pad each lap for riders to try and attack the group. I was feeling fresh and able to respond to all of the accelerations. Until the final time up the climb (5km from the finish) resulted in my left leg cramping in several places and I was unable to contest the finish. Ellis had spotted this and was now in contention to fight it out for the sprint finish. He was well positioned in to the start of the climb but the early attacks from behind left him swamped at the finish line.
A mixed bag of fortune for the team but some very promising signs of early season form. A huge thanks to Mark Botteley for a very well organised race.
FTR Milltag Spring Classic
With the rest of the team further south, Ryan and Hayden lined up for FTR Milltag spring classic, raced on the Sharlston Common course near Wakefield. The field, 80 strong, would race 9 laps of 9km circuit. There were two key climbs each lap, one of which led to the finish line, and a technical decent sandwiched between a long exposed back side of the course.
It seems British roads have suffered this winter as a result and this course was no exception. A number of punctures struck the peloton with Ryan unfortunately a victim on lap one. The opening laps were fast with the normal small flurries off the front allowed little room. The prime at the end of lap 3 caused some action with the pace being driven up entering the finishing climb. However the cross-head wind deterred riders from continuing on, and Hayden found himself off the front driving hard and opening up a small gap. Billy Robinson (eventual 3rd place) was the only rider to come across from the main bunch. The gap went up to a maximum of 45 seconds before the bunch reeled them in with five laps to go.
Recovery was now the aim for the next 4 laps, with Hayden hovering around the middle of the bunch. On the final lap Hayden was well placed to break off with 5 other riders. It was never a done deal though with the peleton always in plain sight. At the bottom of the finishing climb, Hayden made his move. The gap was tight at the end back to the now swamped break and pack but he had done just enough for the win.
Thanks to FTR for putting on a great race and the sponsors for making it happen.
Photo credit: David Beckitt (luft.cc)
Ryan takes the win at the first round of the Tameside Circuit Tuesday night Crit series!
50 riders lined up for the first midweek race of the season at Tameside but the large bunch was soon being shredded with a number of strong riders making their way to the front to apply the pressure. Breaks came and went but as the final 3rd of the race approached a peloton of circa 35 riders were all together and with just under 15 laps to go another two riders tried their luck and built a small gap. At this point Ryan struck out and over the course of the next few laps he bridged to the two leaders only for the group to be brought back inside 10 laps to go. Having burnt a significant number of matches during the last move Ryan sat back in the group to try and conserve energy for what he thought would be a bunch sprint but when the bunch stalled with 4 laps to go Ryan jumped and a moments hesitation from the main pack was all he needed. Ryan put his head down and held off a charging peloton to take the teams first win or the season in style.
Well done Ryan
The circuit Hayden & Ellis were racing on had come down to a bunch kick up the final climb for the last few years, so going into the race Hayden didn't want to expend too much energy following early moves. He went with one on lap 2/3 but it didn't go so sat back in. With just under a lap to go, 2 strong riders chipped off the front and he knew he had to be there. Hayden promptly bridged across from the peleton, making the junction at the top of Draycott Bank. Ellis in true teammate fashion was swift to cause a nuisance at the front of the bunch and deterred the chase. The gap back to the main group went up to a minute so the last climb would be just the three breakers. Hayden thought his best chance would be to ride an even power so he took it up from the front. One rider came round him and the other was dropped. A fantastic result for Hayden finishing with a 2nd and extremely pleased to back up last weeks result. On to the FTR Milltag spring classic next weekend (15th April).
Ellis had to say the following:
Felt lethargic from the start but as sometimes happens I felt better as I got stuck in. Attacks were going for the first hour and a half, I followed a couple that looked promising but nothing stuck, then two dangerous guys went and got a gap. I saw Hayden attack to bridge and immediately made my way to the front to stall the chase. He bridged up to make it a group of three and I was doing soft turns on the front and chasing down every attack. Gap went out to a minute by the end. Was in the top 5 wheels for the whole of the run in to the final climb and was leading onto the steep section. Could not be in a more perfect position and I was feeling fresh from sitting in the last half a lap, but unfortunately a race motorbike was stopped by two cars and I had to almost stop. The result of this was i became swamped and knew I couldn’t make up the gap so rolled in easy for a low place. Frustrating as I was feeling fresh and could’ve been 2nd and 4th for the team.
Not wanting to miss out on the action this weekend, Ryan made the last minute decision to head over to the new Wakefield Circuit to see if he could make it two wins in a week. A fast aggressive race with plenty of strong riders meant any breaks were short lived and this race was always going to come down to a bunch sprint. As the pace slowed and the bunch swelled going into the last lap Ryan did well to hold position, eventually finishing in 8th following a frantic final lap. Many thanks to the guys at Huddersfield Star Wheelers for hosting a great day of racing and even arranging for the sun to come out (no arm warmers).
VC lincoln crit 3/4 - yarborough & fast & furious behind bars 3/4 - round 1 birmingham business park
A weekend of progress for Jon. Saturday saw Jon travel to Yarborough for the VC Lincoln crit - a very technical and narrow circuit. A mechanical on the front row allowed four riders to immediately form a break, three of which would stay away for the entirety of the race. Jon raced aggressively throughout and formed an early four man break to try and catch the lead group. A lack of cohesion meant that the remaining peloton would catch this break and Jon would settle for a bunch finish.
The second race of the weekend for Jon was the fast and furious Behind bars event (Round 1 @ Birmingham business park). Jon was placed at the front of the bunch from the start and followed most moves that looked promising. With two laps to go he noticed what looked like the decisive attack from a Morvello Basso and Pro Vision rider that he had to follow. The bunch also reacted to this and managed to close down the move leaving Jon spent and not able to contest position for the sprint finish. A great, aggressive weekend!