By Kris Zentek.
The previous day’s crit at Darley Moor was a good opportunity to get my racing legs back, and get the first-race jitters out the way. Today I was travelling to Skelmersdale for 25 laps of Pimbo. It was a cold, damp start but the forecast promised some breaks in the clouds. Maybe even a bit of sun.
After setting up the turbo, I pinned on my number – personalised with our names – nice! About 30 mins from the start I got on the turbo, starting warming up, but decided I’d rather go do a few laps instead. As I set off, it started to rain – freezing rain that felt like hail on the back straight. Luckily it subsided by the time we lined up.
Off we went, and for the first couple of laps we all stayed together. It was fast, but steady. A couple of incidents nearly caused a crash, but everyone stayed upright despite a wheel or two being damaged.
I’m. Not sure where it happened, maybe on the first prime lap, but three had escaped up the road, including two Wheelbase riders Pete Barusevicus and Matt Nowell, and Dave Allonby from BNS. They had a growing lead, and so numerous attacks went to join them, but these were pulled back and the trio kept away.
Around the midpoint, I saw a move from Ryan Pike to bridge to a few who had escaped. This time I followed, and we joined up, immediately starting to work to build a lead. At this point, the leaders were around 55 seconds ahead. A lap or two later, we were joined by a couple of NFTO riders who had bridged to us, and they soon took control – 20 second turns = bigger rest – so that’s what we did. There were 9? Of us now, and it was obvious there was a range of fitness levels. While some were doing big, strong turns on the front, others were peeling off straight away.
It was pretty obvious this wasn’t going to stick, and when the NEG rider told us the trio were now 1:30 up, this confirmed it. The bunch were never more than 30 seconds behind, and as we approached maybe 5 laps to go, the leaders were now at 2 mins, and the bunch were in sight – you could see the riders clipping off the front were dragging everyone with them, and by this point my right hip was giving me a few issues, so I sat up and rejoined the bunch.
Some of our group managed to stay away and rebuilt a lead of around 15 seconds, and although they never caught the three leaders, they managed to stay away to the finish to mop up the points. Come the last lap, I just coasted in behind the bunch sprint.
This wrapped up my first weekend of racing, and although I came away with nothing, my aim was only to stay upright and get some speed into my legs.
The leading group of three had attacked early and managed to build a huge lead on the field, and on a fast flat circuit, that’s a big achievement. Chapeau lads, really good ride…
I’ll finish up by giving thanks to Brian Rigby and St Helens CRC for putting on yet another successful day of racing – everything ran like clockwork. Thanks to the marshals and the NEG riders for keeping us all safe, and thanks to the team at the start/finish for the hot drinks and food, which was very gratefully received!
Finally, I’d like to thank Ellen Isherwood and the other photographers, who gave up their own time to perfectly capture the days racing with some amazing photo’s. Very much appreciated!! If you want to see the full album, click here:
Next weekend will be a real test of fitness on the lumpy Dolphinholme course for the Jim Rogers Memorial Road Race.
- Peter Barusevicus – Wheelbase Altura MGD
- Matthew Nowell – Wheelbase Altura MGD
- David Allonby – Big Northern Setup
- Ian Bibby – NFTO
- Jonathan McEvoy – NFTO
- Jack Barrett – Bikehaus by Ridley
- Richard Haughton – THR Racing
- Arthur Didelot – Neon-Velo Cycling Team
- Jacob Ragan – The Nab Racing
- Hamish Graham – Green Jersey RT
- Michael Ashurst – Champion System VCUK
- Jake Cowen – The Nab Racing
- Anthony Greenhalgh – Onimpex Bio Racer RT
- Tom Lowe – Lancaster University Cycling C…
- Sam Boast – Wheelbase Altura MGD