It was only fitting that for the last club “Monument” of the season, Captain Pete Creagan rolled back the years with a vintage ride on the Il Dangarsleigh gravel to take out a stunning solo win!
A warm & breezy spring afternoon saw a great turnout of 23 riders eager to take on the tough gravel parcours. Generous time bonuses to the race handicaps were on offer to those souls brave enough to bring a retro bike, and Robbie Hale & Dave Harris rose to the challenge with some exceptional examples of the vintage era, replete with down-tube shifters, shockingly small cassettes, and a healthy dose of rust to add to the already substantial weight. A great turn out of MTB’s were also looked upon with a favourable eye by the commissaires, and there were plenty of road, CX, and gravel bikes to round out the field.
Proceedings were kicked off with Jacquie & Pete Wilko as the GO pair of riders, followed @3mins by Jo Wauch, Holly, and Katherine & Isabella Hosking both backing up from exceptional rides in last weekends road champs race. Rounding out the group, and very much a thorn amongst the roses, was Captain Creagan.
They were followed @7mins by a large group of 7 riders on a mix of MTB & CX bikes which made for some interesting dynamics on the different road surfaces, and the lack of road bikes would make for slow going on the tarmac sections. The retro-club group were next off @11mins, with Rob Hale reporting that his vintage Jock Bullo wheels-of-steel was struggling to keep up with the group.
Block had 4 strong riders @14mins, although Jason Simmonds shopping-bike found the going tough & Jonny would have his work cut out to keep up with the MTB monster pairing of Pete Harris & Pat Ferris. And with it all to do @16mins were the scratch trio of Paul Williams, Tom Simmonds, and Andy Robb, although after a midweek dose of man-flu Hammy was at least well rested!
As the riders emerged from the Blacks Lane dust at the end of sector 1, it was clear the gravel sectors would blow the race ride open. Leading from the front and oblivious to his skinny 23c tires was the Captain, with the girls in hot pursuit. A steady procession of riders rode through the turn in ones & two’s, until the scratch trio came through together with Tom & Hammy setting a storming pace. Staying together and working as a group on the next tarmac sections would be the only way scratch would have a chance of making ground on the lead riders.
As riders rolled onto Sector 2 on Blacks Lane/Elliotts Road with a solid climb and a loose right-angle turn to cope with. But this proved nothing compared the real boneshaking run down Elliots Road, with Robbie dropping his chain twice. And Hammy may have conquered his manflu but he was no match for this gravel section as he punctured out of scratch. This left the fearsome climb Knobs Hill to decide the race.
Some expert positioning of the GoPro caught the action as riders crested the summit, and some inspirational handicapping saw the race come together as riders made the run for home. The last sector claimed 3 casualties, as Hugh McKellar punctured, Scott Green picked up a slow flat that deflated his chances of contesting a placing in the final sprint. Holly also punctured on the final sector, and although her tubeless setup sealed the hole, a brief stop to re-inflate the tire knocked her out of the chase.
As the race officials waited with baited breath at the end of the final sector 3, it was the Captain who came storming down the gravel hill first, with a healthy lead over Jo. Powering over Knobs Hill was scratch rider Tom, who blazed through a number of riders in pursuit of the lead pair. But it was the Captains day, as he rode across the line solo to take out a famous win – well done Pete. A well deserved second went to Jo, with Tom rounding out the podium and coming home with the fastest time of the day.
All riders made it back safely, in no small part due to some outstanding race marshalling at the turns by Wilf & Col, and some exceptional handicapping by Swanny saw a highly competitive race ridden in great spirit by all riders. Many thanks to all riders for bringing such a motley assortment of bikes to the race!
Next week we return to Crit racing at the TEC.
|Rider||Place||Bike||Handicap||Black L1||Black L2||Knobs Hill Summit||Elapsed||Adjusted||Avg||KM|
|SIMMONDS Tom||3||Road||0:16:00||0:39:40||0:46:40||0:56:20||1:06:12||0:50:12 FT||35.5||29.7|