October – December 2017

It’s rather late, but here’s a brief report on the end of the 2017 racing season, plus some news, including on an upcoming social event.

The road season came to an end in mid-October, when Gavin Passmore, Laurence Cooley and Matt Clegg took part in the University of Birmingham CC’s annual criterium at Tudor Grange. In the 3/4 race, Laurence had a mechanical but Gavin was able to finish 7th before lining up alongside Matt in the E/1/2/3. Gavin rounded out a good day with 10th in that race, while Matt was 7th. There are some photos from the races on the UoB CC’s Facebook page.

On the track, meanwhile, Dave Hughes won the title for his age group at the LVRC National Track Championships held at Derby over the final weekend of October, taking three gold medals in individual events on the way to the overall title. The event was hugely popular, with more than 170 riders entering across all categories, and Dave faced some stiff competition, having to beat recently crowned UEC European Masters Scratch Race Champion Bob Barber to take the win in the points race, for instance. Dave was keen to pass his thanks on to the organisers and volunteers who made the Derby event possible. Afterwards, he reflected that “I couldn’t have dreamed of this a year ago and in truth, not even at the start of this meeting”.

Dave also mentioned that it was at the Beacon racing captains’ social last year that he got thinking about riding the track again, and the good news is that we have another captains’ social coming up on 4 January. We’ll be at the British Oak pub in Stirchley from 19:30. While the main purpose of the event is to talk about racing plans for next season (British Cycling and LVRC, but also time trial events), everyone is welcome, whether they plan to race or not.

Overall, it was a good year of road and circuit racing for the club. We finished equal 9th in the British Cycling West Midlands road and track ranking with 110 points, up from equal 22nd with 52 points last year. This ranking excludes points scored outside of the region, which is significant given that Matt did a lot of his racing in the East Midlands and John Hunt came 3rd in an East Midlands road race. Matt made it to 2nd cat for the first time, supported by the new under-23 club bursary, winning four races and ending the season on 54 points. Mention should also go to Gavin for his 27 points as a 3rd cat in his first full season back racing after a few years off. Roger Cutler was also promoted to 3rd cat early in the season. In LVRC racing, Dave Hughes had another excellent season both on the road and the track.

Pete Marshall has written a separate report on the West Midlands Cyclo-Cross League, which you can read here. Congratulations are due to the Beacon Academy riders, who did well in the youth categories, and to Helen Jamieson for her strong placing in the women’s rankings in her first full season of ‘cross. Unfortunately, the LVRC National Cyclo-Cross Championships that Pete mentions in his report had to be cancelled due to snow and ice, but hopefully the event can return to the Midlands soon.

Looking forward, as well as the captains’ event on 4 January, the application form for the 2018 under-23 racing bursary is now online. The deadline for applications is 21 January and more details are available here. Informal enquiries are welcome at roadracing@beaconrcc.org.uk, or come along and ask at the captains’ event. If you want to start making concrete plans for racing next year, the 2018 SSSCCRRL and the first round of the Woolly Mamil Winter Series are now open for entry and are great introductions to road and circuit racing (both are selling out fast, so get your entries in quickly). In the meantime, best wishes from the Beacon for a Happy New Year!

November 2017

Hill-climb season traditionally marks the end of the racing season for British club cyclists. This is reflected in the Beacon’s online photo archive, which includes images of the club’s annual hill-climb championship, as well as open and national events from the 1950s through to the 1970s. Beacon riders Rod Goodfellow, Colin Purdy and Dave Sinor at the famous Bec CC Hill Climb, 1972.

1972 Hill Climb
Rod Goodfellow, Colin Purdy, Dave Sinor








In recent years, the discipline has been undergoing a bit of a revival, and this has been reflected in growing interest amongst Beacon members in taking part in open events. Richard Bussell was a big part of this when he set a new record time in the club’s annual hill-climb championship in September 2014, going under three minutes on a course where such times were unheard of. After subsequently signing for AeroCoach, Richard went on to win a national title in 2015. In 2016, Beacon members John Hunt and Jessica Rhodes-Jones both took on the National Championships in Matlock.

This season, John was targetting hill climbs again, and he was joined by Dave McCann in travelling around the country in search of steep gradients.

Dave did particularly well in local club events, placing 2nd in Bromsgrove Olympique CC’s event on KH12 in late August, before winning the Beacon club championship on the same course on 17 September. He also took 2nd in the Redditch RPCC event held on the KH11 on 12 September. In open events, Dave’s best finish was 8th in Matlock CC’s event on the AHC/9 course back in June. He also had top-20 finishes in the Worcester St Johns CC and Wyre Forest CRC event at Shelsley Walsh and Watford Velo Sport’s on Whiteleaf Hill in the Chilterns, both in October.

