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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.