Cycling leagues get into gear

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THE season has definitely turned now with warmer, longer evenings and the various mid-week leagues and series getting into gear.

On Monday the Kent Valley RC held the first of their Jungle Cafe TTs on the A6 north of Kendal.

Dave Baxter started the series well with a good 30:58, over two minutes faster than second placed Andrew Barlow.

Tuesday saw the first of 20 weekly events in the Salt Ayre Cycling Association/VanillaBikes.com League 2011 with 33 riders taking to the track for the one hour plus five laps race.

With a team of six in the event there was always a TeamWallis CHH rider near the front or involved in many of the breaks that enlivened the racing.

Steve Abbott got in a good break with fellow strongman Gary Spenceley, newly signed for BikeTreksRacing.com, which looked like succeeding but the final rush by the peloton saw the break caught on the last lap.

Team Wallis’s Calum Nicholson then hit the front with team-mate Julian Pearson on his wheel. Launched into the final straight Julian was well clear for a decisive win with the Lune’s Andy Pickering coming round a flying Calum for second place.

Jade Wilmot in 10th made it three in the top 10 for Team Wallis with the Lune getting two as Neil Robinson came in eighth just ahead of Lancaster CC’s Mark Brennan.

Herbalife/Wheelbase had two top 10 finishers with Sam Jackson in fifth place and Jack Sadler, still a youth rider, beating many more experienced riders in seventh place.

Wednesday was Kent Valley’s turn again but this time on the A6 south of Milnthorpe for their second evening 10 with the win again going to Dave Baxter, recording 22:36 with only a second separating the next three – Beau Smith (J) 23:51; John Ingham (Lancaster CC) 23:52 and Steve Hodgson 23:52.

The final evening event of the week was Lancaster CC/SA Cog Set’s time trials at the Salt Ayre circuit on Thursday evening.

A total of 50 riders rode in the three events with Bobby Horton the fastest for the second successive week, improving 31 seconds to record 6:44.

In the six mile event Callum Young was only five seconds slower than the previous week recording 15:24 with John Didsbury second with 16:13. Ethan Robertson was on a good ride and would probably have got under 20 minutes had he not fallen victim of the lap counting bug and peeled off the track a lap early.

Twenty-six riders opted to ride the final event of the evening – the 10 mile TT – and Julian Pearson scored his second win of the week at Salt Ayre with a time of 22:46 – only three seconds slower than his fastest ever Salt Ayre 10, while Andrew Callaghan, who only rode one event last season, improved by over half a minute to record 22:52 for second place.

So on to the weekend. Saturday saw the Barrow Central Wheelers promote the Coniston Grand Prix at Torver. When the start sheet came out the immediate reaction was who would come second given the current form of Andrew Wilkinson and the Port Sunlight Wheelers rider didn’t disappoint.

The current 12 and 24 hour record holder and winner of the Circuit of the Dales two weeks ago stormed round the hilly 20 mile course in 47:28. Wilkinson aside it was an excellent afternoon for Team Wallis CHH taking the second and third places with James Gullen recording 49:46 and Callum Nicholson 51:10.

Backed up by third counter Julian Pearson with 56:38 they would have taken the team prize if there was one but instead their prize fund increased with Gullen fastest up the timed section on Grizebeck Hill – two seconds faster than Wilkinson with 7:24 and Nicholson fourth with 7:45.

Also on Saturday was the Salt Ayre Cog Set/Go Ride morning of racing at Salt Ayre followed by the SACA Paracycling races and a 4th/3rd category criterium. An excellent days racing was somewhat marred by a freak accident resulting in the hospitalisation of the Lune’s Gordon Helme after his morning officiating as chief commissaire for the youth races. He is wished a speedy and full recovery.

On Sunday there was a clash of races with the Lune RCC promoting the Aughton Road Race and the Pendle Forest CC’s Bowland Road Race at Bolton-by-Bowland. Lune’s Adrian Dalgleish chose to ride the Pendle Forest event and using the same tactic as the previous week, an epic long breakaway. This week it worked and he was rewarded with an excellent win in a spectacular manner.