It was Dave’s other two open events that he says provided his highlight and lowlight of the season, though: “My high point has to be pelting up The Rake through a tunnel of rowdy spectators with a PA system loudly reminding me I was out of gears. Low point has to be unshipping my chain on the Oxford University hill climb (my last of the season) and having to stop for 40 seconds to put it back on”.









John’s best results came at the National Championships on Hedley Hill in Northumberland on 29 October (highlights video below), where he averaged over 430 watts for 4 minutes 33 seconds to finish 41st6th at the Oxford University event the week before, where he beat former national champion Tejvan Pettinger, 7th at Shelsley Walsh (next year’s Nationals course), 7th at Haytor Valeon Dartmoor and 13th at Mam Nick in the Peak District, both in late September. John’s personal highlight was racing in the Nationals again, and his lowlight “seeing my minute man (Dan Evans) coming back down the Porlock Hill Climb course as I was still a long way from the summit!”.

Jess rode fewer hill climbs this year, focusing instead on winning the UCI Gran Fondo World Series time trial, but she nonetheless got on the podium in Rutland CC’s event at Mam Nick, where she finished 2nd woman behind Rebecca Goodson, the winner of the previous week’s prestigious Monsal Head hill climb. She also took the women’s title at the Beacon club championships. Beacon riders at the British Schools Cycling Association West Midlands Hill Climb Championship.

A number of other riders also had successful single-appearance seasons. Mark Patton was 2nd in Royal Sutton CC’s club event on the KH32 course at Maxstoke on 15 August, and last but not least, a good number of the Beacon Academy riders turned out for the British Schools Cycling Association West Midlands Hill Climb Championship in June, where more than half of the 16 entrants were Beacon riders! There were decent times all round, and Joseph Egan won his age category. Academy rider Toby Hale also rode the club championships later in the year, winning the junior trophy.






If hill climbs sound like something you’d like to try, do let Jess, who is the club’s time trial captain, John or Dave know, and they’ll be keen to tell you more and perhaps co-ordinate race entries for the 2018 season.

September 2017

Not for the first time this season, the big news in September came from the Hugheses. Dave’s main event for the month was the F-category race at the LVRC National Criterium Championships at Birmingham Business Park on 3 September, hosted by Behind Bars Sports. Dave had targetted this event last season, when it was held at Stourport, finishing 3rd behind Don Parry and Ken Bradbury. With both those riders on the start sheet again this year, on an overcast, windy day with heavy, intermittent downpours that made for some slippery manhole covers at the Business Park, the ingredients were there for a tough race again this year. Dave played a tactical game and didn’t follow when a number of early attacks went, saving himself to bridge across (with Don Parry) to a strong four-man breakaway including Dave Woods of CC Luton, who finished 3rd in the LVRC National Road Race Championships earlier in the season, which eventually established a gap of some 2-300 metres on the bunch. Dave reports that “what followed then was as honest a race as I had ever been party to”. The six riders worked together by riding through-and-off right up until the bell that marked the final lap, increasing their advantage on the bunch. For most of the final lap, Dave sat on Woods’s wheel, with Parry following. In the finish, Parry kicked first and came around Dave, but Dave was able to close the gap and took the win, and the national title, on the line.

Later in the month, Anne Hughes, who had already won gold medals in the British and European sprint triathlon championshipsearlier in the season, took the female 60-64 sprint triathlon title at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Rotterdam on 17 September. Anne beat 35 other competitors in her age category to take the gold medal, in a controversial race which initially saw another competitor awarded the win, only to be disqualified when it emerged that she had not completed the entire course. Anne completed the course in just over 1 hour 25 minutes, winning by a margin of some two and a half minutes from fellow Brit Mary Derrick to become the Beacon’s second world champion of 2017, following Jessica Rhodes-Jones’s success in the UCI Gran Fondo finals in August. Even before her world title win, Anne had been nominated and shortlisted in the Amateur Sportswoman of the Year category at the 2017 Birmingham Sports Awards, and while she was unable to attend the ceremony due to being in Rotterdam, this was recognition of the fantastic season that she has had.

While the British Cycling calendar for the West Midlands was pretty sparse come September, Gavin Passmore made the most of the fourth and final round of the Criterio du Rosa mini series at Stourport on the first Saturday of the month, taking 3rd placein the 3/4 race to add to the two 7ths he racked up in the first two rounds. Laurence Cooley, meanwhile, headed further afield in search of the three points he needs to make it to 3rd category this season, racing at Hillingdon on 16 September, where he tried a couple of attacks but was unable to get away from the bunch, before the disappointment of a cancelled race in Winchester the following day.

Gavin has meanwhile also been confirmed as finishing 2nd overall, joint 2nd in the sprinters’ league and 3rd in endurance group 2, in category B at the Halesowen Friday Night Track League. Dave Hughes’s win in the LVRC’s over-65s points series, awarded on the basis of riders’ best five results, has also been confirmed.

