East London Velo is proud to be part of the Eastern Road Race League (ERRL) and our affiliation gives members priority entry to many road races each season. It’s one of the big perks of joining a racing-oriented club like ELV and, like the other clubs registered with ERRL, we’re keen to support racing in the region by putting on a competitive but safe and friendly road race each year. It’s not a simple task and requires months of preparation and organisation, but it’s rewarding to see everything come together on race day.

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Convoy car

This year, we ran a National B race (open to Elite, 1st, 2nd and 3rd category racers) on the Roxwell Circuit near Chelmsford. Blue skies, warm sunshine and an HQ full of welcoming ELV smiles (and a tempting selection of freshly-baked cakes) greeted the riders as they signed on, pinned their numbers and prepared themselves for 140km of hard racing.

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Under commissaire’s orders: race briefing

Shortly after joining the A1060 main road, the flag dropped and the race was underway. It didn’t take long for things to kick off, a couple of riders nudging off the front after just two or three km and shortly joined by seven or eight others, including Josh Aiken (Pedal Power Cycles Ipswich), Charlie Wright (Strada-Sport), Oliver Richardson (Twickenham CC) and ELV’s Tommy, who was keen to make the break and get the ELV jersey on show in the club’s home race. The group got to work straight away and after 20 minutes of through and off, a gap of a minute had been established.

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The break settles in for a long day

The Roxwell course is relatively flat and flowing, which helped the breakaway to find a rhythm and steadily build time over the bunch. At the half way point, the gap had grown to 2 minutes and the lead riders started to believe the move would stick. But as fatigue set in, things began to break down and through a combination of complacency, mind games and increasingly heavy legs, the odds began to shift back in favour of the peloton. Four or five riders were doing the majority of the work in the break and, as the commissaire announced a shrinking time gap, it became clear that the group needed to find new impetus or they would be caught.

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Josh Aiken (Pedal Power Cycles Ipswich) on the front as the break passes the start/finish line

After another round of bickering and more bad news from the commissaire’s tannoy, it was Cambridge University CC’s John Mulvey who took the bull by the horns and pushed on alone – a brave move with almost an hour of racing left, but ultimately a very smart play backed up with super strong legs as he would go on to take an impressive solo win.

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John Mulvery (Cambridge University CC) goes solo for a classy win

As the race moved into its final stages, the break was joined by a number of fresher legs. Now 10 or 12 strong, with riders including Rhys Howells (RCC), Ross Fawcett (Pedal Power Cycles Ipswich), Tom Elwood (Cycle Team OnForm) and Mark Richards (DAP) having bridged across and providing new energy, surely the group would make it? Sadly the riders who had been off the front all day had little left to give, and the bunch smelt blood. The leaders were swallowed up with less than 10km to the line and a mass sprint would decide the rest of the places behind Mulvey.

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Chase group now hot on the heels of the break

It was no surprise to see Craig Nicholls (API-Metro/Bodyby JR) win the kick for the line with a powerful seated sprint, Howard Morris (DAP) right on his wheel to round off the podium. Tommy and Pete rolled in without contesting the sprint, Tommy slightly disheartened with the result but proud to have represented the club jersey in a long, hard race.

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Craig Nicholls (API-Metro/Bodyby JR) wins the bunch kick for 2nd place

Back at HQ, tea was gulped, cake was scoffed and congratulations deservedly given to the winner for a brilliant ride.

All in all, a big success. Huge thanks to everyone involved with putting on the race, and special mention to this year’s organiser-in-chief, Steve Messenger.
Result (finishers only)

  1. John Mulvey (Cambridge University CC)
  2. Craig Nicholls (API-Metro/Bodyby JR)
  3. Morris Bacon (DAP)
  4. Dominic Schils (Java Partizan Pro Cycling Team)
  5. Liam Manser (Pedal Power Cycles Ipswich)
  6. Harley Matthews (DAP)
  7. Rhys Howells (RCC)
  8. Oliver Richardson (Twickenham CC)
  9. Kieran Jarvis (Cycle Team OnForm)
  10. Jim Bradford (Cambridge CC)
  11. Thomas Battrum (RCC)
  12. Fabian Horrocks (TBW Bottecchia Wigmore RT)
  13. Dean Shannon (API-Metrow/Bodyby JR)
  14. Mark Richards (DAP)
  15. Gary Freeman (Fast Test RT)
  16. Andy Lyons (API-Metrow/Bodyby JR)
  17. Daniel Shanney (Redbridge CC)
  18. Martin Smith (London Phoenix CC)
  19. Sean Dunlea (Bloodwise QSW)
  20. Thomas Shanney (Redbridge CC
  21. Charlie Wright (Strada-Sport)
  22. Jack Burgin (St Ives CC)
  23. Jordan Sewrey (Casp Racing)
  24. Thomas Heal (Strada-Sport)
  25. Josh Rock (Bloodwise QSW)
  26. Charlie Passfield (Spirit Tifosi RT)
  27. Paul Miller (Maldon & District CC)
  28. Seb Herrod (Strada-Sport)
  29. Ross Fawcett (Pedal Power Cycles Ipswich)
  30. Tom Elwood (Cycle Team OnForm)
  31. Robin Mould (Velosport RT)
  32. Tom Andrews (Orwell Velo)
  33. Thomas Willan (East London Velo)
  34. Mark Barningham (Vicious Velo)
  35. Joseph Halloran (Cambridge CC)
  36. Jack Hardwicke (Strada-Sport)
  37. Frank Longstaff (Richardsons-Trek RT)
  38. Dale Johnston (VC Norwich)
  39. Tom Fitzpatrick (PM)
  40. Charlie Bratt (St Ives CC)
  41. Thomas Barningham (Vicious Velo)
  42. Josh Aiken (Pedal Power Cycles Ipswich)
  43. Pete Dyson (East London Velo)
  44. Andrew Critchlow (Norwood Paragon CC)
  45. Ian Franklin (Pro Cycle Hire UK RT)
  46. Ian Perry (Velo Schils – Interbike RT

(Photo credits: David Smith and Roger Maidment – full galleries available on Flickr here and here).

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