Over the last couple of weeks six Star riders, Stuart Quick, Tobi Ng, Tobias Wiesand, Luke Sherlock, Dan Reynolds and Mel Searle have been busy racing at the Thursday evening MK Bowl Crit Summer series.
Last week Stuart and Mel raced in the Cat 4 race. Stuart tried attacks throughout the race, but nothing stuck until about 30 minutes into the race, when one rider got clear. He managed to stay away till the end, so the bunch was sprinting for second. The timing wasn’t great as the bunch came up to the ladies race just before the sprint was opening up causing the field to narrow. Stuart spotted a gap on the inside so went for it, but another rider just in front moved across so he was forced onto the grass losing a bit of momentum, but still managing to finish 9th. Unfortunately Mel pulled up with cramp after about 30 minutes, but still managed to enjoy his first Crit race.
Meanwhile, Tobi and Luke raced in the Cat 3/4 race. Tobi continued his good form and finished 4th and did well to avoid a crash early on. Luke finished just outside the top ten.
Summer Series Crit racing at the MK Bowl
Moving on to this last week and the first Cat 4 race, Stuart was joined this time by Luke and Dan. In a field of around 20 riders the pace was fast with an average of just under 25mph. About midway through the race it really broke up as some big attacks went in, with Stuart, Luke and Dan staying near the front so as to not get caught out. The lead group by this time of about ten, containing the three Star riders did split a bit, but regrouped after a couple of laps. With about half an hour gone a Leamington rider went off the front and held a gap of about 20 metres, which he held for several laps. A Warwick rider, who won last week, was back so was the one to watch and so it proved as he then attacked and Luke managed to go with him. They caught the Leamington rider, who then seemed to have gone too early and dropped back to the chasing group. There were now six left in the chasing group, which unfortunately Dan had dropped off. Luke stayed away with the Warwick rider and finished an excellent second. Just as the bell rang the Leamington rider went again and got a gap to claim third, while Stuart then lead out the final sprint for places and was just beaten on the line into 6th place by half a wheel.
Following his second place in the earlier Cat 4 race, Luke then still had enough energy to join Tobi and Tobias in the Cat 3/4 race. The race as usual was one hour long plus 5 laps. The first half hour was on the inner ring and the latter half is when the organisers open the gates and the riders go onto the outer circuit. The first half of the race was steady with attacks shut down quickly. Then came the announcement of the ‘gates opening’. Attacks started to go, and people jostled for position as it is crucial to be near the front of the bunch going around the outer loop as it is more technical. Fortunately, Tobias, Luke and Tobi were able to be near enough the front to conserve energy going into the final quarter of the race. With 5 laps to go, the pace increased dramatically and holding wheels got harder. With a few laps to go, Luke dropped off as a result of fatigue from racing two races in one night. With 2 laps to go, Tobias and Tobi were in the first top ten wheels. The bell went and suddenly, the pace exploded as teams worked to get people to the front. Tobias and Tobi were in second and third place coming into the final bend, but then Tobias went a little too hard and slid wide, whilst Tobi avoided him and went on for second place. It was an unfortunate end for Tobias as the Stars would have taken second and third places.
Tobi’s success means he’s now only two points away from gaining his Category 2 licence, while Stuart is also only two from his Category 3 licence and Luke four points away.
Great fun and excellent results for the club in all the above races.
The final race of the series is next week on 29th August, so it would be great to keep the impetus going with a record turnout from Banbury Star.