Having been forced to cancel Week 5 due to Storm Dennis, there was no way we were going to let the series finale get away from us. And it seemed that plenty of you felt the same way – over 80 riders showed up to battle the 40 mph Hoggenberg headwind, with great turnouts in all three races, not to mention some fantastic supporters and – in a Winter Series first – a barbecue.
The women’s race heated up quickly, with a break of four forming early on – Connie Hayes (Liv Awol), Kitty Dennis (Cycle Club London), Greta Cowen (Les Filles RT) and Ffion James (Hope Factory Racing) forged a strong lead that they would hold for the duration. A group of five formed behind the leaders as the rest of the field succumbed to the harsh conditions.
Four became three as the race wore on, with Ffion James taking the win, Connie Hayes second and Greta Cowen, third. Kitty Dennis held on solo between the groups to finish fourth.
Having also placed second and third in week one, Saturday’s points cemented Greta and Connie as joint winners of the ELV Women’s Winter Series 2020.
Today’s win saw Ffion James take joint third place in the series, with week one’s winner Ellen Bennett (Flamme Rouge). Ellen was also the highest placed junior rider and highest placed 3rd Cat. Feodora Rayner (Velociposse) took the prize for highest scoring 4th cat rider.
The 4th Cat race fractured early, a lead group establishing itself quickly in what would prove a predictably attritional race. Not wishing to be outdone by team-mate Ffion, William Weatherill (Hope Factory Racing), defied the conditions to take the win. Oliver Fox took second place and David Clark (Orwell Velo), third.
The Starting as a 4th Cat series winner was James Brown (G!ro Prestige), with Connor Backhouse (Kingston Wheelers CC) in second place, and David Clark (Orwell Velo) third.
After the first few galeforce ascents of the Hoggenberg, a bold back-straight break away saw four riders jump clear of the group. Two more managed to bridge, and with the wind keeping the rest of the riders at bay, the six maintained a lead for the duration of the race. Behind them, several riders – including ELV’s own Callum Stewart and Pete Dyson – attempted to shake things up at the front of the bunch but nothing held.
Ascending into a hurricane seldom delivers a bunch sprint finish and so it proved today – Paul Burton (Paceline RT) took a decisive win, followed by Tom Cullen (Otley CC) in second place, and Christopher Poole (London Dynamo) in third. The remaining breakaway riders – Taylor Johnstone (Velo Schils – Interbike RT), Aaron Freeman (Chelmer CC) and Colin Peck (Athlon CC) – crossed the line in that order with East London Velo’s Callum Stewart, Steve Messenger and Pete Dyson finishing with the bunch.
Paul Burton’s win saw him crowned joint winner of the 234 Series, with Max Bolton (Tofauti Everyone Active), followed by Tom Cullen. Max was also the highest scoring junior rider, and the highest scoring third cat was Tom Yaingou (UEA Velo).
Thank you thank you thank you
Thank you as always to everyone who raced not only today but throughout the series. Thanks to the race supporters, marshals, barbecue chef, British Cycling officials, and to all at Redbridge Cycling Centre.
East London Velo will be back on Sunday 10th May 2020 with the Roxwell Roleur Road Race – entry for the 234 and women’s only 234 races is available now on British Cycling.