Meanwhile, the West Midlands Cyclo-Cross League is now well under way, with the Beacon having co-hosted the opening round in Redditch on 3 September. So far, Beacon Academy members Oliver Durose, Louie Kennedy, Ashleigh Kennedy, Henry Egan and Joseph Egan have all taken part in at least one round, as have Stuart White, Roger Culter, James Tate, Adrian Ravenscroft, Pete Marshall, Gary Mackintosh, Nic Vipond, Helen Jamieson, Charlotte Elliss, Gemma Johnson and Tessa Oelofse in the seniors or veterans categories, making for a huge Beacon cyclo-cross squad this season! There are still plenty of rounds to go, so do give one a go if you want to join the team.

There are a few other events to flag up. Entries are still open for the University of Birmingham CC Criterium at Tudor Grange on 14 October. Gavin is organising a track session at Derby on 12 November – details are on the club message board. Finally, keep your eyes open for news of a Go-Ride cyclo-cross event at Rowheath in December, which Tim Egan is organising.

August 2017

Opportunities to race were a bit thinner on the ground in August than earlier in the season, with the end of a number of local road and circuit series in July, but it was very much quality over quantity for the Beacon’s racers, with a debut Grand Prix Series appearance and the small matter of a UCI world title to report on…

Matt racing at the Leicester Castle Classic.

Matt Clegg got the month off to a good start by picking up a point in the 2/3/4 race at Mallory Park on the 3 August, but his main event was a first National A race, the Leicester Castle Classic, on Sunday 13 August. The kermesse, which was the final round of the British Cycling Grand Prix Series, took part on a city centre circuit over the cobbles of Castle Square and skirting the Leicester City stadium. “Brutally fast straight out of the neutralised lap” was how Matt described his introduction to elite racing. He was caught behind a crash on the first racing lap, narrowly avoiding a collision with Tobyn Horton of Madison Genesis. He nonetheless found himself in a good group for the rest of the race, flying the Beacon colours alongside riders from Metaltek Kuota, Spirit Tifosi and Richardsons-Trek RT and Wheelbase Altura, and finished on the front of that group. Matt, who has been supported by the club’s first under-23 racing bursary this year, has now headed off to the Netherlands, where he will be studying for a year and hopefully getting some quality experience racing on the continent.

Not to be outdone, at the end of the month, Jessica Rhodes-Jones took part in the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships at Albi in France. Jess had already raced in Albi this year, where she qualified for the World Championship time trial event with a win back in May, and her return was a successful one as she took the title in the 19-34 category by 20 seconds over the 22.5 km course. Congratulations to Jess on this achievement, and look out for her in her rainbow stripes in coming months!

Jess at the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships in Albi.

Stuart White raced in the BC National Masters Circuit Race Championships at Rockingham Raceway on 12 August, finishing a respectable 13th in the B age category, just behind last year’s winner Will Ranoe, despite having focused more on endurance riding than crit racing this year. A week later, Gavin Passmore and Robin Kirkham lined up for the 3/4 race at the second round of the Criterio du Rosa series at Stourport, where Gavin followed up his 7th place in the first round with another 7th, despite accidentally sprinting a lap early! Laurence Cooley, meanwhile, headed down to Milton Keynes for the last three events in the Abbeygate/Corley Cycles Summer Series at MK Bowl. Having been too far back to contest the sprint in the 17 August race, he was 9th on 24 August and 12th in the final round, after attempting last-lap attacks in both. Earlier in the month, John Hunt was also unlucky not to pick up points on the road, having been in a three-man break-away in the East Midlands Øverst Race League at Lime Kiln on 2 August and also being caught within sight of the line at Plungar a couple of weeks later.

Next month’s report will include a final round-up of the Halesowen Friday Night Track League, plus reports on the LVRC National Circuit Race Championships at Birmingham Business Park and the start of the cyclo-cross season. In the meantime, as the road season comes to an end, there are very few events left in the West Midlands, with only the University of Birmingham CC’s criterium at Tudor Grange in October left for those still chasing points. There are more events in other regions for those willing to travel, though, and it is worth keeping an eye on the calendar in case any late events are added.

July 2017

The end of June saw Dave Hughes heading down the M5 to the Wales National Velodrome in Newport for the British Cycling National Masters Track Championships, held over four days from 29 June to 2 July, where he was competing in the “Male H” category for 65-69 year olds. Dave’s stated ambition was to get on the podium at least once so that he could get a good photo for Facebook, but we all know by now that he likes to underplay his chances. True to form, after missing out on a podium place in the 500m time trial on the first day, Dave took bronze in the sprint on the Friday, gold in the scratch race on Saturday and then silver again in the points race on the Sunday. Full results are available here (you have to scroll down a bit through the age categories).

Out on the road, meanwhile, Roger Cutler took on the 2/3/4 Wyre Forest CRC Road Race on 2 July and Gavin Passmore raced the 3/4 Duncan Murray Wines Road Race on 23 July. The best result on the road, however, was for John Hunt, who finished on the podium with 3rd in a round of the East Midlands-based 3/4 Øverst Race League at Burton on the Wolds on 12 July, taking his season’s points tally to 18. There are some photos of the event here.

