Sotonia was the best represented club in the 4th Cat race at the Winchester Park and Ride on Sunday 31st May with Paul Ransom, Jonathan Wren, Chris Moody and Ed Slot eager to get stuck in despite the slightly damp conditions.

By the end of the first lap Chris had already managed to open up a sizeable lead on the bunch and was setting a high pace for the others to try and match. This caused the rest of the field to split up, with a few riders spat out the back and Jonathan leading a chasing group who were lapping about 5 seconds behind the main bunch.

Slowly Chris was reeled in and things settled down a bit. It was great to see Paul, Chris and Ed on the front for a few laps dictating the pace and working well as a trio. Paul was looking strong but managed to find a metal staple on the course and punctured so had to retire.

About 20 minutes into the 40 minute race Ed launched what would turn out to be the winning attack and went off the front of the bunch. Chris did an excellent bit of soft pedalling to help him get away, and by the time the others caught on and started to chase, Ed had opened up a huge 20 second gap. Despite a few hints of cramp Ed dominated the rest of the race and increased his lead to over 30 seconds (half a lap) by the end of the race to take a very well deserved first place.

Sotonia had three riders in the slightly longer 3rd Cat race which was also rapid from the start. About seven riders broke away early with James Peckham, Ben Scott-Munden and Phil Wilks in the chasing group. James and Ben put in some very strong turns on the front, but it became apparent that the breakaway was not going to be caught.

Phil was nursing a knee injury and got dropped from the group after about 40 minutes and decided to retire. Soon after, two riders overcooked the bottom corner sending themselves into the bushes, fragmenting the chasing group. James finished a very fine 10th place, picking up his first points as a 3rd cat rider, and Ben finished a couple of places behind.

Many thanks to the organising club VC Venta for an excellent day’s racing. Photos by Phil Wilks are all of the 4th cat race.

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