Both juniors and adults were racing in the last weekend of February.
With the adults taking part in the last weekend of the Art Winter Crit series at Dalton Barracks , Abingdon. Nick Nixon, Stuart Quick and Richard Santhouse in the men’s race and Peggy Simpkins going in the women’s race.
Richard has raced in all 4 rounds, with Nick and Stuart appearing in 2, Nick back after his win the previous week. Kinder conditions were being provided with bright sunshine and a light very cool breeze which grew stronger as the start time approached and eventually resulted in quite a strong headwind on the back straight.
The 3 team members had got together before the start and planned some tactics to try and get a break early. With 45 competitors in the field this was not going to be easy to do and no one was able to stay away from the bunch for very long, Stuart tried to get away on the 2nd corner of the opening lap to stretch things out and but with the headwind on the back straight being the major influencer on the race the bunch reeled Stuart back as no one wanted to stay on the front for any length of time.
Banbury Star team members stuck together in the bunch, helping each other. Richard had been very nervous at the start after crashing in the previous weeks’ race and trying to avoid this happening again. Stuart, holding station in the bunch and Nick looking very strong, bridged across to a couple of breaks that had begun to get away, pulling everybody back together.
With a lap and a half to go of the 45 minute race + 3 laps. Nick put his nose out into the wind halfway down the back straight, the bunch immediately began to chase, Stuart and Richard were not going to chase their teammate down and the riders at the front of the bunch sat up and Nick had a gap. As the bell sounded for the last lap, Nick went full gas making a final effort managing to hold off the charging field and crossing the line first getting his second win in 2 weeks. The bunch sprint for 2nd place was on, with less than a second between 2nd and 19th place. Stuart and Richard challenged hard, Stuart crossing the line in 16th and Richard 32nd, both having worked hard for Nick whilst in the bunch.
Nick is now promoted to Cat 3 races, many congratulations to him. A fabulous result for the team and very well done to Stuart and Richard for again being in the mix.
Peggy Simpkins, once again put in a great effort in the womens’ race, having raced in all 4 rounds being very consistent with performances. This has been a very tough series of races in some extreme conditions, particularly the wind on a few occasions. In this final race of the series, the racing was close, no one was willing to put their nose into the wind and form a split until lap 5 ,when 5 riders managed to go off the front and maintain a gap right to the end and Lucy Harris from Laka Pedal Mafia crossing the line in 1st place, with the other 4 riders coming closely behind with less than a second between them. 21st place finish for Peggy, another brilliant effort for her and flying the flag for Banbury Star.
Junior Stars Flying the flag at Hillingdon
Junior stars travelled down to Hillingdon on Sunday to take part in race 1 of the spring series. Hillingdon bike track is a purpose built 1km bike track, it’s relatively flat with a couple of short drag. The weather was perfect with a slight wind on the home straight but the sun was out and temperatures were kind for the time of year.
In the first race of the day we had Henry and Jorgie racing in the under 10s. This was a 25 min race and quickly blew apart with riders either solo or in pairs. Henry came in just ahead of Jorgie to take 8th in the boys and Jorgie 2nd in the girls.
Sam was up next in the under 14 boys. An early breakaway saw a few riders get away, despite being new to crit racing Sam was active in the chasing bunch taking some strong turns at the front trying to chase down the breakaway. He came in 11th in the end out of 13.
The last race of the day was the under 16 girls, Poppy and Bella lined up, this was a 55 min race which is the longest they’d raced. The race got off to an easy start and was very slow at times until the odd probing attack accelerated the pace of the pack causing a couple of the girls to drop off. Amelia from team MK launched a big attack halfway through and Bella got committed on the front to chase her down. After reeling the MK girl back the pace settled until with 2 laps to go the MK girl broke away again and the bunch couldn’t catch her. The remaining 6 girls entered the last few corners and ended up in a protected bunch sprint with Poppy taking 5th and Bella 7th.