On a sunny winters day, the only thing to put you off racing would be a strong wind, pushing into your face on the way up the Hoggenberg… Luckily, that didn’t put many people off this Saturday with good fields in both the 4th cat and 2/3/4 cat races.
4th Cat only
The 4th cat started steadily before a prime at the end of the 3rd Lap sparked some action. It was hotly contested but Alex Trench (East London Velo) took the prime with a strong sprint – time would tell if he would pay for that effort later in the race…
After 30 minutes Jonathan McCann (unaffiliated) and James Brown (G!ro Race Team) – winner of last week’s race so clearly had a good winter – forged a gap, while the bunch was losing riders from the back with each lap.
Two laps later, Anton Breuste (East London Velo) launched a big effort and bridged to the leading two riders, leaving the ever-dwindling bunch to fight it out for the minor places.
The remaining laps were a tactical battle with the front three staying together and the bunch breaking apart under the pressure of the chase. Behind them a second group of three riders formed leaving the rest of the field spread across the course, fighting their own individual battles with close-by riders, the wind and, of course, the Hoggenberg.
The three leaders were still together at the end with the sprint finish taken comfortably by James Brown (with his second win in two weeks), with Anton Breuste in second place and Jonathan McCann, third.
With his third cat license now in the bag, we hope to see James in the 2/3/4 race next week. We also hope to see more of Anton Breuste after this strong debut for East London Velo, and of Alex Trench taking the prime on his second outing for ELV.
The 2/3/4 race had a quick start, which was made quicker with a prime being contested at the end of the 3rd lap. Craig Rogers (Cambridge University CC) jumped out of the bunch as it came up the Hoggenberg and took the prime with ease, even having time to check the size of the gap he had before cruising over the line. This would prove to be an ominous sign for the rest of the racers…
At this stage Tom Cullen (Otley CC) decided to get busy and started to launch attacks with the regularity of a Swiss watch and the brutality of Big Ben’s bells. It took a few laps, but at the 35-minute mark, Tom had a 30 second lead on the bunch, which was losing riders out the back with alarming frequency.
Those that remained in the bunch then got organised and started to pull the lone leader back, eventually getting close enough for Craig Rogers to bridge up to a tiring Tom Cullen. Now the question was whether Rogers’ fresh legs could help drive the two away from the closing bunch.
The answer was… almost: the front of the bunch managed to push across to Tom and Craig, creating a lead group of 10 riders and scattering the remainder of the field across the rest of the circuit.
We now had five laps to go and, despite many efforts, the group of 10 stayed together leaving things down to a sprint finish. Craig Rogers was as dominant as he was in the prime lap, taking first place, with Tom Cullen finding fresh legs somewhere and to take second in the sprint. Max Bolton (ToFauti Everyone Active) rounding off the podium to take third in a hotly contested race for the line.
Thanks to all that raced and supported the series and hope to see you all at next weeks races.
Thanks also to our marshalls, BC Comms and to Kalas who are sponsoring some great series prizes. Photos by our own Filip Dehond.