By Kris Zentek.
Kicking off the 2018 season, what better place than Pimbo. The Pimbodrome. The Pimbo world champs. If you ever wanted to perfect the art of slightly turning left for 2 hours, this is the place.
The 3rd cats had finished their race earlier in the day, and as I arrived the girls were smashing it in their race. the boys E/1/2 race would follow at 2pm, and in stark contrast to last year, the sun was out and the temp was in double digits! This is the first race of the season for quite a few, and so there will be some nerves – but nothing can diffuse this more that a bit of warm sunshine 🙂
Representing TC were new signings for 2018 Tony Greenhalgh and Joe Bowers (their bio’s will be ready soon), as well as myself. I know I am not race fit yet – a month in Australia in Jan/Feb saw to that! But I felt good, I am quite happy with my numbers, and was looking forward to blasting off the cobwebs.
Race program stated 27 laps with a prime at 18 to go. But when we rolled off, we did a full neutralised lap (which was a bit concerning) and the lap board displayed 22. The corner before the finish straight was down to 1 lane because of roadworks, so I just assumed this was why we were neutralised.
We kicked off, and true to form the attacks started. There were a number of Elites in the bunch, and any attacks they represented were quickly chased down, and it was the counters that had more promise. I was keen to get in a break, and tried a couple of times. Eventually I got in one that looked like sticking, 3 riders up the road that I bridged to on the headwind back straight. We got maybe a 20 second gap and stayed up from for 2-3 laps, before we were chased down.
A bit later, the more serious attacks started. The bunch fragmented into a few small groups, and I hopped across to the chase group of 7 or 8 riders, with another 3 up the road. We started to work together to catch the others, which we did, and immediately the messing about started. We were again caught within a lap or two.
Tony and Joe started to make their moves in the second half of the race, and were both active in the attacks and the chases. Tony made it into a very promising group and got a bit of a gap, but it too was chased down. As I sank back into the bunch, Joe and Tony stuck to the front, ready for the inevitable bunch gallop.
Nothing was being allowed to get away, and the laps were ticking down. With about 5 to go, a couple of riders clipped away including YouTube vlogger Cameron Jeffers, and they got a decent gap. But on the final lap they were pulled in, and it was a 70 way bunch sprint – I sat back 🙂
On the last lap Hamish graham was mid bunch and the pace was high. there was the pinch point that stretched us all out, and the sprint started 300 yards out. I don’t know how he did it, but he raised his arms to take the victory – a very impressive bit of riding!
Final Results – TBC (*still* not posted at the time of publishing)…
Thanks to Brian Rigby, St Helens CRC and everyone who came to support the race today – marshalls, caterers, NEG outriders – it was a great day, and a really nice, dry, warm start to the season.
Finally, thanks as always to Ellen for the fantastic photo’s that make us all look good 🙂