The following week, Laurence Cooley was 8th in a very wet race at Stourport on 11 July. A couple of days later, he was involved in a nasty crash during a round of the SSSCCRRL at Shrewsbury, which saw Mid Shropshire Wheelers’ rider Andy Mortimer taken to hospital with a fractured vertebra (best wishes for a speedy recovery to Andy). Laurence escaped relatively uninjured with just some cuts and a badly bruised knee, and was able to join Gavin and Robin at Curborough the following evening for the final Lichfield No Frills event of the summer. In the concurrent 3/4 race. Gavin rode strongly to finish 4th out of the 3rd cats, with Laurence and Robin just missing out on points, coming 11th and 12th respectively amongst the 4ths.In circuit racing, both Gavin and John raced at Curborough in the third of Royal Sutton CC’s series of 3/4 races on 5 July, which attracted a large field of around 50 riders. Gavin later reported “feeling terrible” after 15 minutes, which is when he decided to attack while John sat on the front of the bunch. John and a Lichfield rider then bridged across to Gavin’s breakaway, but everything eventually came back together for a bunch sprint, with Gavin taking 10th.

Beacon under-23 bursary holder Matt Clegg returned to Stourport on 18 July for the 2/3/4 handicap race, needing just four points to make 2nd category. With the 2nd cats having caught, Matt decided to launch what is fast becoming his trademark final-lap attack – this time from the back of the pack as they headed down the hill. Ben Manfield-Yorke of Morvelo-Basso RT gave chase and pushed Matt all the way to the line, but Matt eventually won by a wheel to take his fourth win of the season and gain promotion to 2nd cat in style. Congratulations to Matt, who has certainly justified his selection as the club’s inaugural bursary holder this year.

The following week, on 25 July, it was the final round of the Stourport Summer Series, and Laurence finished 10th in the 4th-cat race. Stuart White also returned to action in the 2/3/4 as he prepares for the BC National Masters Circuit Race Championships on 12 August, having spent most of this summer focusing on distance riding. Gavin rode in the first of the series of four ELY Race Club 3/4 crits at Stourport on 29 July, finishing 7th to take his points tally for the season to 13. The same weekend, Laurence took another 10th place at a very slippery Shrewsbury circuit in the last of the Mid Shropshire Wheelers Sunday Circuit Races on 30 July, which saw several riders crash in the rain before the race had even started!

After his success at the World Transplant Games in June, Gavin Giles took part in the British version of the event at Strathclyde Country Park in North Lanarkshire, competing in both the time trial and road race on 28 July. Gavin won silver medals in his age group in both events, finishing 3rd on scratch in the time trial and 4th on scratch in the road race. The event was held in what Gavin described as “monsoon like conditions”, on “a very slippery, wet, technical course”, and the road-race medal was his first in that event since he crashed in the 2013 World Transplant Games. Gavin commented afterwards that he had his racing mojo back, so it sounds like there is more to come from him! Well done Gavin.

Meanwhile, the weather continued to be unkind to the Halesowen Friday Night Track League during July, but there was some racing. At the end of the month, Matt Clegg sat 11th in the overall A-cat standings, and in the Bs, Gavin Passmore was 8th and Adrian Ravenscroft 10th, with Dave Hughes equal 19th. In the vets’/women’s standings, Adrian was equal 7th and Dave joint 11th. Gavin was joint 4th in the B-cat sprinters’ league and 10th in the B-cat endurance standings, where Adrian was 9th and Robin equal 19th. The full tables are available here. Racing in the FNTL continues until 1 September – weather permitting!Finally, to track racing. It was the club’s annual track championships at Halesowen on 1 July, where Matt Clegg cleaned up by winning the individual pursuit, the scratch race and the sprint competition (although he was given a good run for his money in all the events, and Gavin Passmore actually set a faster 250m time in the process). The omnium champions were Matt and Jessica Rhodes-Jones. There was also a full schedule of events for the Beacon Cycling Academy members. Well done to the Academy’s May and Jake for winning the girls’ and boys’ omnium competitions. It was good to see so many new faces, including several women members, at the track champs this year – a trend we hope continues!

