13/06/2011 - NATIONAL ROAD CHAMPS REPORTS DEF
Location :AUDLEM, CHESHIRE
Bad enough having one weekend of bad weather in the summer but as we reluctantly changed for our 60miles championships the heavens really opened, the wind got up and the temperature decided not to go into double figures for the day. So it come to pass that as we were led out of the car park two by two we knew we were in for a 'wet one'.
A couple of early skirmshes were pulled back as the group took to the main road where the strong wind kept speeds high and eventually punished and spat out those not on the wheel. The first break of the day went clear on this first lap with Phil Rose (only happy off the front) breaking away with Andy Jones from Wolverhampton Wheelers Jim he is the guy who finished 23rd). The two pulled away strongly and were well out of sight at the end of the lap. Phil's pace is relentless and Andy was eventually left to return to the ever depleting bunch. At this point it looked as if Phil was clear for the day but on the third lap his gap came down dramatically as the cold began to get through to him and he was swallowed up by the bunch that was starting to liven up.
Many small groups found gaps that were pulled back only for another to go until eventually on the second last lap (the three riders 1st 2nd and 3rd) forged a small gap that didnt catch the bunch's interest until it grew and grew for them not to be seen again. On the last lap Steve Horsey and Mark Robinson broke clear with Steve returning to the bunch and Mark riding strongly home for 4th.
In the bunch Phil Thomas Liverpool Mercury had been active all day and continued to be throughout the last lap to no avail. Inside the last kilometre Gordon Wallace Deeside Olympic jumped clear of the bunch to be overtaken in the last few metres by Steve Jolley Omnimpex for 5th and 6th respectively.
Once again an excellent promotion from Audlem CC and one that was well worthy of holding an national title race. Only gripe was the weather and that was out of their hands.
E category 60 -65 years
The day dawned bright and sunny but rapidly deteriorated so that by 9.30 all optimism of a dry race had vanished and the riders prepared for a cold wet, windy race for 6 laps of a 10 mile circuit. A high quality field had assembled for this National Championship which was anticipated to be hard and fast.
The war of attrition commenced almost immediately with John Powell, home from France, testing the field off the front, immediately followed by Dave Rutherford, Solihull, Mike Wilson from the promoting club Audlem CC and then Don Parry, Corley Cervelo Alan Kemp, Weaver Valley and Ray Palin, Mark Pickford Cycles/Eye level . This was how the race continued for the next 45 miles, attack after attack, with other protagonists including Kevin Wilson, Solihull and Gordon Smith, New Brighton CC. Dave Woods, Luton together with Alistair Cameron, Leeds Mercury, had probably the longest attempt to get away of nearly a whole lap before being reeled in.
After about 45 miles, with the distance, cold and wet beginning to eat deep into the riders muscles, Ray Palin, who should have had a prize for the most aggressive rider, attacked yet again up a tough drag into the headwind followed by Alan Kemp. Don Parry soloed across at the top of the drag making three away and a little later Chris Gunter, Virgin Active fought very hard to make contact. This group of four then drilled really hard for the last 15 miles to contest the finish. Palin put in a huge turn of pace with about 300 meters to go, Kemp got round him to win, Parry struggled but also got past him for second place and Gunter finished fourth. Malcolm Fraser, Lusso Sportswear clipped off the front of the remains for the peloton to finish 5th and Gordon Smith won the sprint for 6th.
This Championship for the D,E, F,and G categories was a very well organised and successful event by Audlem CC in atrocious conditions. Thanks to all involved.
For the second Sunday in succession June racing in the North West felt more like
March, although not quite as cold as the Bashall Eves Stallard event.The pace
from the off was brisk as riders tried to keep warm with two or three attempts
to get off the front coming to naught on the first two laps.The decisive move
came on the 3rd lap when Rob Stones ( Hull Thursday ) time trialled off the
front opening up a gap of around 80 metres. The bunch seemed reluctant to chase
but Richard Booth (Middridge CRT) put in a big effort to get across on his own.
The duo were kept at around 200 metres for the rest of the lap but once
hitting the tailwind section they pulled away out of sight and worked together to
pull out a 2 minute gap with Richard taking the sprint for the line.
Andy Hicks took the sprint from a very much depleted bunch to take 3rd
place in the race and in the F category. Ken Haddon took the G cat win with 4th
actual place, whilst Tony Woodcock's and Pete Ryall's 7th and 8th overall
placings earned them 2nd and 3rd in this category.
Many thanks must go out to all concerned in the organisation of the
event, especially given the atrocious conditions they had to contend with.