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So I probably should've blogged something the other weekend (10th/11th March) but I've been rather busy, so you're getting two weekends worth of racing in one blog, lucky you!
Saturday 10th saw Matt, Rich, Ash, Simon H and Liam lining up at the Roy Thame Cup. Sean had ridden in the morning in the Spring Chicken RR, managing to avoid the crashes and finishing 9th. I managed to sneak away from work for a couple of hours and drove over to watch the Elite race. The Roy Thame course has been riddled with pot holes over the last few years due to bad winter weather cracking up most of the back of the circuit. The riders managed to get round the race with none of them coming off and only Liam suffering badly timed puncture (I'm told this was due to a thorn and not the road surface). Matt was our best placed rider coming in 27th, he wasn't pleased but agreed with me that there's still tomorrow...
Tomorrow morning came and with it bought a lovely drive down to Colchester for the Jock Wadley memorial. Matt was a bit perturbed that I turned up to his house 6 minutes earlier than planned! And Mike was nowhere to be seen when we showed up to his 6 minutes late! He was making up for last week when he had been outside waiting I guess... They packed the car up and we got on our way, only getting briefly lost once due to satnav error. Somehow we even managed to make it to the HQ before the Team Manager, Dick Hooper (I was later told they stopped for coffee).
The race got underway and we traveled round the course in the opposite way to get a few snappy snaps. Just over halfway round the circuit we got stopped by the marshalls to let the race pass through. Being in Essex means they get police powers allowing them to stop traffic, hopefully this will be rolled out over the country one day! Anyway, a group of 5 riders had already got a gap of around 20 seconds - George Atkins (100% ME), John Heaton-Armstrong (Felt), Niklas Gustavsson (UK Youth), Matt Higgins (Node4) and wait a minute... "That's Rich!" Richard Cartland (Team Corley Cycles). Rich had started the 5 man breakaway that would eventually get a 2 minute gap with only Marcin Bialoblocki (Node4) and Yanto Barker (UK Youth) able to bridge the gap.
The race was won by Atkins who took a fine sprint win from Bialoblocki with Higgins 3rd and Barker 4th. Rich took the sprint for 5th outsprinting his two remaining breakaway companions. The rest of the race was split all over the course, Roy and Ashley came in with what I can only remember as the biggest group on the road and got 17th and 20th respectively.
So that was that weekend... Onto last weekend (17th/18th).
They don't really want me to talk about this, but I go by the motto "A win is a win". Matt and Mike won a 2-up TT at Astwood on Saturday. That's all I'm going to say about it.
Liam, Chris and Sean spent some of their Saturday racing in the Team MK Season Starter at the Milton Keynes Bowl. Having snuck out of work again (I hope the boss isn't reading), I went down to cheer them on. The race had already started by the time I got there and it appeared two riders had managed to get clear of the bunch - Ed Clemens (VC10) and Chris Dredge (Team Corley Cycles). They both looked to be working well together and gained a healthy lead. It wasn't until around halfway in the race that riders managed to bridge the gap to the leaders, these riders including Liam and Sean. This group would've lapped the field if they had another couple of laps, but it made for a tidier sprint that they didn't. And the sprint win was neatly taken by Liam from Clemens with Chris 3rd and Sean 7th. Two wins in one day, can't be bad!
The next day bought another 2 hour drive for me, this time with 3 riders and 3 bikes. With only Ashley in the Peter Young Memorial and only Rich in the Evesham Vale RR the majority of the team spent a lovely windy day out at Thruxton Motor Circuit. Matt and James (Milly) made their own way which left me to take Mike, Liam and Chris. We got there in plenty of time with again only one slight detour, this time I'm blaming Mike... and the satnav. The riders got signed on, changed and lined up with the other 33 riders.
First lap, Matt attacks. He was first joined by Grant Bayton (Ride 24/7) before becoming a group of 8, including Mike and Liam. Despite the headwind on the back straight this group worked well and at one point had a minute gap back to 6 chasing riders. By this point Milly had gone off the front of the bunch and sat in no man's land for the rest of the race. On the penultimate lap Matt attacked again, with no one able to go with him. Bayton and another rider tried to pull him back but he was gone, going on to take the win by a good 20 seconds. Liam took the sprint for 4th, with Mike 9th, Milly 17th and Chris safely in the bunch coming in 28th.
Whilst that was going on Ashley was holding his own in the Peter Young. On his lonesome against bigger teams he did a great job to get 4th! I haven't discussed the race with him, so apart from the result there isn't much I can ramble on about.
March 25th sees 6 riders competing at the Wally Gimber Trophy which by the looks of the start sheet will be a good race!
Yours in sport,