With the Stourport Summer Series and the SSSCCRRL now finished for the year, there aren’t that many races left in the West Midlands (though there are still three of the ELY Criterio du Rosa Saturday events remaining), but there are still plenty of road and circuit races in the calendar for those willing to travel. Before we know it, cyclo-cross season will be here, and the Beacon are co-hosting the first round of the West Midlands league with Redditch on 3 September. We’re at a new venue – the Abbey Stadium – this year. Beacon members are encouraged to enter or to volunteer to help run the event

June 2017

June got off to the best possible start, with Matt Clegg winning the 3rd-cat race at Mallory Park on the first of the month. Matt attacked in the final half-lap, and held off the bunch to take the win and banish the frustration of being forced to freewheel in the finishing straight on his previous appearance there. Matt has since switched his attentions to Stourport, where he finished 5th in the 2/3/4 race of the Ludlow Brewery RT-organised round of the Stourport Summer Criterium Series on 20 June. This race is organised on a handicap basis, with the 3rd and 4th-category riders getting a short head-start on the 2nd cats. Matt held his own against the 2nds when the catch was made, and indeed tried a few attacks, before finishing strongly in the bunch sprint behind a solo breakaway winner. The following week, in the round organised by Stourbridge CC, the gap between the 3/4s and 2nd cats was increased from 30 to 40 seconds. Matt’s group worked well together and actually increased their lead over the chasers in the early stages of the race. When it became clear that they were not going to be caught, Matt launched another late attack to take the win. Two wins in a month leaves him requiring just four points to be promoted to 2nd category.

Matt wasn’t the only Beacon rider to pick up points at Stourport in June. In a very wet 4th-cat race organised by Success Cycling on 6 June, Jamie Dennis took 2nd in what was his first time racing at Stourport, and Laurence Cooley was 9th. The following week, Laurence went on to finish 7th in the 4th-cat race at the ZipVit/Lichfield CCC Adult Spring Meeting at Curborough. Earlier in the month at Curborough, Gavin Passmore finished 9th amongst the 3rd cats (the winner being former An Post professional Kieran Frend!) in the first of the Lichfield No Frills Friday events on 2 June. The Lichfield Friday events feature concurrent 3/4 races, and in the second of the series, on 23 June, Robin Kirkham was the 9th-placed 4th-cat rider, picking up his first BC point in the process. Royal Sutton CC have also been making use of the Curborough course to run mid-week races, and in the second of the series on 28 June, John Hunt was 9th in the 3/4 race – Kieran Frend finishing second in this one.

On the road, John, Gavin and Laurence all took part in the Redditch Road Race for 3rd and 4th cats on 4 June. The race was very well organised by Redditch Road and Path CC, with the help of BC accredited marshals, although there were a fair few crashes, with Laurence being caught behind one on the first lap. The reduced main bunch stayed together right into the final straight, where John launched a strong attack. He almost managed to hold on to his lead until the flag, but was caught just short of the line to finish 10th.

The club now has 70 points in the BC West Midlands regional ranking, placing us 14th overall. This ranking only includes races within the region, so Matt’s points at Mallory Park aren’t included. What’s particularly pleasing is that these points have come from seven different riders, which is the highest number of Beacon points scorers since 2013.

Dave Hughes was also back in action on the road after the nasty crash he had in May, taking part in the LVRC’s Tommy Godwin Memorial Road Race in Bearley, Warwickshire on 4 June. Showing few ill-effects from his crash, Dave finished 2nd to Category F rival Ralph Keeler. Later in the month came the LVRC National Road Race Championships, held at Owslebury, Hampshire on 25 June. Dave had set this as one of his target races for 2017, although this plan had been complicated both by his wife, Anne, competing in the European Sprint Triathlon Championships in Düsseldorf on the same day, and by Dave’s rediscovery of track racing and his subsequent preparation for the BC National Masters Track Championships, held between 29 June and 2 July (more on that next time). Still, he was pleased to have recovered sufficiently from his big crash to be able to participate, and on a hilly course that didn’t really suit someone preparing to race on the track the following week, Dave nonetheless gave a good account of himself to finish in the top 10. You can read this account for yourself on the LVRC’s results page for the event, in fact.

The end of the month also saw Gavin Giles in action at the World Transplant Games in Málaga, Spain, where he took part in the time trial, team time trial and the road race. In the TT, he finished 7th out of 41 in his age group and 14th out of 130 on scratch. His TTT team with Ottilie Quince and Rich Smith was the only mixed national A team, and they finished 4th – a mere 0.12 seconds off of the bronze medal position. In the road event, Gavin raced with a sore throat and swollen glands (the result of the immunosuppressants he has to take) but still put in a mid-race attack that had the bunch strung out for some time. He eventually finished not far off the back of the lead group, and in the top half overall. Not satisfied with that, he then took to the basketball court for six games the following day, winning a silver medal with his GB teammates!While Dave was racing up hills in Hampshire, Anne was going one better in Germany by winning her age category in the ETU Sprint Triathlon Championships, thereby becoming (possibly the Beacon’s first?) European Champion. Congratulations to Anne on this massive and well-deserved achievement!

In last month’s report, I promised an update on Beacon riders’ progress in the Halesowen Friday Night Track League. Results up to 23 June are now available on the Halesowen website. There have been some strong Beacon performances, including race wins for Gavin Passmore and Matt Clegg. Well done to Adrian Ravenscroft and Robin Kirkham for getting in the points, too.

