By Kris Zentek.
As usual, the weather had been interchanging between warn sun and monsoon rains, so I had no idea what to expect. As I got to the HQ, the heavens opened and for the following hour it started and stopped. Because of some roadworks in the area, people were still screeching into the car park at 6:30pm, leaving no time to warm up before the 7pm start.
Tonight’s race would be 3 laps of the Siddington circuit, a flat 10 mile loop taking in back roads, gravel lanes, and a good stretch of the A34. There would be three staggered races across the age categories, with the M/S/A/B race going first.
We rolled out straight onto the circuit, and with a keen lead car setting the neutralised pace we were soon up to speed! No immediate attacks went, but soon Chris Quin started attacking, keen to get away. A couple of digs looked promising, but a couple of horses on the road quickly neutralised them as we had to stop. Unfortunately the slippery roads caused a crash which ended the race for a few. With an already reduced field because of the weather, it didn’t leave many left.
Once we got going again, it wasn’t long before the attacks came again, and Chris soon got another gap. He was allowed to get away, and I was planning to bridge across to him. A couple other riders had the same idea, and we each took turns trying to break away. Each time, another Macc Wheelers rider chased the attack down.
Onto the A34, I waited for the first incline and attacked again. This time I managed to get a decent gap and I could see a couple other riders (Chris Spencer, Andrew Smith) following. We grouped, and started to pull turns. By now the rest of the bunch had been torn apart, with a second group chasing behind. After the left turn back onto country roads, our trio and the group behind had come together. Chris was only a few hundred yards up and looked like he was waiting for us. Soon we had completed the bridge.
The rest of the group were long out of sight now, and our lead group had 8 in it. As a result, not everyone was working and so the attacks continued. Chris took another opportunity to make a break, but off the back of a turn at the front, I didn’t go with him. Another reluctance to follow from the group resulted him building another lead of 30-40 seconds. On the gravel lane, I rotated to the front and started to press a big gear. I got a bit of a gap and attacked myself, hoping I could bridge over to Chris.
I got a 20 second gap on the rest, but I could see that this time I was being chased down, and I was not making any progress on Chris. So for the next 1/2 lap I was in no mans land. Eventually the chasing group – looking like they were really working together – got within a few seconds of me, and I decided to sit up before I burned all my matches, recover in the group and try again next lap.
When we came back together, Steve Fidler was putting in some huge turns on the front, and really stretched out the small group. But despite his significant efforts, the time check confirmed we were’ putting any time into Chris’s lead. As we approached the left into the gravel road, I readied myself to try and attack again, at least to pick up second place.
As we approached the main road, I pressed on again and tapped Steve to see if he wanted to make a break. Off the back of a turn, he didn’t have the legs to stay with me, so I kept going, trying to get a bigger gap again. But the group kept me within reach with Steve, Chris Spencer and Andrew Smith putting turns to catch me again. I sat up, to try again further down the road.
With Steve on the front, attacks would be impossible, so I waited for the rotation. His teammate Mark Hassall was sat in, and I anticipated the plan was for him to attack late on – he stayed 3rd wheel, and I wanted the advantage so stayed 4th. With a mile to go, Steve rotated and I took the opportunity and jumped the group.
A little bit too early. Wrong corner! I had a bit of a gap so I kept going as hard as I could, but behind me Chris was chasing. I eased up a bit on the incline hoping Chris would come past and I could sit on him, as there was still a couple hundred yards to the line, but he levelled up and it was a drag race. Chris had the legs and distanced me to take second, and I made sure that I would take 3rd, just ahead of Andrew who was always gaining on me.
- Chris Quin – Macclesfield Wheelers
- Chris Spencer – Onimpex Bioracer RT
- Kris Zentek – Team Chronomaster
- Andrew Smith – Seamons CC
- Mark Hassall – Surface Design Racing
- Will Pegg – Stone Wheelers
- Michael Glynn – Wills Wheels
- Steven Fidler – Surface Design Racing
Another really strong ride from Chris Quin and a well deserved win, as he managed to keep his 40 second advantage for a lap and a half, and us chasers were not hanging around!
Thanks to all of the organisers, marshals, motorbike support and staff back at HQ, who kept us safe and sound on busy roads in the bad weather.
Finally, thanks to John Baguley and Ken Palmer for allowing me to use their excellent photos.