10/05/2012 - ALAN KEMP's ABBERLEYS BLOG PART 1
Tour of the Abberley`s 2012 race report.
This years race held on 5th, 6th , 7th May in the lovely Worcestershire countryside consisted of an uphill prologue TT and 3 road stages on quite hilly courses and provides a rare opportunity for us vets to experience the delights or otherwise of riding a 3 day event.
Race organiser Mike Amery changed the HQ this year to Great Witley Village hall and together with most races finishing closer to the HQ than previous years, really saved a lot of suffering to the riders as they normally have to trudge uphill back to Abberley HQ with cramping muscles.
This year the Ds and Es and Fs rode in the same race.
Stage 1 .8 mile Prologue up Woodbury Hill
Very cold morning . Plenty of riders using turbo trainers to warm up for this very short painful test as well as practice runs up the hill which was basically a short climb followed by an easing in gradient for a short section before the gradient increased on the push to the finish line over the top of Woodbury Hill..
Setting off at 30 second intervals, every rider must have been aware that it would have been so easy to be in O2 debt after the first section of climb and so there were several starting strategies observed . Some pulled away steadily , pacing their efforts carefully, others did not.
Andy Donaldson appeared to start as though in the final 200 yards but did a great ride to win and get his campaign off to a flying start. Jolley was 2nd at 4 secs and Kemp 3rd at 6 seconds with all the overall contenders no more than a few seconds apart.
Stage 2 42 mile road race
3 laps of a circuit towards Holts Heath on A443 and eventually retuning to Great Witley along A451. Finish on a short link road between the 2 A roads.
Very fast start with plenty of attacking from several riders, with the whole bunch responding to attack after attack with Donaldson, Jimmy Rutherford ,John Marshall and Malcolm Whitehead all in the thick of the action. Still in the early miles Phil Rose on about his 5th attempt went clear as the bunch took a breather for a few seconds. Martin Russell took a flyer and joined Rose and suddenly this looked dangerous.
These pair pulled away to a maximum of about 1.5 minutes on this very bumpy , hard circuit, as the key riders in the bunch attacked each other and failed to organise an effect chase .
Russell won the stage having shed Rose near the finish and gained around 30 seconds on Rose at the line, and was another minute clear of the bunch.
F cat rider Richard Booth was first into the last corner and led out the bunch sprint with Kemp on his wheel .The yellow flag was further from the corner than Richard had realised , Kemp went passed with 200 to go as the downhill now turned slightly uphill and an overgeared Kemp was pipped at the line by Donaldson for 3rd place with Jolley almost getting passed him as well.