Finally, news that the folks at ELY Race Club are organising a series of four Saturday events at Stourport, starting on 29 July. Each event will include a 3/4, a women’s 3/4 and an E/1/2/3 race. Entries are open now on the BC website. This could be a good opportunity to keep racing into August, when the calendar otherwise starts to look a bit bare. Looking further ahead, league entries for the West Midlands Cyclo-Cross League are still available for the youth, female, and male 50+ vets categories, but are selling fast, so do get your entry in quickly if you intend to race this winter.

May 2017

Each year, May brings the start of a number of local racing series, and the season is now well and truly under way. On Tuesday 9 May, it was the Beacon’s turn to organise a round of the Stourport Summer Series. On a nice evening, there was a good turnout of riders despite the alternative attraction of watching the Tour Series visit Redditch. Thanks to everyone who helped out on the night, and congratulations to Nick Morris (Clee Cycles), Christie Jones (Hereford & District Wheelers) and Ben Manfield-Yorke (Morvelo-Basso RT) for their wins in the 4th-cat, women’s 1/2/3/4 and the 2/3/4 races respectively. Full results are available on the British Cycling website. The Beacon’s Dave Hughes and Gavin Passmore combined marshalling duties with racing, and Dave deserves special mention for his strong performance in the 4th-cat race, where he finished 13th out of 31 starters.

Two days earlier, Dave had been racing at Enville in the Stourbridge Velo round of the LVRC Percy Stallard Series. Last season, Dave had finished 2nd in his age category in this event, on his return to racing after a decades-long break. This year, he was 3rd in his category, losing out in the sprint to two very strong riders in Don Parry (the reigning national champion) and Ralph Keeler. Dave was back in LVRC action again on 21 May, when he took part in the Worcester St Johns-organised Gerry Hughes Memorial Road Race at Great Witley. Unfortunately, his race ended early and painfully. Not satisfied with racing for the category win, Dave attempted to bridge across to a two-rider breakaway with another rider, but during the chase he hit a sunken pothole and was thrown from his bike, suffering extensive road rash but thankfully no broken bones. Dave was very grateful to the St John Ambulance volunteers and the race organisers for their help, but says he will probably be laying off the road racing for a while (he was still out riding a club TT four days later though!).

The South Staffordshire and Shropshire Cycling Clubs Road Race League (SSSCCRRL) also got underway in May, with Laurence Cooley and James Tate the two Beacon riders to enter the full series this year. In the second round on 18 May, on the Charlton course between Telford and Shrewsbury, Laurence and James’s handicap group managed to hold off all of the faster groups and James finished 5th in the sprint for his first BC points of the season and his best race result to date. There’s a good write-up on the league website here and some photos from David Perry here. The following week, it was the Beacon’s turn to help organise a round by supporting Stourbridge CC, who did an excellent job of putting on the league’s only visit to the Enville course this year. The series runs until 20 July and entries are available on the line most weeks, and as a league-affiliated club, Beacon members get priority entry, so if you’re considering giving road racing a go, this is a good option.

There were also some good results for Beacon riders in the Solihull No Frills circuit races, which returned to Tudor Grange for another year. The biggest Beacon turnout was for the 3/4 race on 24 May, when Matt Clegg, Laurence Cooley, Tim Egan, Gavin Passmore and Jamie Dennis all raced in a full field of 40. It was a quick race, especially early on, and Matt was involved in several breakaway attempts, but none of them stuck. Gavin spent most of the final five laps on the front, and was rewarded with an 8th-place finish. The following week’s event took place on the day of the sad death of local junior rider Joe Guy, of Wolverhampton Wheelers, and the race was preceded by a minute’s silence in memory of both Joe and former Solihull rider and amateur world champion Graham Webb. There is a brief write-up of the race on the BC West Midlands Facebook page. John Hunt was the lone Beacon participant, but finished a strong 6th, between the breakaway and the bunch.

While away at university in Leicester, Matt has also been racing at Mallory Park, where he finished 9th in the 3rd-cat race on 18 May, on an evening that started dry but ended with torrential rain, resulting in conditions that were “so wet it was difficult to breathe due to the spray from the wheel in front”, as Matt put it. He would in all likelihood have finished higher than 9th, had the rider in front of him not dropped his chain in the sprint, which forced Matt to freewheel for a significant portion of the finishing straight.

Amongst other road and circuit races in May, John Hunt and Daniel Newns raced in the 2/3/4 Halesowen Road Race, James Tate travelled to the Cotswolds for the 3/4 Gloucester City CC Summer Road Race, and Gavin and Matt raced in the crash-afflicted 2/3/4 support race at the Shrewsbury Grand Prix.

