Imperial Winter Series – Round 6 Hillingdon Cycle Circuit 21st January 2017
A super clear crisp day with several parts of the circuit shaded from the sun dusted with frost but welcome relief from previous weeks. Another good entry for all categories with 15 ladies and 41 4th cats racing; the 4th cat. started steadily with the first serious attack coming from Nathan Bond. It then settled down for several laps until another effort from Iain Campbell (V.C. Londres) stringing the field out. Probably the most aggressive rider was Mark Aldred (Kingston Wheelers) who constantly attacked off the front and in the end was awarded third place behind Alex Randall (Twickenham CC) and the winner Charlie Woodall (Big Boys Bicycle Club). Woodall will be picking up a pair of Ryder Eyewear glasses as he now moves up to a 3rd cat rank along with Aldred.
The Ladies Race also started steadily with Judith Burne (G.S. Henley) and Kristin Stolpe (Berkhampstead CC) leading from the front and breaking the field up, but in the end Jessica Finney (Portsmouth North End CC) broke clear with a few laps to go and soloed to a fine victory and as a result was awarded the Look Mum No Hands! combativity prize as well. She also collects the Peloton Physio sports treatment session and Queen of the Mountains arm warmers plus a pair of Ryder Eyewear glasses as she moves up to 3rd cat. The sprint for the remaining places was hard fought with Naomi Griffin (700 cc) holding off Harriet Hernando (Velo Club Venta) for second and third places.
The E123 race started fast and furious with a field entry of 71 riders there were going to be many attacks and from lap one Darryl Lusardi (Willesden CC) and Declan Egan (Kingston Wheelers) pushed away and opened a gap on a strung out field. The attacking pattern went on throughout the 70 minute race with in-form Robert Cheng (Mono CC) and Tom Hargreaves (Nunn Sigma Sport) again forcing the pace. Cheng did escape with previous 4th cat winner Rupert Graham (Sigma Sport) but it was short lived and with team mate Damien Clayton moving forward with Ben McKie (VC Londres). From all this activity we witnessed perhaps the most exciting race of the series with ex-rower Rupert Graham going clear again and this time going alone opening a gap which hovered between 8 and 15 seconds. With one lap to go he still had 6 seconds, however, there were several riders intent on denying Graham his solo win. When the spectators realised with 400 m to go he had been caught there was a general feeling of disappointment that he had not managed to hold on. It was a frantic sprint with the previous week's winner Tristan Grigalis (PMR@Toachim House) holding off Damien Clayton (Mono CC) and Ben Scott-Munden (Sotonia CC) and Declan Egan (Kingston Wheelers) in 4th place and with the best 3rd Cat. Ieuan Woods (Catford CC) in 7th place. Clayton will be collecting his pair of Ryder Eyeware Sevenths as he gains his 2nd Cat licence.