It was almost as blustery inside as out at sign-on this week – a power cut at the venue delayed printing of the necessary race paperwork, leading to a somewhat condensed registration period… Our apologies to all the racers and thank you for being so patient while we sorted things out.
Unless you’ve been on a social media detox for the last couple of weeks, you’ll know that we’ve been working hard to build participation in our women’s event by charging just £10 to race. So we were delighted to have 12 riders on the start line of the women’s 3/4 and to be able to issue full BC points.
The women’s race got off to a strong start – mindful they were heading off into a gale, no one wanted to be left behind. But the Hell of the Hoggenburg Headwind (let’s not make that a thing) proved attritional and by lap four, the bunch had shrunk to five. Save for one mid-way attack that was soon brought back, the five stuck together for the duration of the race. For the second time in as many races, Amelia Harper took the win and pocketed her third cat license. Maddie Heywood (Lea Valley CC) took the second step and Elizabeth Danckert (Army Cycling Union) the third. Carolyn Soubayroux (Lea Valley CC) and Ellen Inglis (Team JRC) finished with the bunch in fourth and fifth place.
The men’s 4th cat racers had as much gale-force fun as the women, with one rider literally blown off course on the first lap. The field fractured early on, with several bunches and a few valiant individuals stretching out across the circuit as the race progressed. In the end it was newcomer Jacob Wiebel (unattached) who snatched the win, beating 2019 Series stalwarts William Murtagh (Rye & District Wheelers) and Nicholas Taylor (Islington CC) into second and third place. Nice debut, Jacob. Hope to see you again.
The men’s 234 was flat out from the gun, with Wayne Crombie and Thomas Arkell (East London Vélo) driving the pace and initiating a bold early break. Chris Thomas (East London Vélo) kept the bunch in check, leading until a mechanical put a premature end to his race. The hurricane pace and hurricane conditions whittled 34 starters down to just 20, with a different face seeming to lead each lap before the wind drove them back into the mix. Fittingly, it was Flamme Rouge CC’s Joseph Bennett that had matches to burn after others were spent, building a 50m gap on the bunch over the course of the penultimate lap. But with Wayne Crombie leading the bunch into the final lap, it was never going to be that easy.
As the group rounded on the final ascent, Wayne broke free for a final blistering attack, sprinting up the hill to seize the win. Joseph stayed strong for second, with Tim Torrie (Vitus Pro Cycling P / B Brother UK) and Tom Cullen (Otley CC) chasing the attack for third and fourth. As the bunch crested the hill, ELV’s own Thomas Arkell took the sprint to finish a close fifth, ahead of the Series leader, Colin Peck (Chelmer CC) in sixth place.
This week’s Mob-Handed award went to Islington Cycling Club, who fielded five riders in the men’s 4th cat and one in the women’s 3/4, rivalling last year’s Dirty Wknd early season takeover (and the weekly East London Vélo / Lea Valley Youth CC derby, to be fair). Great to see you!
Well done and thanks to all who raced, it was tough out there. Thanks as always to our fantastic comms and ELV marshals. Great photos available here and here. Great results available here. Series standings, here.
Next week is our penultimate event so come on over before it’s too late. Advanced entry is here or you can enter on the day. A few people have asked us if you can race the Winter Series on a day licence – yes, yes you can. Women’s races just a tenner either in advance or EOL. See you next week, can’t wait.