Tuesday evening saw the 2nd of the 4 event series in the Dave Astles Memorial Cheshire Series. Previously this was raced on the 5 mile circuit at Lower Withington, now the 10 mile circuit at Siddington due to the highly publicised Police restrictions on Cheshire. The evening also brought much better weather and was considerably warmer last week where we witnessed snow, hail & lightening 1 hour before the race.
It was nice to Tony Booth back on his bike following his operation, he rode out to see us and cheers us on.
There were 4 WVCC entrants in 2 of the 3 races, Jules and Iain in race one (44 and under), Mark Adshead and myself in race 2 (45-54). Kevan Underhill was initially to race, however, he wasn’t up for racing for a 4th day following his exploits in the Tour of the Abberleys over the weekend, well done Kev, so he and Iain swapped marshaling duties.
Race one got under way, and 3 minutes later Mark and I were off in race 2. The circuit is 29 miles, including the short neutral zone, there were a few attempts by various people to get away, but they failed to succeed, mainly due to the make up of the members of the break. The more I race the more tactically aware I become, of which break to chase on too and which one to leave, also when they will go, so I try and make sure I am in the right position to follow.
We crossed the finish line for the first time on a draggy rise after 8 miles, Baz James from Frodsham Wheelers then attacked, no-one was too concerned, and he was left dangling out front for a couple of miles or so, before being brought back, this was followed by a series of different attempts to get away with race favorites Nigel Kershaw and Simon Bridge being the main protagonists. There is an element of luck to get in the right break and for it to succeed. I followed a break, it failed, another one went, it also failed, immediately followed by the next go, this one got a gap, and I had manged to get in it, there were 7 of us, it contained some classy riders including Nigel, Si & Steve Davies from Onimpex, it therefore had a great chance of staying away, so with 16 miles to go we were off.
There was initially a reluctance from a number in the break to do any work, with just Bridgey, Kershaw and myself pulling through, this may have been while the others caught, but soon we were working well together though and off with the a couple missing more turns than they should along the way!!.
As we climbed the rise of Smithy Lane towards the A34 turn on the last lap, I found myself where I didn’t want to be, on the front. I knew it was going to come!!!, no-one pulled though, then bang, Kershaw and Bridgey kicked, a small gap opened, I had to put a massive effort in to try and fill the gap, 900 watts, fortunately I managed to hold it and we all came back together.
On the penultimate little rise before the finishing drag, I again found myself of the front with no one pulling through, it happened again, Kershaw and Bridgey went again, everyone went passed me, but again I had enough left to hold the last wheel. We had about a mile to go, I wasn’t going to move any up until the sprint, just sit on back. We hit the dip then and Kershaw went for the sprint, it caught Bridgey off guard as he went quite long, there was no catching him and he went on to victory, with Bridgey Taking 2nd. I came off the wheel of the Team WheelGuru, I was up to 6th, I could also see the Graham Weigh guy rocking and rolling as we approached the line, one last dig, I passed him and took 5th by about a wheel.
I was well chuffed to get in the break, but even more pleased I managed a bit of an uphill sprint. I also finished 2nd in Cat B behind Simon Bridge.
Mark finished in the bunch about 70 seconds behind us.
In Race one, Iain and Jules both finished in the bunch and some hard work from Iain.