Last night was the 4th and final event in the Dave Astles Memorial Cheshire Series. The whole series has been well organised and thankfully incident free.
With Iain marshaling and Jules stuck at work, it left Kev (in the over 55s), Mark Adshead and myself (in the 45-54s) to fly the WVCC flag.
Conditions were perfect, 18/19 degrees, with a head wind down Trap Street, meaning a tail wind on the A34 finish straight.
The race started unbelievably slow, with no one wanting to take the front, a couple of guys pinged off the front, as they weren’t “the usual suspects” no-one bothered chasing them down, then a series of digs came that got everyone going and everyone was back together.
After racing this course a few times now, I have become more aware of when and where they break may go, Smithy Lane up to the A34 is the prime place, due to the long ramp which can grind you down if you aren’t on a wheel, as expected, there was massive sprint the first time up it, even though we managed to get gap, pressure wasn’t maintained and everyone came back together on the A34.
Gary Scott from Ominpex Bioracer chanced his arm with a solo effort, he was away on his own form about 5 miles, but by the time were back on Trap Street into the headwind, he was back in the bunch. There was then a series of constant attack all the way down Trap Street, all of which I tried to get on, by the time we came to Smithy Lane again, I knew I had to be well positioned and needed enough energy to hold the imminent attack. Paul McGowan entered first and went for it, I struggled to reach his wheel, I got there and passed him, this was followed by about 8 passing me, a gap had appeared to the main bunch, I knew I had to get on the last wheel as this was going to be the winning break, we were nearing the end of the lane, with one last effort I got there and we were on the A34, 11 of us had got away.
The group was a bit big and didn’t work very well together, with too many sitting on, Simon Bridge tried a few times to get away on his own, but everyone had their eye on him and he was covered every time. Ominpex had 3 in the break so they were working (or not as the case may be) for each other. By the time we were back on Smithy lane for the last time, we entered the A34 and Steve Davies Ominpex went for a long one, no-one chased him, after a while myself, Paul McGowan and Si Bridge started to try and close the gap, but with everyone sitting on at the back waiting for the sprint it faded away.
Then with about a 1.5 miles to go, I don’t know what came over me, as we went past the Davenport Arms at Marton, in a split second, I thought to myself, I wont get anywhere with 11 in the break so what have I got to lose, I went for it, I had a quick look behind, no-one was with me, I carried on chewing my handle bars, had another look back, I could see someone trying to get across, but the gap was still ok, it seemed a bloody long way, I had closed rapidly on Steve Davies, by this time he was half way up the finish drag, but he was pedaling squares, but it was clear I wasn’t going to reach him, I just need to get up this last hill to the line, another look back, I had enough of a gap top allow me ease up to cross the line to take 2nd in the race and 1st in may age category, by far my best result so far.
I think Mark finished in the bunch about a minute behind us, and Kev did well to take 5th in the Race and 3rd in his age category.
Great to see Nick Butterworth and Tony Booth again last night too, cheering us on.