Steve Dennis writes…
…..”It’s not about the bike” someone was once quoted as saying, but I would choose not to agree – on this occasion anyway.
It was in the annual running of the SCCU ‘sporting weekend’ of racing based at Okewood Hill near Horsham, consisting of a 10 mile TT on the Saturday afternoon, and a 25 mile TT on Sunday morning, that made me question the statement.
Saturday dawned gloomy and gradually got worse with riders facing squally rain showers and gusting wind by the afternoon. East Grinstead had Mssrs Winkley, Woodward, Hardisty, Macinnes and myself on the start sheet. Richard Woodward chose not to start after suffering a stomach bug during the week, which was probably the best decision he made that week!
Despite the lousy conditions, most people chose to ride their (expensive) specialist TT machines, though some using heavier-duty road wheels. I opted for a conventional road bike and set off mid-way through the field of some 77 riders into a pot-hole riddled, muddy deluge of a course that did a short loop around Okewood Hill before heading off up the A29 to Ockley then left to Forest Green and back to Okewood Hill again.
My time of 24:07 was not unexpected but when I saw a 22:46 on the result board, then came 22:10 posted by eventual winner Pete Tadros, I thought how could I have gone that slow!
One of our earlier starters, Ben Hardisty came home in 28:06. A little faster, Paul Winkley overcame missed gear-changes to record 27:47 and right at the back of the field (when the wind had dropped!), Alan MacInnes produced an impressive 24:27. EGCC got the award for the second best team.
Pre-race favorite and current course record holder Ben Instone was enjoying his warm-up session on the rollers so much that he missed his starting slot and so only recorded 24:09.
Results 1 Peter Tadros In-Gear RT 22:10 2 Jerone Walters Sigma Sport 22:46 3 Niall Digby Sigma Sport 23:13 4 Nic Stagg Hounslow and District Whlrs 23:39 5 Steve Dennis East Grinstead CC 24:07 6 Ben Instone Scientific-Coaching 24:09 Incl 1m 17s LS Others 9 Alan MacInnes East Grinstead CC 24:27 38 Paul Winkley East Grinstead CC 27:48 41 Ben Hardisty East Grinstead CC 28:06 65 riders