The circuit is a departure from the normal road based event and is shunned by some of the more die hard roadies because of this but it’s a great facility. I realised I’d ridden, trained and coached there (part of the Regional School of Racing and the GBTx team) but never actually raced it before. I coached a session on cornering last time - I wish some of the guys who raced last night had come along… :)
I got there early to see if I could blag a ride in the first race but the amiable Mr Goring put me straight with some choice use of direct language. Alighting to the club house only slightly disappointed, I sat down with a coffee and watched the heavens open. I was joined by the league leader Dave Starkey (Freds) resplendent in his yellow jersey and matching yellow Oakleys (he’d had them for ages apparently) and Karen Summers (Wrekinsport) the leading the woman and holder of the pink jersey. Pink – well, it’s for women innit pink. Radical and controversial colour selection by the league committee there. However, despite the hallowed company, nobody would buy us another coffee.
A good showing by Wrekinsport. Some of them had even brought bikes and kit and intended to ride the event. Not so Del and Steve whose kit and bikes stayed firmly in the car as the rain hammered down. Good to see Dave ‘Vintage’ Moore giving the league a lash for the first time this season.
Because of the restrictions of the circuit there were two races, the first one containing Groups 1 & 2. Wrekinsport presence was John Byatt, Pink Karen, Last Minute Dan, White Lines Billington and John Cooke. It should have contained Del and Steve too but it was raining and they had biscuits and tea on the go…
I was warming up watching the G1&2 race and had my money on Ben Manfield, the leading junior, to win – which he duly did. He was getting round the final 180 degree corner in better shape that most and whoever came out of there in position was going to get a result. There was a ‘slider’ in the final corner of the first race meaning some slaloming work for the rest of the bunch. Our John Cooke was up there with a 3rd place and, more to point a 3rd Cat licence and, continuing the ‘3’ theme, I suspect an overdue invitation to ride in G3 next week. Well done and welcome aboard!
Whilst warming up, the NFTO race team were chatting about the Tour series in Torquay that was on telly the night before. I mentioned I'd watched it, they mentioned they'd ridden it. It was at this point, had it not already sunk in, I knew I was screwed.
The second race, with a combined Group 4&5 starting three parts of a lap behind us in Group 3 set off in warm and pleasant sunshine. No really, it did. After 35 minutes of the usually suspects working at the front of G3 and a lot of other riders keeping their powder really really REALLY dry awaiting the inevitable arrival of the scratch group, the race came together. Another 10 minutes at that pace saw me off although I did manage to spend a few seconds on Mike Jones (Stans – Paramount) and Starkey’s wheel (just to say I had… there’s a first and a last time for everything).
I think Tim Jones (MSW) was one of the very few, if not only, rider from G3 to hang on to the race. Never afraid to put a shift in, Tim did well to stay with it and finish with the bunch.
Young Elliot Jones (Stans – Paramount) won the bunch sprint, Dad (Stans - Paramount) not far behind, I think Jacob Tipper (Halesowen) was up there too along with the NFTO crew. There are some pretty serious riders in that group – bloody quick.
Successful night for Wrekinsport really, John’s 3rd Cat licence, Karen holding the pink jersey, we all stayed upright and some of us had tea and biscuits…
More, much more, next week…