Banbury Star retain Leiden Plaque as course record is broken

The annual Leiden Plaque interclub time trial event on Bank Holiday Monday attracted a field of 45 riders from five Oxfordshire cycling clubs. Following World War 2 an alliance was made between Oxford and Leiden and in 1951 the Dutch cycling club, Swift-Combinatie, presented a trophy to foster links between Leiden and the cycling clubs of Oxfordshire.

The Leiden Plaque – presented in 1951

This year’s event was hosted by Banbury Star on its tough 25-mile B4100 Warmington/Gaydon based course, with teams from Cowley Road Condors, Didcot Phoenix CC, Oxonian CC and Bicester Millennium CC competing. This is a handicap event, with the aim of attracting riders of all abilities, with the total times of the best three riders on handicap from each team deciding the winning team.

On a slightly chilly but dry morning, ideal for time trialling, the handicappers did a good job, producing some fairly close results for this type of event. In the end however, it was the 28th win for Banbury Star by 3m.19sec, with a total time of 2:57:45, set by Matt Norris, Sian Marsh and Mery Wolke. Bicester Millennium were second on 3:01:04 with Didcot Phoenix just 1m.45sec behind on 3:02:49, followed by Oxonian 3:04:05 and Cowley Road Condors 3:04:52

The first three riders line up for the start (photo Dorothy Bean)

Although this is very much a team event, individual performances can’t be forgotten and club rider Luke Norris deserves special mention. Relatively new to time trialling, he not only he set fastest time of the day at 54:56, but lowered the outright course record by 49 seconds. Best male on handicap was Luke Pillinger (BMCC) – 58:52, best women on handicap Sian Marsh (BSCC) and best women on scratch Naomi de Pennington (BSCC) 1:02:27.