Spring Chicken Road Race
Saturday 10th March saw my first race of the season along with the freshly rejuvenated HWCC race team. Eager to kick off our road race seasons we were all motivated to see where the form is at and try to begin the season as we mean to go on.
The race took in just over 3 laps of a flat/rolling circuit near to Buckingham. There was a southerly wind which after the first lap made it clear any form of break was going to be difficult to stick. The race began with a few people going up the roads in ones and twos however nothing gained any significant amount of time, all being bought back after not too long away. I was keen to be either in the move or keep it together so was pretty active at the front of the race throughout having a few digs but feeling like a marked man for much of the race. Sam launched a big attack going up a drag and got a slight gap on the field but this was prematurely ended by his chain slipping off the front ring which meant he had to stop pedalling to get it back on, and after this happened an additional two times he was forced to stop and put it back on, which when it was just before the bell meant the bunch was quickly away from him so chasing back on was pretty much impossible.We looked at his bike the next day and realised his chain was massively stretched so whenever he put down some big watts it just slipped off; chain replaced and no doubt he will be tearing it up in his next race.
Going into the second lap a HWCC jersey came alongside me near the front, a face I did not recognise and so after a quick chat and hello it became apparent this was Huw (Richards) who has recently joined the club and I had only been in contact with him via social media. Our exchange did not last long however as Huw had clearly heard enough from me and got bored of the bunch and so in a matter of seconds shot up the road and quickly gained a 20-30 second advantage on his own. I and all the other HWCC riders were happy to let him go and so began patrolling the front covering any moves and not putting in any effort to bring him back. We took the bell with Huw still at a slender lead of 15-20 seconds but once some final attacks started coming out of the bunch he was bridged to and later bought back to the bunch, a mega effort and what a way to introduce yourself to your new team mates!
With the (depleted) bunch all back together the pace was high for the run in to the finish, with attacks coming thick and fast but nothing was going to stick with the inevitable bunch sprint looming. The run in to the finish was quick with it being difficult to hold your position due to the road being fairly winding, but I found myself in the top few wheels and managed to release a slightly delayed sprint to come across in 4th only a wheel length off the win and finishing fast. Bob McGlue got boxed in the final kick for the line, unable to get out the saddle to sprint but coming across in 11th place, with Jamie closely followed in 13th and Huw in 23rd.
A great first outing for HWCC animating the race throughout and being in or covering any moves that were heading up the road. If it were a pro race with TV coverage the sponsors would certainly of got their moneys worth!
Report by Ollie Hucks
Roy Thame Cup
The Roy Thame Cup is open to Elite, Cat 1 and 2 riders and HWCC had one entry, Dan Shoobridge; in his first Cat 2 race.
The race attracted some big teams including Madison Genesis, Team KTM, Nuun Sigma Sports and Spirit Tifosi, so Dan was in some very good company. However, not all things work out as they should and with all the prep and roll out complete Dan's day came to a premature end as he crashed out on the first lap. A frustrating end to the days racing for Dan but thankfully no long term damage to rider or bike and no doubt better things are in store.
The race was ultimately won by Rupert Graham of Spirit Tifosi Racing Team, who after breaking away on the fourth lap finished a country mile ahead of second place Douglas Coleman also of Spirit Tifosi. Third place honours went to Russel Downing of Holdsworth Pro racing; I said there were some big teams out there!