Race Squad leader Mark Boyles gives a great account of his experience, plus a report on how the other eight Star riders who entered the race got on.
Possibly the largest club contingent ever descended on our own local race on Sunday. The weather was forecast for a humid race with thunderstorms, but luckily the latter never appeared.
The course is 3 laps of our local circuit, totalling 45 miles. These are well trodden roads by the club so we were all too familiar of what awaited us, some of us had been practicing the route in the weeks leading up to it. The start has a 1 mile neutralised role out from NOA, the flag then drops and the race is on. It traces the start of our 20k TT route up the Warwick Road, but descends down the fast Warmington 10% hill and then turns sharp left onto the perimeter road along the side of MoD Kineton army camp.
With a tail wind this is a very fast section, with smooth roads and only a few bends. The false sense of security hits you when you then turn left and view the hill that awaits you.
The climb of the Knoll starts immediately, with a short ramp to the Tysoe turn and then ramps again to the Arlescote turn. After this the hard part of the climb starts, with an average gradient of 16% for half a mile until the very top by the camp lane turn. It’s an OK climb on a club run, but when you’re on the limit before hitting the bottom and then chasing the riders ahead it’s a very different beast.
After the climb it’s then fast through Edgehill village, down past Upton house and then turns left for Horley. This stretch of road is fast, but pitted with lots of potholes, so the senses are working overtime. The run into and through Horley is fast as the road drops away, but then it ramps up for the finish line. The final ramp is hidden and catches you out if you get your gearing wrong.
The start went off reasonably fast, with most of the BSCC riders hanging around the back. It felt the safest place with the impending fast downhill section at Warmington. The plan then was to get BSCC riders up the field and start marking some of the known opposition and also get our good climbers ready to attack the KOM.
Luke Sherlock was the first BSCC over the climb, but was just off the leading pack. He then managed to pair up with Luke Souter, getting them both back to the lead bunch. He kept contact with this group until a break on the third lap, where a lot of fast riders went off the front. He stayed on Peter Dumbreck’s wheel until the last climb to the finish where tired legs got the better of him.
This was Luke’s first ever race, but despite his nerves he managed an incredible 14th and also the fastest young BSCC award.
The other BSCC climbers; Chris Bull, Simon Bull, Blaine Carpenter and Jonathan Ward climbed well and ended up in the midfield bunch of around 10 riders. They all worked well together around the circuit. Jonathan crashed into a load of stinging nettles after touching wheels, so lost contact with the group. The group got smaller and other riders started attacking on the last lap. Simon and Chris ended up riding solo, finishing 46th and 51st respectively. This was their first road race and was a great experience for them both.
Chris Bull and Blaine Carpenter
Lee Heron, Stuart Quick and myself climbed well, but were not fast (or light enough) to keep contact with either of the two main groups. Plan B was enforced and we chain ganged, picking up various riders along route, including second claim BSCC rider Simon Harris. We worked well, keeping up a good average and agreed that we’d work together and get round as one group. We picked up Jonathan on the second lap (he failed to mention the nettle incident) and the group got a little larger. On the last lap we hoovered up Blaine as well.
Lee Heron leads Mark Boyles, Jonathan Ward and Stuart Quick
On our final run into Horley it started getting very quiet amongst us and it obviously dawned on everyone that pride was at stake and it was still going to be a sprint for the finish. People started positioning for the final push, even though it was for the tail end positions.
Blaine crossed the line first 55th, Mark 56th, Jonathan 57th, Stuart 58th and Lee 59th.
Michał Wisowski, the squad’s fast sprinter, unfortunately didn’t make either of the main groups. It was his first road race and he had only been used to crit races, where he’d bide his time at the back, before then positioning for the sprint. Once he was distanced on the climb he worked with two other riders to try and catch up, but the other two gave up, leaving him to ride home solo for 60th.
This is what three of the riders said after;
Luke Sherlock “For me I found the race quite confusing, I managed to edge my way up to the top 15 early on, thanks to some top race info from Mark”
Michal Wisowski “I started at the back of the group (my mistake) pace was very quick at the beginning, but didn’t feel the pressure. All was going very well until we approached Edgehill climb. The group split very fast and before I noticed it was almost too late to chase the group”
Simon Bull “This was my first road race having only done closed circuit races before, so was a bit apprehensive beforehand with how it would all work out in such a large competitive field. I’ve watched it before many years ago and thought – wow these guys are fast. “
Well done guys, as I said after the race, thank you all for putting on the BSCC jerseys and racing. This is a great foundation for the future and generations to come. We have exceeded all my expectations for 2018 and we’re not even half way through the year.
Can I sign you all up for next year??