While this report doesn’t usually cover time trials and triathlon, it would be remiss of me not to mention that Anne Hughes successfully defended her age-group sprint-distance title in the British National Triathlon Championships on 27 May. The day before, Jessica Rhodes-Jones won the 19-34 age category at the Contre la Montre de l’Albigeoise in Albi, France, which formed a round of the UCI Gran Fondo World Series and qualified Jess for the Gran Fondo World Championships later in the year. The word is that the Hugheses are looking to invest in a bigger mantelpiece, and Jess can’t be far off needing to as well.On the track, participants in the Halesowen Friday Night Track League have been a bit unlucky with the weather so far this season, with gloriously sunny days giving way to rain on Friday nights, resulting in a couple of cancelled rounds. Nonetheless, when they have been able to race, Beacon riders have been doing well. Adrian Ravenscroft, Dave Hughes, Gavin Passmore, Robin Kirkham and Pete Marshall all raced the first round on 5 May, with the highlights being Gavin winning the course des primes and jointly winning the points race, Dave coming 2nd in the women & veterans’ devil and 3rd in the points race, Robin 5th in 14-lap endurance race and Adrian 5th in the 35-lap endurance race. On 26 May, Gavin and Pete were joined by Matt Clegg and Tim Egan, and Beacon Academy members Joseph Egan and George Astbury took part in the under-10 “freewheelers” category. The official results haven’t yet been published (hopefully we’ll have them for the next racing report), but there were Beacon wins and George took home £5 for his debut performance. There are some good photos of the night’s action on the Halesowen Flickr page. Meanwhile, Dave is now confirmed as the winner of category F in the LVRC Derby track league.

We’re only five days into June but there’s already enough material for another report, which will be coming at the end of the month…

April 2017

April got off to a good start for the club, with Dave Hughes winning his category at the LVRC Solihull Early Season Circuit Race at Tudor Grange. Dave mixed it up with lower age-category riders to slip away from his main competitors in a breakaway and lap the other category F riders to take the win. This was doubly impressive given that he was telling himself that he needed to save his legs for the following day’s trip to Milton Keynes for the CC Luton Claydons Spring Classic Road Race, which formed part of the Percy Stallard Series. Dave spent much of that race chasing close rival Joe Rowe, who was following category E riders as they attacked. Despite suffering on the climbs, Dave stayed with the bunch into the finale and ended up following E rider John French as he attempted to win from distance. Clear of the bunch with 200 metres to go, Dave suffered cramp and couldn’t quite hold his lead until the line, finishing 6th in category F. It’s a mark of how well Dave is going though that he counts 6th as a bad result!

Matt is being supported by the Beacon’s inaugural under-23 racing bursary this season. On the basis of his application and the promise that he had shown in the last couple of seasons, the committee was of the view that Matt would make an excellent first recipient of the funding, which is intended to reduce the cost for racing for young Beacon members, and this result demonstrates why.Not wanting to be outdone by Dave, there was an unprecedented (at least in recent times) turnout of somewhat younger Beacon riders for the Karbona Circuit Races at Birmingham Business Park on 9 April. Matt Clegg and Tim Egan raced in the 3rd-cat event, before being joined by Laurence Cooley, Roger Cutler, Ryan Evanson, James Graemer, Mark Hobson, Robin Kirkham, Daniel Newns and Gavin Passmore in the 3/4 race, making for a Beacon team of ten (10!). The day got off to the best possible start when Matt landed his first win in the early morning 3rd-cat race. He followed another rider off of the front of the bunch, only for that rider to drop back, but was soon joined by a new breakaway companion in the form of Shutt Velo Rapide’s Billy Leason. The pair stayed away to the line, maintaining an impressive gap on the bunch, and Matt outsprinted Leason for the win.

Matt followed up his win by riding for his teammates in the 3/4 race, which after an hour’s racing and many thwarted attempts at breakaways, came down to a nervy bunch sprint. Roger, Gavin and Laurence were the highest-placed Beacon finishers, with Roger grabbing some points for 6th. Full results for both races are available here, and there’s a good write-up including photos on the British Cycling West Midlands Facebook page. The same day, John Hunt was racing in Beacon colours in the Two Counties Road Race on the hilly Bridgnorth course. By all accounts, John was going well until a puncture towards the end of the second lap ended his race.

Rounding off April’s report, Dave Hughes returned from some training in the Mallorcan sunshine to race the LVRC Derby track league on 20 April, where he won both scratch races in bunch finishes and the points race, before crashing in the elimination. He now leads his category in the league table. Dusting himself down after his crash, Dave then travelled to Halifax for the Derek Smith Memorial Road Race on 22 April, taking the overall and category wins in the F/G race. On 29 April, he finished 2nd in his category in a Tunstall Wheelers/Brian Rourke-Pro-Vision circuit race at Darley Moor, to finish off another excellent month of racing for the veteran sprinter.

