Phew! Well, with 140 riders taking part including 44 juniors aged 8 and up, I think we can safely say that Sotonia’s first crit race event at the great little Winchester Park & Ride circuit was a MASSIVE success! Huge thanks go to Penny Cossburn and Phil Connell who kept the constant flow of competitors rolling and to the commissaries Mick Metcalf, Simon Hall and Andy Corkill doing stirling work to process results quickly – a hard but rewarding days work by everyone involved.

It was a hot and sweltering day in Winchester with another big Sotonia turnout of seven riders in the 4th cat race. From what I could see of the action from the sign on, Phil Wilks went straight to the front with Jon Wren and pulled the lead group clear – a sign of things to come as Phil was clearly enjoying himself and seemed to drive the pace for much of the race. The final lap saw the second group get lapped on the finish line to give the judges a headache. But when the dust settled, Dan Edwards emerged with second place and Phil was rewarded for his hard work with 3rd place. Provisional results have Ben Scott-Munden a very smart 4th after some astute tactical riding by the youngster, Paul Ransom 13th,  Dave Deady 15th and Ed Wu 17th. Jon Wren after a strong start was forced to retire, still feeling his injuries from the last race.

The third cat race had an even bigger field of 33 and included newly promoted James Peckham. James followed Phil’s lead by driving the early action from the front. After several laps, James found himself gapped from the lead group of 11 and a second chase group of five was formed. James continued to do the lions share of the work to bridge the gap and his gutsy riding was rewarded when he made contact again with 3 laps to go. Inevitably, the pace rocketed with 2 laps to go and Andy Picket of VC Venta took a flyer, holding off the bunch to take the win. James rolled in around 13th place – a fine result for his first 3rd cat race.

The womens race, had an impressive turnout of 14 riders and was won by Megan Chard, with Ruby Chappell second and Sophie Jo Wylie-Morris in third.

The main event of the E/1/2/3 was a fast but cagey affair with club member, Brook Elgie, riding for Hansfords, animating the bunch in the early stages with some strong riding. A few late break attempts were made but it came down to the final lap with the victory going to Matt Clark of London Dynamo, Brook finishing a creditable 11th in a top quality field.

Next up is the VC Venta road race next Sunday (27th) for Tim Dawkins, James Peckham and Jez Hart. Onwards and upwards Sotonia – this club is going places!

Full results:

Graham Robins’ awesome race pics can be found here