Robin Parker writes…
20th July. LVRC Newbury RR – MStina Points series, Round 9
And so to round 9 of the MSTina LVRC points series. Six laps totalling about 60 miles. The circuit is fairly flat with one long big ring drag about 4 miles before the finish with the finish itself of a short 300m incline.
In warm and humid conditions the bunch wasn’t in any particular hurry to get things started. Early flurries of activity came to nothing. Eventually a couple of guys rode off the front. And then half a lap of so later, another couple managed to break clear of a largely disinterested bunch. With half a dozen of so top riders still in the bunch, it was noticeable that when one of those guys moved – half the bunch was straight on their wheel!
With a couple of laps covered and the leaders pushing their advantage to close to 2 minutes, it was getting time for action. When a small group containing a couple of the favourites managed to escape, I was somewhat exasperated to see them be allowed to disappear up the road. Ideally I would have liked to wait until the long drag to make my move. But with the bunch dithering I figured that I couldn’t wait that long. So attacked along the back road before the drag – hoping very much that a couple of others would come along with me. They didn’t.
At this point I wasn’t sure whether to press on or wait for reinforcements. I decided to press on. Up the drag I was making good inroads into the lead of the group ahead. But it was hard going on my own and I could see that I wasn’t going to make the junction before the top of the drag and the turn onto the tailwind section. So I was mightily relived to look back and see 3 guys coming up to me and the bunch not in sight. I took a bit of a breather and tagged onto the fast moving trio.
It was hard work, but after another few miles we finally joined up with the group ahead and set about establishing our lead and making inroads into the leaders. Up ahead, the lone figure of Glenn O’Brien was doing an awesome ride on his own having distanced his breakaway companions. We picked up the rest of the original breakaway and were then a group of a dozen or so riders. With all the strong men present, it was obvious that the bunch wouldn’t be troubling us again. Now it was just a question of whether we could reel Glenn in or not.
With a relatively large group, some tired legs and likely some hot heads, things became a little heated with about two and a half laps to go with words being exchanged about who was and wasn’t working; who may be of questionable parentage and the usual school ground stuff. I just keep my head down and don’t get involved! Anyhow, issues were resolved by some brisk riding the next time up the drag and our group was whittled to a more cohesive 7 riders.
Finally the gap to Glenn out front started to come down. He was human after all! As we took the bell it was down to about 30 seconds and he was almost (but not quite) in sight. Our group stayed together until we reached the final ascent of “the drag”. I wasn’t looking forward to this. Short sharp climbs I can handle. But this is a big ring, big power ascent and not my thing at all.
There was an acceleration at the bottom of the climb. I dug deep and hung on and when the pace eased off a bit as we got about half way up I was pleased of the rest. But inevitably the peace was shattered by an even more violent attack, this time by Rich Edwards of CC Luton. He was quickly followed by Vince Devine (Finchley RT) and then Gianluca Cappello (GS Vecchi) who is in second place in the points series (and who beat me last year!). I try to follow – but I just can’t make it. The three were gone.
But don’t panic. I look back and Steve Dring (Team Echelon-Rotor) and Simon Brookes (VC St Raphael) where motoring up to me. Steve did a monster turn to take us to the top of the drag and then we set about closing down on our former companions. Up ahead, the guys had finally caught Glenn and Gianluca (in his own words!) was drilling it trying to ensure that I didn’t get back to him.
But after a furious pursuit – get back we did with all of about 2 miles to go! It then became a game of cat and mouse and the paced eased right off. This was perfect for me as I needed a bit of a breather after the chase back. Mile to go. Nobody moved. 500 to go. Everyone is looking at each other nervously waiting to see who blinks first. I have taken up a good position towards the back of the group where I can keep an eye on everyone.
300 to go and still we’re just rolling along but now fanning out across the road as the tarmac starts to tilt upwards. I am to the right hand side and back a little. Still poised. Still watching. As we near the yellow flag at 200 to go I decide that now is the time to move. Simultaneously Steve Dring to the left and Vince Devine, in the centre, have reached the same conclusion and are accelerating quickly.
Perfect, I slot straight onto Vince’s wheel and we quickly distance Steve. My legs are feeling great with no sign of any cramping. I am just waiting to pounce. As the gradient eases a little at around 100 to go I kick again and am quickly up the outside of Vince. Will he be able to respond? Luckily, no. He’s flat out already and I ease past with just 50 to go. I check to the right just in case anyone is thinking of coming over the top of me. But the coast is clear. I sprint through the line just to be sure and the win is taken. Yes!