Bath CC Racing Team has been active over the last few weeks, with riders racing at South Bristol Road Race, Ham Hill and Pittards, Noel Jones Memorial Road Race, Maindy circuits in Cardiff, Hillingdon, Thames Velo and Castle Combe.
Chris Johnson (In Black) in the lead group on the 5th of 6 times up Stowey. Unfortunatly he punctured at the top of the last climb and so was not able to compete for the points.
The Noel Jones Memorial Road Race
Took place on an unusually cold Sunday morning in Three Cocks near Hay on Wye and was ridden by Bath CC’s Simon Ker. The race covered 82 kms, over 7 laps of a rolling course that passed through the finish line at the top of a1.5 km 4% drag. Proceedings started with an early 2-man break that took 2 minutes fairly quickly but couldn’t really improve on that. After 3 sedate laps, Simon went away with 2 other riders on the drag to the finish line and built up a gap of around 30 second but failed to make it stick at the 3 were brought back after half a lap by a large Cwmcarn Paragon and Cardiff Jif contingent. The race settled shortly after that with the breakaway being pulled back slowly over the following 2 laps (which saw World & Olympic ladies champion, Dani King attacking the bunch on a number of occasions before settling in to the finish with the rest of the peloton. Just before the final lap, the 2 breakaway riders were pulled back and another break away of 6 riders went away shortly after. By the end of the final lap, the 6 break away riders were only 20 meters off the front of the peloton and by the top of the climb only 3 held on by a handful of seconds over a fragmented peloton. Simon rolled across the line in 20th position after doing too much work earlier in the race but was later to gain a handful of places after some strict commissaries work resulted in riders being disqualified for crossing the double white lines to the finish.
Ham Hill and Pittards
Ruan, Peter Phillips and David Stoyle lined up for 4 laps of the testing Ham Hill and Pittards Course. The field of 80 was made up of entirely 3rd Cats, shows the strength in depth of the sport. The field was reduced on each lap, and David had the best result finishing a strong 17th in a finishing group of 35.
David rode in the 3/4 Cats race in the morning and Simon Ker and Coles (2nd claim Bath) rode in the E12s in the afternoon. The Thames Velo Road Race is run on an undulating course just outside Oxford, with a couple of climbs with the finish being at the top of a 700m hill. The morning race saw 80 3rd and 4th Cats on the start line for 3 laps of the course. The pace over the first lap was fast, but never furious and I felt strong going up the climbs – unusually for me – either normally at the front of the group or moving up through the group. The second lap was a little faster and a few attempted breakaways, eventually two riders got away and stayed 30 seconds up the road. With one lap to go the two became one and the disorganised peloton failed to give chase, the expecation that the loan rider would be caught, but Oliver Barbieri was stronger than that and still had 20 seconds lead into the final climb. With 700m to go I was boxed in, in about 30th place. I was one of the first to head right as the course opened up for the final climb and the sprint to the finish. I overtook 10 or 15 up the climb and found myself near the front by the time the course levelled out for the sprint finish. I managed to move up to 5th place by the line, with Oliver timing his effort to perfection and winning by 50m. There was a nasty crash on the congested LHS of the field, but no one was seriously hurt.
Thames Velo – E12
Held over 120kms/75 miles on the Great Milton Circuit in Oxfordshire, with a full field of 80 riders rolling out from the HQ in the village of Little Milton. Was ridden by Bath CC’s Simon Ker and second-claim member Simon Coles. An early 3 man break went away after around 15kms and was to stay away to the end of the race. Despite numerous attempts to escape the bunch, Simon Ker could only manage to finish in the bunch around 25th position, however, Simon Coles, after making a move just before the final climb, managed to build up a healthy gap on the peloton with his 2 escape companions and, after catching another small group of escapees, finished in 7th position and collected a few more points in his, already fairly successful, season.
Monday night saw Ruan, Dave and Gary venture across the bridge for a night of high speed racing on the banked 400meter Maindy track in Cardiff. With the Cat 3 and Masters all in the same race a lot of cat and mouse manoeuvring over the first 10 minutes saw no moves sticking. The plan was for each attack to be covered by each of us in turn but mid race a move developed with no Bath CC presence. As this move gained distance Ruan and Gary attacked out of the peloton and after a lap and a half of hard chasing were able to bridge across. Alas after a couple more laps the group’s ability to work together had lost momentum with the inevitable consequence that everything came back together again. Almost immediately another less threatening counter attack rolled through to open up a small gap, but as the composition of mainly Welsh team’s in the break was judged to be about right the peloton sat up and the winning move of 6 riders was formed. Unfortunately with no Bath riders on board. The rest of the race for us was rode at a more sedate pace and as the rain became heavier most riders prepared themselves for the sprint for the minor placings. Ruan played his cards 8 laps out by attempting to solo out of the peloton, but when the board for 5 laps came out he was back in the train. As the pace steadily increased, positioning was absolutely critical but despite the conditions safe racing over the past couple of laps saw Gary finished 4th in the bunch for 10th and Ruan just behind – David rolled in at back not surprisingly feeling his legs from his hard but successful exploits the day before.
After a recovery day I raced again on Wednesday at the Hillingdon Masters series near London. Here 40-49 year olds and 50 years plus enjoy their own categories within the same race. With a good spattering of ex-pro’s the racing is not only intense but also conducted by experienced racers who know how to construct moves and work together to make them stick. Making my debut in the over 50 ranks, and after what was a very slow start to the hour long race I settled in near the front and worked with the stronger guys in the race to help develop some action over the first half an hour. Initially the 70 strong field were able to keep close tabs on the countless attacks and would quickly move to close anything down; but as we entered the second half of the race it was clear that the field were tiring and something soon would work. Unfortunately within the front guys were a mixed composition of those who would work and those not. I followed a very strong rider from East Devon and we managed to break 4 of us away for about the first time in the race and enjoyed almost a lap together but with it being apparent we had 2 passengers we sat up to regroup. As seems to be the way at the moment, this pause as I moved back into the peloton saw first another 2 try their luck but as another 2 join them a strong unit formed and started to pull out a lead – so another key move had been missed The peloton then frustratingly lost its emphasis on chasing and the gap was able to open up to 15 seconds. Very quickly it seemed we were entering the last 10 minutes of racing but as the peloton slowed in preparation for the finish nearly 60 riders now all started to try to occupy the same piece of tarmac. I moved from good position to bad and then back again as the peloton started to churn with the bell approaching. I managed to move up the inside and gain a top 10 place on the back straight but was then ambushed left and right going up the hill for the last time getting trapped in the middle. A few dive bombers was adding to the commotion and having selected the wheel to follow for the sprint I immediately became aware that this one was now only going backwards. Out and around, now sprinting but too far down and too late to do anything better for 8th place across the line. Very frustrating as no doubt I was one of the stronger riders but whilst I should have been more aggressive on the last lap, I at least travelled home satisfied that I had ended the race on 2 wheels as probably the last lap was the most hairy I have experienced in nearly 3 years of racing.
Points Leader Board
Gary leads the early season points leaders board and the honour of wearing the Bath CC points leaders jersey.
Gary Sheppard 35
David Atkinson 14
David Stoyle 9
Andy Smith 3
This may all change as we head into the circuit race and cotswold league season.