A mild January day greeted the riders for the second event in the 2019 East London Velo winter series. If the temperature was mild, the flag at the summit of the Hogenberg told of a brisk southerly wind blowing in that would strengthen through the afternoon.
The women’s event saw a growing attendance and sufficient numbers to run their own separate race. They stayed together for the most part lead by Caroline Soubayroux (LVCC) up the Hogenberg with metronomic consistency each lap. With Charlotte Jackson (Nice Brew CC) dropping out with a mechanical there were 3 left to fight it out for the win. It came down to a sprint with Caroline nervously looking back to see a fast closing team mate in the shape of Maddie Heywood as they crested the hill within 50 metres of the line. Caroline had enough to hold off her team mate with Emma Pickering (Dulwich Paragon) rounding off the podium.
Caroline Soubayroux and Maddie Heywood sprint for the line.
The 4th cat race saw a good field of nearly 30. A solid if not hectic pace saw the numbers slowly whittled down although the majority of the bunch were in contention as the race entered the last five laps. Sensing an inevitable sprint, one rider had the head and legs to change the narrative, jumping away with 3 to go. William Murtagh broke clear and showed his strength by both getting a gap and then disappearing out of sight. Colin Ross (LVCC) displayed his finishing credentials by leading in the bunch kick to edge out Sam Llewelyn Jones (London Dynamo) for the second step.
Colin Ross and Sam Llewellyn-Jones take 2nd and 3rd
Racers have always been drawn to the Redbridge circuit and it was no surprise to see nearly 40 riders line up to get a proper, safe work-out in the 234 event. The pace was sprightly from the off and it was rare not to see a number of different riders testing the bunch each lap as they passed the finish line. A good clutch of juniors (only £5 to ride) ensured cagey riding went out of the window with Sam Asker (LVYCC) and Alex Herd (LVYCC) both to the fore. Jumping away is one thing, staying away is another. With the stiffening wind making it hard for the various short-lived escape groups to slip free from an attentive bunch.
Age before beauty: ELV’s own Wayne Crombie and Thomas Arkell (photos: Ian Portsmouth)
If you have the legs persistence can pay off, with Sam and Alex forming half of an escape group of four that formed in the closing laps. The equally prominent Tom Portsmouth (Spiderking Soenens) being an early member of the group joined by the evergreen Wayne Crombie (East London Velo) who succeeded in bridging where others tried and came up short. The four were together on the bell lap with a good gap on the bunch and it was Tom Portsmouth taking the sprint by a convincing distance from Sam, Wayne and a tiring Alex. Within seconds the bunch rounded the corner onto the steepest part of the finishing straight with Thomas “Beano” Arkell from the promoting club (East London Velo) taking the field sprint.
WIN for Tom Portsmouth, Spiderking Soenens (photo: Ian Portsmouth)
Full results are available on British Cycling. There are six more events in the series and some good prizes to contest. Thank you to the riders, marshals and officials for a great day’s racing.
East London Velo
Next week’s event: 19th January 2019. Sign up here and save yourself a fiver.