Solihull Racer takes top prize in Mens Road Race 2022

Banbury Star Road Race 2022 – Men

Solihull Racer take the prize in close finish.

Light winds, dry roads and very bright conditions met the competitors for the annual Men’s Road Race hosted by Banbury Star Cyclists club on Sunday May 21st. 

A 45 mile race, which is 3 laps of a 15 mile circuit, which starts out on the Warwick Road, goes down Warmington Hill, turns left at Kineton and brings the riders to the foot of Edge Hill otherwise known as The Knowle.  A climb which has a maximum gradient of 16%, a climb which one the cycling magazine described as ‘ a brute’.  The route then goes along the ridge to the Stratford road, turns left , left again down into Horley along a road with very indifferent surfaces, thanks to the lack of maintenance from the highways agency. A sharp left in Horley, brings the riders to a gnarly climb to the finish line.  

The race, which is for Category 3 and 4 racers, started at 9:30, in near perfect conditions with a field of 68 riders including 4 club members of Banbury Star regular racer Richard Santhouse, Josh Lovell, Jose Antonio Diego Gonzalez and Peter Drnovsek. The opening salvos of battle began on the Warwick Road, where early on 3 riders appeared to be trying to get away from the bunch. They were soon pulled back in and were back together for the first ascent of Edge Hill. They stayed together all the way down through Horley, a small gap opened on the climb to the finishing line. As the group pulled onto the B4100  Warwick Road for the 2nd time, a group of 11 opened the gap wider  and started working together to try and get away. Up Edge Hill 2nd time, more splits started to occur as the climb took its toll on the field. 

The 11 off the front were working well together with 3 time Hard Riders TT winner Dave Fellows, scoring well in the King of the Mountain competition, the group rotating through had created a gap of over a minute on the rest of the field. The 3rd and final ascent of Edge Hill was chaotic at the start with vehicles coming down the hill and horse riders on the same side of the road as the race on the first part of the climb. A few of the group lost a bit of momentum , causing them to try and get back on at the steepest part of the climb. By the time the top was reached 5 riders had pulled away, again. Oliver Tandy , Solihull CC , club mate of Dave Fellows,Ben Bussman for Cowley Condors, Dave Fellows, Dan Lord – University of Warwick, Evan Clements – Team Smartdry and James Millar – Onyx Racing Team, making up the 5.  On the charge down through Horley, they seemed to have the race to themselves.  But suddenly, the other 5 from the split were swarming around the commissaires vehicle on the short but steep ramp to the finishing line and catching the 5 on the front. 

A frantic finale ensued  and in what was a very close finish, Oliver Tandy for Solihull taking the points just crossed the line ahead of Ben Bussman withDave Fellows in 3rd.