Team Corley at the Tour Series in Oxford
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Matt Jones, the current U23 National Criterium champion, led Corley Cycles in Oxford on Tuesday evening to a great performance, one of the best by a guest team in the Tour Series.
With the cream of Britain’s racing talent taking part in the televised race, such as Ed Clancy and Steven Burke, two of Team GB’s potential Team Pursuit gold medallists at this summer’s London Olympic Games, Matt Jones and his four Corley team-mates were always going to be hard pressed to out-perform some of the Tour Series regulars – but that didn’t stop them trying.
The 1.1km ‘Y’ shaped circuit provided an amazingly fast spectacle for the huge crowd that lined the roads but one that also proved to be a difficult challenge for the riders as they faced four dead turns in every lap of the nearly 70 minute race.
As a guest team, the Corley boys had to line up at the back of the grid behind the Series regulars but the team’s distinctive red and black colours were in the thick of the action from the off as Mike Smith wasted no time in immediately mixing it with the riders at the front of the race.
Such was the speed of the fast pedalling peloton that riders at the back of the field soon found themselves drifting even further back as the elastic effect of the fast men at the front left them behind out of the dead turns. “It was probably the fastest circuit I’ve ever ridden” was how Ian Knight one of Team Corley’s most experienced riders described the racing.
At the front, Smith did all he could to stay with the leading riders and was soon joined by Matt Jones as they battled to hold their position with Jones doing all he could to stay on Ed Clancy’s back wheel.
“It was a case of just giving it everything you could... Sometimes I swear I just couldn’t see where I was going such was the speed of the race”, says Matt. Moving into the last 20 minutes or so of the race, a group of just over a dozen riders pulled away and Jones was then the highest placed Corley rider as he fought for a place in the top twenty in the next group back. “That’ll do nicely” said team patron Phil Corley as Jones flashed by in the final laps.
At the bell lap Jones was clearly visible at the front of his group as they started their final circuit but 1.1kms later was unable to hold onto that position but still did himself and the team proud.
Liam Stones was also participating in his first ever Tour Series event, and has on only recently got enough points to get his 1st category licence. Ian Knight and James Millard also took part at the event.
With another guest team invite to fulfill next Tuesday at Peterborough, a circuit more suited to Jones’ talents, Team Corley hope that perhaps another quality performance may lead them to be invited to another round of the prestigious series of races before this year’s Tour Series draws to a close in just under a month’s time.