Now that we’re into May, opportunities to race are coming thick and fast, with a number of Beacon riders taking part in the Halesowen Friday Night Track League, the Stourport Summer Series, the Solihull No Frills races at Tudor Grange, the SSSCCRRL and a number of Sunday road races. As always, e-mail the racing secretary at roadracing@beaconrcc.org.uk if you are interested in getting involved. It would be particularly good if we could get some female club members regularly taking part in circuit and road races, following Jessica Rhodes-Jones’s impressive time trialling lead, and to that end, there is a series of British Cycling rider development sessions specifically organised for women and girls starting on Friday 26 May at Tudor Grange. Do check it out if  you are keen!

January 2017

Now that the 2017 season is several months old, a racing secretary’s report is overdue, so here’s what club members have been up to in the first three months of the year. More regular updates will follow as we get into the heart of the racing season.

Now in its fourth year, the Woolly Mamil winter race series at Stourport has become a favourite early season test of legs for many local racers. While some Beacon members who have raced the series in previous years opted to skip it this year in favour of longer training rides ahead of trips to sunnier climes, there was still a good red, white and green turnout, with Stuart White, James Tate, Daniel Newns, Dave Hughes and Roger Cutler representing the Beacon. Roger’s was the standout performance, with him picking up 9th in the first-round 4th-cat race, 7th in round two and 2nd in round three, to gain promotion to 3rd cat in his first three circuit races. Daves Hughes also deserves special mention, for his first British Cycling race in many years, following his return to racing with the LVRC last year.

Dave followed his BC return up with silver in his age group in the LVRC National Omnium Championships in early February. On 5 March, Dave then won his category in the first round of the LVRC’s Over 65 Series, the Baines JCA Equip Velo Road Race. Well done Dave (and more to follow below…)!

11 March saw the second running of the University of Birmingham CC’s stage race, which this year included two stages on the same day: a 10-mile hilly time trial and a circuit race at Stourport. John Hunt and Matt Clegg took part in the 2/3 event, and Daniel Newns and Gareth Powley in the 4th-cat races. John came in 15th in the TT in a time of 23:05. The 2/3 crit was fast from the off, and an eight-man breakaway established itself and stayed away until the line. Matt made a late effort to try to get a gap on the peloton late on to make up for his lack of a time trial bike earlier in the day, but was brought back and so wasn’t quite able to snatch 9th place on the stage. Finishing in the main group meant that John finished 14th overall – a good result against some decent 2nd cats! Full results are available here.

The following weekend, Dave Hughes was back in LVRC action, taking 3rd place in F category in the La Fleche Waltonne Road Race, part of the Percy Stallard Series, at Walton in Leicestershire. Dave was only narrowly pipped to 2nd by Joe Rowe, who is in his first year as an F cat, after David Deakins had slipped off the front unnoticed for the win.

A number of regular local (and not so local) crit series are also now underway. Laurence Cooley took part in a 3/4 race at Darley Moor on 11 March – the first of a series of events at the motorsports venue, organised by Ashfield RC. He narrowly avoided a crash that took down a significant number of riders some 20 minutes into the race, and with British Cycling no longer allowing laps out for crashes and mechanicals, finished the race in a gruppetto of riders who decided to make the most of the training time. The following weekend, a decent-sized group of Beacon riders travelled down to the Milton Keynes Bowl on Saturday 19 March. Stuart, John, Matt and Gavin Passmore all raced in a tough 2/3 race, with Robin Kirkham taking on the 4ths. Gavin then made it a two-race weekend by taking part in the 3rd-cat race in the first round of Mid Shropshire Wheelers’ series of Sunday circuit races at Sundorne, Shrewsbury the following day. He was joined by Roger, with Laurence in the 4ths – all three finishing in the bunch of their respective races. No points were won this weekend, but it is only March after all…

To round off the results for March, Dave secured 2nd place by winning the bunch sprint at the Pinvin Road Race (the 2nd round of the LVRC Over 65 Series) on the final Sunday of the month. Joe Rowe had gone clear from the gun, and managed to stay away, but Dave was the clear winner of the sprint for second, beating rival sprinters Ken Bradbury, Malcolm Fraser and Nick Selibas to the line. As if that wasn’t enough for one report, Dave is also currently sitting in 2nd place in the LVRC Derby track league.

Looking forward, a large number of Beacon riders have entered the 3rd cat and 3/4 races at Birmingham Business Park on 9 April, and Dave Hughes has a number of LVRC races on his calendar, including a circuit race at Tudor Grange on 1 April. Support from fellow club members is always welcome, and both the Business Park and Tudor Grange are within easy cycling distance for most club members. Further ahead, both the Stourport Summer Series of circuit races and the South Staffordshire and Shropshire Cycling Clubs Road Race League start in early May. As ever, if any club members are interested in giving racing a go for the first time, please do not hesitate to contact the racing secretary at roadracing@beaconrcc.org.uk. The organising clubs (of which the Beacon is one) are particularly keen to boost women’s participation in the Stourport Summer Series, as the women’s fields there have been quite small for the last couple of years. Don’t forget that there are coached track sessions for club members taking place at Halesowen on 1 and 29 April – see the message board for more details.