The road season is drawing to a close and we had several racers in search of a few points to secure promotion at Thruxton for Behind the Bikeshed’s the final ‘points chaser’ event on Sunday.
Promotion for Chris
We had two Sotonia riders representing the club in the final ‘points chaser’ 4th cat race – Tim Cooke and Chris Moody. A beautifully crisp and sunny day meant good racing conditions and a relaxed field of 40 or so riders took to the track. An unusual tailwind down the final back straight helped the race stay together, with Tim staying well out of trouble in the first ten spots of the field from the start. There were a couple of attacks with two laps to go, which saw the eventual winner make the gap. The field failed to close him down as they came into the back straight for the final time and the pace of the bunch increased. Chris and Tim moved up the field along the straight, and with 100m to go before the final chicane Chris made his move from second wheel to sprint for the line, eventually just losing second by a couple of metres as he crossed the line for a fantastic 3rd place and 3rd cat promotion. Tim fought hard for the 7th place he needed to join the 3rd cat, but just agonisingly slipped to 8th in the final sprint – bad luck Tim, I’m sure you will crack it next season!
The 3rd cat race was just over an hour with 12 laps of the circuit, representing Sotonia were James Peckham and David Baxter. There were the usual long range moves at the start of the race but no organised moves were allowed to go. James and David spent the first half of the race hidden from the wind in the sizeable bunch. The pace was fast up the hill, stringing the field out. Finally on the sixth lap a small group broke away on the hill, they got organised quickly and established a gap into the headwind section. The next time up the hill James bridged across with a couple of other riders. The break of about 10 riders set to establishing a gap. Unfortunately, some strong riders had missed the move and worked hard in bunch resulting in the break being pulled back after another lap and a half. This set up a cagey last couple of laps. James and David were present near the front keeping an eye for promising moves. In the final kick up the hill James followed an early attack and held on for a provisional 8th place.
Wessex Cyclocross League round 3: Tom closes in on top 10.
On the Wessex Cyclocross front, the action moved to Swindon and a unused golf course for Cotswold Veldrijden’s third round event. The course itself was a mostly flat, tightly packed series of multiple, technical turns with bankings and the odd wooded corner with loose soil to catch out the unwary. Sotonia again had riders in all categories, young Tom Wilks in the U10s, Gemma Wilks in the women’s race, Mike Maclachlan in the V50s, Jez Hart in the v40s and Tom Budden, Phil Wilks, Niels Langhout, and Darren Sell in the seniors. Gemma rode well to 13th place out of 23 women.
In the v40s Jez slipped back a few places after a fast start as some damp corners proved to have less grip than expected. finishing in 33rd place of 68 starters.
In the senior race, both Tom and Phil had good starts and were top 20 on lap one. Unluckily for Phil, he punctured and had to run half a lap to the pits which put him near the back. After a bike change, Phil chased hard, passing over half the field to finish 21st. Tom was in a group of six riders vying for a top ten place. A couple attacked off the front of Tom’s group with two laps to go but Tom led the rest as he came in a fine 11th place on this surprisingly tough circuit. Neils was 29th, Darren 37th.
We’re closer to home next week when it’s Eden Veranda’s first ever event at Sir John Moore barracks, Winchester.
Full results can be found here