The club’s new race event – Banbury Star Festival of Racing – held at the local Shenington Kart Track, proved an instant success on Sunday. For an event like this to be put on and organised in such a relatively short space of time, is the result of some hard work by the race committee. They were duly rewarded, with a great race entry, exciting racing and the general feeling that the event will surely now be the first of many in the future.
The Shenington track itself proved a great venue, with three track layouts available for the differing abilities, good on-site facilities and excellent all-round viewing. On the day it provided, thrills, spills, close finishes, drama and two amazing rides from a junior.
Racing started at 9am, with the first of three races for juniors and youths. Race 1. was for Under 8s and 10s, who raced for 15 minutes (8 laps) of the shortest circuit. This was won by Ben Sherriff (Stratford CC), with Murtoya Taimur (VC Londres) the first U8. Next off were the U12s, who raced for 25 minutes (15 laps) on the intermediate circuit. This was again won by a member of the Sherriff family, with brother Aiden taking the win, while Star member 10-year-old Henry Boyles finished 6th. The final race in this segment was for the U14/16s, who raced for 40 minutes (24 laps). This was totally dominated from the start by Ryan Oldfield (Cystic Fibrosis Race) who lapped the whole field, with Star member Will Morris finishing second.
The event then moved on to the four main races of the day, all held on the full 1 km circuit and sponsored by The New Foscote Hospital.
Riders in the women’s Cat 3/4 race (photo Paul Dean)
The first race was part of the Oxfordshire Road Race League (ORRL) for Cat 2/3/4 women and held over 16 laps, with a 24-rider entry. After just a few laps the race developed into a strong 17 rider leading bunch, with positions constantly changing. A sprint finish was inevitable with Amber Junker (Brother UK-Orientation) just beating Louise Davidson (LDN Academy), while Star riders Peggy Simpkins finished 10th and early leader Hayley Holland 13th.
Next off were the Elite and Cat 1/2 women who raced for 25 laps. With a field of this class, breakaways were never likely to happen and so it proved, with all 17 riders remaining largely in one main group. However, the two strongest riders appeared to be Lydia Watts (Hutchinson-Brother UK) – who is also a BSCC second claim member – and Penny Colloff, who were constantly both up front. On the last lap Lydia made a big effort to hold onto the lead into the penultimate corner and looking strong to take the win, but then the drama happened. Lydia’s front wheel tucked under on this sharp corner, and she was off, with poor Penny crashing into the back of her. This left the way clear for Cerys Greaves (Lichfield City CC) to take a close win from Floren Scrafton (FTP-Fulfil).
The last lap fallers – Colloff (black) leads Watts (pink) earlier in the race (photo Paul Dean)
The Cat 3/4 men were next on track for their ORRL race over 25 laps. This was the biggest field of the day, with nearly 60 riders on track, so close and exciting racing was expected. However, what wasn’t really expected was the torrential rain that descended on the track on lap 3. This immediately caused big splits throughout the field, with some riders obviously liking the conditions, others hating it and quite a few falling at the twisty sections. Two riders who were clearly enjoying the conditions were eventual winner Archie Waller (London Dynamo) and Oli Featherstone (Cowley Road Condors) who finished second who were well clear of the rest when the flag came out. However, surely the most amazing ride of the day, in this large, experienced field, came from fourth placed junior rider Ryan 0ldfield, who only a few hours earlier had won the U16 race.
Men’s Cat 3/4 winner Waller rides on the wheel of second placed Featherstone (photo Paul Dean)
The main race program finished with the men’s Elite and Cat 1/2 race, over 34 laps. A strong field of around 30 riders, contained some well-known national riders, who started on a still wet, but rapidly drying track. The initial laps saw two different leaders fall at the notorious kink on the back straight, which kept riders very wary. However, towards the halfway stage a group of 6/7 of the top riders started to open up a gap which was never closed down. They changed position regularly, but in the final sprint, Alec Briggs (Tekkers) came out on top, with Tom Couzens (Ribble Collective) second and Cameron McLaren (Kalas Motip RT) third. Star rider Matt Denslow put in a great effort to finish 13th.
The day was rounded off with three short Go-ride races, for juniors, women and men, who don’t hold race licences. This invitation was enthusiastically welcomed by both members and non-members and presented a great opportunity to give racing a go.