[report by Graham Robins]
There were wins today for Sam Allen (Pedal On) and a maiden senior race win for Swindon based Lindy Brazier-Larkin. Whilst both riders led their race from the start Brazier-Larkin was pushed all the way for her win by Lauren Cracknell (PedalOn) with just a 3sec win margin.
Today’s race was promoted VC Venta and held at the Sparsholt Agricultural College. The course was a mixture of smooth grass playing fields and scrub land as it wound its way around football pitches. The morning started with a light shower but once it passed over the sun came out and racing finished under blue skies.
The senior race win was pretty much decided after the opening couple of laps as Sam Allen sprinted clear of the chasers and his opening lap split was 11secs. Behind the PedalOn rider there was a chase group of four and then five riders all locked together with on a couple of seconds apart.
The chasing group consisted of Jamie Norfolk (PedalOn), Oscar Hutchings (VC Venta), Alec Briggs (Tekkerz), Alex Watkins (Sarum Velo) and David Bone (RC Revenna) and Joe Hickerton (BPC Spokes Racing), although this group was not to be the final group of chasers.
Lap three sees Allen now well clear as the chasers from up together. After a shuffle in the race order our chase group includes Hutchings, Briggs, Matthew Wakefield (Team Wakies), Bone, Hickerton and Norfolk. After a small gap there is a trio of riders locked together as Watkins, Daniel Atkins (Didcot Phoenix CC) and Callum Hughes (Banjo Cycles) were line astern.
On the next lap the race order remained static with the only incident when Hutchings had to pit for a bike, but he had enough of a gap to the three chasers behind he got in and out quickly, and within the next lap he had rejoined in with the front chase group.
At the bell Allen was 1min 44secs clear of Briggs who in turn had found 6secs over Wakefield, Norfolk and Hickerton. Hutchings looked like he was paying the price for his mid race fight back and now he had slipped back 30secs to the group. The chase group now containing Watkins, Atkins, Bone and Callum Hughes (Banjo Cycles) were separated by 6secs. And it was Hughes who still had something in the tank at the finish to just ease off the other three.
The women’s race produced one of the closest finishes we have seen since the category was introduced this season. Lindy Brazier-Larkin (Sarum Velo) made a quick start easing away from Sarah Hichinen (IRIS Race Team) and Lauren Cracknell (PedalOn). It was all so close on the opening lap and Alison Rothnie (Spokes BPC Racing), Jessica Conner (Cotswold Veldrijden) and Rachael Clay (GS Vecchi) were close together.
The second lap saw Cracknell and Rothnie both drop Hichinen as she started to be paying for early race pace trying to hold Brazier-Larkin’s wheel. By mid race Brazier-Larkin and Cracknell were separated by a slender 8secs, Rothnie was at 18secs and Connor the first vet rider was at 23secs with it all to play for.
Over the closing couple of laps Brazier-Larkin and Cracknell were just 4secs apart at both ladies were pushing had with neither seemingly making mistakes. Importantly Rothnie was at 35secs, Connor at 50secs and the rest beginning to spread all over the course.
As our two leaders entered the infield close to the friends and spectators there was nothing between them. Lindy was first into the little twisty wooded section and without problems she could see the finish line coming up quickly. Up and over the little climb Lindy had a slender 3secs over Lauren and held it all the way to the line for her maiden senior victory in the Wessex League and the top step of the podium.
Riding for the promoting club David Spencer won the vet40+ race after he got past Paul Lloyd on the second lap. Our lead group of Spencer, Lloyd and Jamie Norfolk (PedalOn) had junior Sam Bishop (Charlottville CC) along for company.
Coming through the field and making places up after a slow start was Anthony Turner (Cotswold Veldrijden) and so was Rory West (Pankhurst Cycles) as they slowly picked of riders.
Bishop won the junior class from Thomas Clarke (PPV) and Matthew Day (Solent Pirates Youth CC).
After racing yesterday at the National Trophy in Scotland Kevin Holloway (GS Vecchi) made ease of his win today leading from start to finish. Leading from his team mate Phil Boarer by 15secs on the second lap he increased his gap lap on lap with a lead of 40secs at the bell. Behind the GS Vecchi pair there was a good race between Matthew Waller (Banjo Cycles) and Shaun Green (Stonehenge Triathlon and Road Club) and Andrew Cracknell (PedalOn). Another rider who could have been challenging for a podium was Tim Costello (GS Vecchi), however a last lap chain break saw the West Sussex rider running across the line.