Art Winter Criterium Series Week 1
Saturday morning dawned bright and clear, with a gentle breeze blowing across the flat Bottom Circuit of 2.5 miles at Dalton Barracks Abingdon. As Banbury Star racers, Richard Santworth and Peggy Simpkins, took their places in the Men’s and Women’s races in the Art Winter Criterium Series Week 1, a 4 week series of racing.
The event known as Crit Racing is 45mins + 3 laps of the circuit on the airfield. The men’s race for Richard started at 9:30 and had a field of 56. Which started as a bunch for the first few laps, gradually a small group broke out on the front and stretched away from the rest. As the time wound down, the group at the front was down to 5 riders. Richard, riding steadily in the following peloton, kept up consistent lap times of just over 4 minutes and completed 14 laps in the time and eventually finished in 31st position. A good result in the cold and what became a very strong wind. The winner was David Brock – PMCC, winning by a good margin of 6 minutes from Oscar Strange – Team SNDRS.
The same time 45 minutes and 3 laps, applied to the womens’ race when it started at 10:45.
Peggy Simpkins was Banbury Star’s gladiator, in the field of 35. A very tight bunch, with no quarter given, held through the first few laps. The wind by now was blowing very strongly, almost a block head wind down the back straight and giving the bonus of a slight tail wind up the start and finish straight. 3 women went away toward the end and it was very close at the end, with Libby Smithson – Awol Worx Galliard finishing 3 seconds ahead of Emily Chilton – Saint Piran WT and 10 seconds back to Charlotte Hodgkins- Byrne – Paceline RT in third place.
Peggy put in a spirited fight, lapping consistently at 4 and a half minutes and staying in the main bunch, completing 12 laps and finishing in 25th place. She is going back for another battle in the following weeks.
We marvel at Banbury Stars’ racers, competing at this time of year, in cold,wet and more than often very windy conditions, making racing even more difficult.