Other results worthy of note from the last weekend’s racing include: Team Herbalife Wheelbase rider Jamie Shirlaw won the Sheffrec Spring Road Race for Elite riders. After several laps in a two man breakaway which was pulled back with seven laps of 18 to go he went away again in a group of 12 with three laps to go, pulling ahead on the last lap to take the win from Pete Williams (Motorpoint) with Alistair Rutherford (Science in Sport.com) third.

Jamie last year applied to the Dave Rayner Foundation, a charity that helps fund promising young riders to bridge the gap to race on the continent. Jamie was successful in securing funding this summer to race in Belgium and has clearly got his season off to a good start.

VanillaBikes.com’s Duncan Orme is finding good form and came an excellent ninth in one of his favourite events, the Teesdale CRC 40mile mountain time trial at Barnard Castle. The event was won by Joel Wainman (Team Swift) in 1:51:58 with Duncan recording 2:05:17.

Matt Cronshaw riding for Team Raleigh narrowly missed out on a win in the Echelon Cycles RR in the Malvern Hills. Ian Rees (Wilier:goselfdrive.com) just drew ahead of Matt in the last few yards after sitting on his wheel in the closing miles.

Results: Salt Ayre Cycling Association/VanillaBikes.com League 2011 – ‘Event 1’ 19/04/11: 1 Julian Pearson (Teamwallis CHH); 2 Andrew Pickering (Lune RCC); 3 Calum Nicholson (Teamwallis CHH); 4 Sam Jackson (Herbalife/Wheelbase); 5 Antony Bethell (Team Elite/Paul Bethell); 6 Adam Robertson (Activ Cycles); 7 Jack Sadler (YA)(Herbalife/Wheelbase); 8 Neil Robinson (Lune RCC); 9 Mark Brennan (Lancaster CC); 10 Jade Wilmot (Teamwallis CHH).

KVRC - ‘Jungle’ TT – 11/04/11: 1 Dave Baxter 30:58; 2 Andrew Barlow 33:14; 3 Tom Gibson 33:39; 4 Dave Wilkinson 35:15; 5 Ian Jackson 35:53; 6 Chris Kennedy 37:47; 7 Rob Duesbury 37:54; 8 Neil Stirling 42:01; 9 Kath Finn (L) 48:6; 10 Peter Dawes 50:35.

KVRC - Milnthorpe ‘10’ – 13/04/11: 1 Dave Baxter 22:36; 2 Beau Smith (J) 23:51; 3 John Ingham (Lancaster CC) 23:52; 4 Steve Hodgson 23:52; 5 Tom Gibson 24:42; 6 Lynn Hamel (L)(Herbalife/Wheelbase) 25:12; 7 Chris Stilling 25:33; 8 Luke Osborne 25:35; 9 Tim Bennett 25:37; 10 Stuart Mounsey 25:48; 11 Ian Jackson 25:54; 12 Glenn Haworth 26:33; 13 Richard Belk 26:51; 14 Chris Kennedy 26:55; 15 Richard Peacock 27:02; 16 Neil Stirling 28:40; 17 Natasha Walsh (L) 31:18; 18 Ann Nicholson (L) 31:51; 19 John Vernon (J)(Unatt) 34:11; 20 Richard Vernon (Unatt) 35:29; Jim Lawley (Barrow Cent. Whls.)(Trike) 36:36; Eve (L,J) & Garry Dixon (2Up TT) 26:36.

Lancaster CC/SA CogSet – Salt Ayre TT’s – 14/04/11: TWO MILES: 1 Bobby Horton 6:44; 2 Christopher Barlow 7:09; 3 Emily Ingham 7:17; 4 Matty Alderson 8:07; 5 Saskia Hirst 8:23; 6 Elias Giles 8:58; 7 Sophie Hamilton 9:22; 8 Flo Horton 9:23; 9 Amelia Hirst 9:29; SIX MILES: 1 Callum Young 15:24; 2 John Didsbury 16:13; 3 Jonathan Wong 16:47; 4 Charlie Murray 17:30; 5 Sam Monkhouse 18:13; 6 Cameron Hirst 18:33; 7 Bethan Abra 19:44; 8 Benjamin Barlow 20:10; 9 Amy Monkhouse 20:11; 10 Zoe Hamilton 20:34; 11 Jason Pullar 21:08; 12 Ross Dorrington 21:50.

