Crispin Doyle (Swindon Road Club) won the Bill Higson Memorial event staged in Prospect Park to the west of Reading on a warm and dry Sunday.
The latest venue for the Wessex League, the course consisted of a large park with a technical wooded copse and apple orchard. There was a large climb which the leading riders could ride up must most decided to revert to scrabbling up in single file. The prizes were presented by local shop owner Rikki Pankhurst from AW Cycles.
The senior race had a very strong field with Mike Cotty (Wheelbase/Cannondale) at the front along with Crispin Doyle (Swindon RC) and Jamie Newell (Corley Cycles). Also up the front was Ben Sumner now riding in Beeline Cycles colours and Luke Gray now riding for (Baboco Cycling Team).
First up the climb was Doyle with Cotty 20 seconds back with Gray, Newell, Sumner, Dan Lewis (RAF) and Matt Macdonald (Stevens/Hargroves) in close order behind each other.
Doyle kept the gap on the next lap while the rest sorted themselves out, and soon he had extended that lead by a further couple of seconds on the next lap.
By half distance he had a gap of 47 seconds over Gray and the rest of the chasers who were riding all together. This was the race order with three laps to go but it was Gray who was the first to slip back and Newell and Cotty now moving away from Sumner and over a minute behind the leader.
At the bell Doyle was clear by 1:05 from Newall, Cotty and Sumner with Gray now 1:50 down on Doyle.
Cotty took his chance and put in an attack so as not to end up in a sprint with Newall and pulled away by about 10 seconds. Sumner was five seconds down on Newall and Gray was now well back at 2:12.
Doyle came up the last climb towards the line arms aloft to take a fine win on a very warm day. Cotty stayed away from Newall by nine secondsm but was 41 seconds behind Doyle.
There was a fast start to the vets/juniors/women’s race by Matt Woods (Hargroves Cycles) and Luke Cowley (Swindon RC) riding his first race in the Wessex League this season.
Once the riders had shuffled themselves out it was Woods at the front with vet rider Sean Williams (Wight Mountain) who had a gap of eight seconds over three riders - Luke Cowley, Keith Sheridan (Hargroves Cycles) and Mike Groves (StevensUK/Hargroves). Also running near the front on the early laps were Dave McMullen (GWR Team) and Joe Griffiths (Dream CC).
On the second lap Matt started to pull away and had a gap of 20 seconds over Sean with Luke, Keith and Mike riding wheel to wheel in a race of their own. The third lap saw Matt maintain his lead over Sean but the chasing trio were slipping back and were now back at 53 seconds.
Matt then on the third lap put in a quick one and extended his lead over Sean to 53 seconds with Luke now 1:30 back with Keith close by and Mike was seven seconds behind these two.
It was Matt who took the win ahead of Sean by 56 seconds with Luke sprinting away from Keith by one second with Dave McMullen getting past Mike in the closing stages of the race.
The women’s race was won by Tamina Oliver (Squadra Donna) from Claire Smith (Swindon RC) who was 1:30 back with third rider Charlotte Lewis (CCB) back at 6:29.
Eighteen riders lined up for the youth race with Harvey Lowe (Hargroves Cycles) at the front of the grid. It was Harvey the first to show on the front with Robbie Bolwell (Wight Mountain) a handful of seconds down. The leading girl was Zoe Sheehan (Swindon RC).
By the second lap Harvey had stretched his lead over Robbie to 20secs with third rider Jack Saunders (SRC) now slipping away. Zoe on the other hand had Bethany Taylor (BCDS) for company until with a lap to go she managed to pull out a gap.
The next couple of laps saw Harvey extend his lead over Robbie with the next rider Jack now two minutes back. On the final lap Harvey puts in a fast lap of 4mins 20sec and this is enough to take a fine commanding win from gun to flag. Robbie was second 42secs down. In the girls race Zoe pulled away from Beth by 24secs on the last lap.
With Under-12s league leader Ben Tulett away it was Harry Dridge (Southdown Velo) that was seeded first on the line. He faced strong opposition from Bethany Lewis (PPV), Jay Allen (PPV), Ryan Hodgkyns and riding in their first League race this season was last season winners Alderney and Erin Baker.
The race was won by Bethany Lewis who beat Liam Sewell in a tight fought battle by just a single second. Harry Dridge was third a further 3seconds behind. First and second under 10s were sisters Maddie and Anna Wadsworth, with Ryan Hodgkyns just eleven seconds down on the winner.
The next round of the League is next Sunday at Brookes University in Oxford ahead of a short break as they we running a National trophy race at Southampton Sports Centre on 13th November.
1 Crispin Doyle Swindon RC 58mins 24secs
2 Michael Cotty Wheelbase/ Cannondale @41secs
3 Jamie Newell Corley Cycles @50secs
4 Ben Sumner Beeline Cycles @ 54secs
5 Luke Gray Baboco Cycling Team @ 2min 12 secs
1 Matt Woods Hargroves Cycles 41mins 46secs
2 Sean Williams Wight Mountain @56secs
3 Luke Cowley Swindon RC @1min 31secs
4 Keith Sheridan Hargroves Cycles @1min 32secs
5 Dave McMullen GWR Team @1min 32secs
1 Tamina Oliver Squadra Donna 43mins 51secs
2 Claire Smith Swindon RC @1min 31secs
3 Charlotte Lewis CCB @6mins 29secs
4 Karen Murphy Wight Mountain @1lap
5 Nina French Wight Mountain @1lap
1 Harvey Lowe Hargroves Cycles 26mins 30secs
2 Robbie Bolwell Wight Mountain @43secs
3 Jack Saunders Swindon RC @ 2min 43secs
4 Tom Sewell Swindon RC @1Lap
5 Zoe Sheehan Swindon RC @1Lap
1 Bethany Lewis PPV 14mins 09secs
2 Liam Sewell Swindon RC @1sec
3 Harry Dridge Southdown Velo @4secs
4 Erin Baker Southdown Velo @9secs
5 Ieuan Woods Charlotteville @1min 15secs.
1 Maddie Wadsworth Beeline Cycles 14min 10secs
2 Anna Wadsworth Beeline Cycles @5secs
3 Ryan Hodgkyns Poole Wheelers @11secs
4 Euan Taylor BCDS @25secs
5 Ellis Jones SRC @1min 24secs
British Cycling would like to thank the organising team, officials and everyone else who helped promote this event. Our sport could not exist without the hundreds of people, many of them unpaid volunteers, who put in many hours of hard work running events, activities and clubs.