13 Toby Oldham 23:06; 14 Ben Hamilton 24:14; Ethan Robertson (one lap short - approx 19:40 for 6ml) 17:02; TEN MILES: 1 Julian Pearson 22:46; 2 Andrew Callaghan 22:52; 3 Andy Barlow 23:37; 4 Mike Barlow 23:44; 5 Tim Norton 23:53; 6 John Callaghan 24:16; 7 Keith Robertson 24:19; 8 Mark Monkhouse 24:25; 9 Nev Pearson 24:30; 10 Tom Oldham 25:00; 11 Jon Barry 25:21; 12 Dave Horton 25:22; 13 Paul Andrews 26:00; 14 Andrew Parker 26:02; 15 Brian Murry 26:04; 16 Ken Peasnell 26:09; 17 Howard Hirst 26:58; 18 Adrian Hamilton 27:02; 19 Louise McCall 27:15; 20 John Morphet 28:19; 21 Daren Chandisingh 28:49; 22 Kelli Hirst 29:12; 23 Liz Housley-Smith 29:29; 24 Ann Nicholson 29:49; 25 Sam Baldwin 29:59; 26 Bethany Kettlewell 33:12.

SALT Ayre Cog Set – Youth Racing: Over the last two weekends the young racers of the Cog Set have had an opportunity to show their mettle against the best that the North West has to offer and they’ve come through it with a great deal of learning, lots of fun and some fantastic results.

The final round of the Dolan Youth Series at Victoria Park, Southport, saw riders chasing some lucrative prizes. In the U16 category Matt Flynn had to finish first in both races to be sure of beating the yellow jersey holder Fabio Close (Velocity 3-in-1).

However in the first race some excellent teamwork from Velocity 3-in-1 spoilt his chances; sending a lone rider out early in the race, forcing Matt to chase hard to catch the lone escaper with three laps to go. Velocity then sent out another rider followed closely by Close.

Having done most of the work for the previous 10 laps Matt had no reply to this attack and was left to roll in ninth as Close took a comfortable win. The second, handicap race was less tactical with Matt able to stay at the front to the sprint but was once again outdone by his rival, Close, who took the win with Matt in second place and this was also the overall result of the series – Close taking first place and the prize of a Dolan frame and forks, with Matt Flynn second.

The U14 race was more straightforward as many were looking to the series leader, Cog Set’s Fabian Brennan, but he had little reason to push the pace.

Inevitably the race ended in a sprint with Brennan taking first place, Thomas Rotherham (Sportcity) second, Ryan McGillick (Mossley CRT) third and John Didsbury (Salt Ayre Cog Set), fourth.

The handicap race saw good group riding from the experienced riders in the scratch group close down more than half a lap on the first group by two-thirds distance resulting in a bunch sprint which this time saw Rotherham pip Brennan on the line, but Brennan’s yellow jersey was already assured after the first race.

Third and fourth places went as in race one giving Didsbury enough points to take second place and the prize of a chainset.

In the girl’s category Caitlin Flynn could not match the pace of girls’ series leader Martha Gill (Bolton Hot Wheels) in the first race finishing 22nd overall and second girl but a sterling effort in the final race saw her sat on Gill’s wheel into the finishing straight and taking the sprint for her first category win and 18th overall. Gill won the overall girls category with Caitlin second, taking another chainset home to the Flynn household.

The new closed circuit at Palatine Sports College in Blackpool saw 101 riders, 20 of which were from Salt Ayre Cog Set, took part in the second round of the CDNW Youth League last Saturday. In the U10 category best placed Cog Set riders were Amy Monkhouse, ninth overall and second girl and Cameron Hirst, 11th overall.

From the 33 riders in the U14 race eight were sporting Cog Set jerseys and again Fabian Brennan took second place to Thomas Rotherham (Sportcity) with John Didsbury in third place. Caitlin Flynn and Bethan Abra finished further back in the bunch but third and fourth girl ad these four occupy the top two places in the league in both boys and girls categories.

In the U16 category Sam Baldwin found the pace a little hot coming in 18th place overall with Jess Atkinson just ahead of him in 16th place and second girl overall. The ride of the day went to Matt Flynn, finishing a close second to Chris Braybrooke (Velocity 3-in-1) in the first race but timed his sprint to perfection to take a fine win in the second race and first place overall.

The next round of the CDNW Youth League takes place at the Salt Ayre circuit on Monday, May 16.