Location: Prissick Cycle Park, Middlesborough
Event: 1 October 2011
Report: Marcus Smith
Harry Tanfield (Wallis Cycles) elevated his legendary local status a further notch when winning the 2011 www.blackhawkbikes.com Prissick Autumn Cup at the Middlesbrough Cycle Circuit.
Tanfield, the sixteen year-old who earlier in the year rode for the GB Junior team in the notoriously tough Junior Paris Roubaix, again displayed a nerve and talent as precocious as a particularly presumptuous greedy young thoroughbred to finish second in the final round of the cup but with a large enough points cushion to take the highly polished silver cup and the jersey.
Standing under the impressively fair commissaries’ pistols of Mr Dave Morton, ably assisted by Mr Ben Dobson, Mr Kevin Kilcullen and Mr Duncan Woods, the pack of sweaty cycling predators could perhaps be forgiven for lolling along under the bizarre heat of the Indian summer sun. Hitting temperatures of 30C, the summer of Middlesbrough was long overdue, and arguably, a lazy tootle to the beach of Seaton Carew could have been a marginally more pleasant proposition to haring round a 1km circuit fifty times like loopy lycra-clad gerbils on a sun-soaked wheel. But there was no tootling to be had. The guns were fired, and within seconds, the hearty smiling souls stood slothing along the top tubes, were again transformed into the torturous line of unquestionable anguish.
Whilst spectators were questioning the riders’ sanity, other question marks were hanging in the air… would points jersey leader Will Brown (Fietsen Tempo) regain some form and panache and see him take off on another points winning spree? Would Tanfield be able to match the craftiness of the returning Richard Meadows (Velo 29)? Would all the Super Sweepstake tickets be sold?
Brown, never one to make a pretty picture whilst racing his bike, ineffectively wrestled his bike along in the line of misery for half the race, until the attacks became too frequent, whence he wrestled his bike right out the back of the line to be reduced to tootling round with the newly promoted 2nd category rider Paul Anderson (Phian Carbon). Brown’s spectacular loss of form over the past two rounds was in stark contrast to the speed, reasonable style and courage shown in the first two weeks, but such was his early commanding performance in the points competition, he still managed to bag the win finishing with a two point lead over Simon Baxter (Herbalife).
Tanfield, resplendent in his yellow tunic under the glorious Middlesbrough sun, was keeping a beady-eye on the ensuing battle. An early long lasting solo attack by National TLI M1 Criterium Champion Dan Smith (Velo 29) was brought to heel and the expected attack from his team mate Meadows was swiftly countered by the attentive Tanfield. The two star riders opened up a half minute advantage, but the line of pedalling pain refused them any further quarter and with five laps remaining, the gap was cut in two, the strong testing bones of Baxter forcing the speeding line closer to their perilous prey.
But the small bag of seconds was to be enough for the daring duo, and the expected outcome was a win for the fast legs of Tanfield. Rounding the final bend into the home straight, no one for sure knows what happened, but Meadows led from the length of the straight with Tanfield carefully perched to attack. The attack never came, and Meadows took an easy victory. Whether Tanfield was resting his fast legs for the morrow’s National Junior Madison Champs, or whether Meadows’ girlfriend Miss Amy Benson had her pretty little eyes menacingly fixed on the impressive victory flowers ‘by Edwina of Marton Road’, could this be the first race to be sold at Prissick? The day certainly had a continental flavour to the event, with sponsors, podiums, spectators, flowers, image girls, prizes, refreshment tents and oodles of sun, that whatever the sleazy reasoning, it fitted in just nicely. So on the podium, it was Meadows taking the Flowers by Edwina and Mulebar Energy Pack from Tanfield with speedy Jack Rees (Velo 29) taking the last step and earning a kiss from the image girls.
Tanfield was again in front of the crowd for his cup celebration, reversing the role with Meadows on second spot, with the absent but consistent Tom Barras (Cycle Premier) taking third.
Dan Plant (Ferryhill Wheelers) kept his cool, kept his powder dry, and kept the day’s favourite Martin Hopkinson (Fietsen Tempo) out of reach of the sun-drenched image girls in the Mulebar Stakes/www.subzerobikesco.co.uk 3rd/4th Category Race Series. Plant started the day in second place, a measly one point behind Hopkinson, but the resurgent Plant blossomed and bloomed, and took a superb second in the prologue to Simon West (Cyclesense) and more importantly beat Hopkinson by 0.24 seconds slashing his deficit and turning it into a poignant one point lead going into the road race.
With the top riders looking too nervous for attacking, it was up to the lesser players to animate the racing. The Stockton Wheelers pairing of Bradley Naughton and Kevin Kilcullen unleashed a flurry of attacks and blocking tactics that catapulted Naughton away on his own for several laps. When Ian Beveridge (Sunderland Clarion) sped across the tempting gap, the racing was on, but the spoil-sporting peloton was still licking its lips, and the only serious move of the day was short-lived, with the courageous efforts of Naughton alas being brought to nought.
Rounding the final lap, the timid bunch was still as one, with the likely looking big bunch gallop becoming a reality - a final showdown between Hopkinson and Plant on the cards. The well-watered Plant pulled no punches, producing his finest sprint to date and this, his fourth attempt, saw him pot top spot on the podium and also take the top prize in the general classification. An understandably disappointed Hopkinson finished runner-up in the day’s affair and also in the GC, both times to the jubilant Plant. West posted the fastest time in the prologue, took third in the sprint and claimed third overall, overhauling the absent Ph.D. student Alex Clayton (Durham University).
Clayton’s fast improving team mate Ed Garrett (Durham University) took maximum points in the day’s points competition, adding to his tally to finally knock Clayton off the top spot to be final keeper of the coveted jersey.
In the youth races, Josh Cutlet (RST Racing) took overall honours in the boys youth A from Declan Bowler (Stockton Wheelers) and Ben Hetherington (Ferryhill Wheelers), but it was the new pairing of Levi Moody (Pedalsport CC) and Joe Davison (Ferryhill Wheelers) that set the day’s race alight, riding all off their wheels during the early laps, leaving just the scraps for the rest. Cutlet proved his worth for the GC, taking the final podium spot. Super youth Alice Grieve was less impressive than usual, eventually retiring with complaints of sickness, but her impressive tally over the weeks saw her victorious in the girls youth A.
Jake Dobson (Newcastle Phoenix) claimed the overall honours in the boys youth B with a commanding victory in the final event, holding an unassailable advantage over his rivals. The fight for second was tight, with Little Ben Honeysett (Cleveland Wheelers) narrowly beating Newcastle Phoenix racer Thomas Hordon by a scant two points. Megan Hopper (Cleveland Wheelers) took the title in the girls youth B. A resplendent father Nigel took the podium plaudits in merry abandon in Megan’s absence.
A well fought scrap in the boys under 12 saw victory for the super happy Richie Allen (Newcastle Phoenix) from the Cleveland Wheelers pairing Aaron Preston and Tiny Tanfield. Joe Wilson (Stockton Wheelers) took the GC podium applause in the boys’ under 10 events, winning the day’s time trial and clinching 3rd in the road race. The fight for second was won by Joe McKenna (unattached), a mere six points ahead of Patrick Lally (One Life Racing). Matthew Egglestone (Beacon Wheelers) showed a promising turn of speed taking the day’s road race victory from Bill Lazenby (East Bradford CC).
Lauren Kilcullen (Stockton Wheelers) wheeled out triumphant in the girls under 10, taking the GC from Ella Lazenby (East Bradford CC) and Ella Liddel (Stockton Wheelers).
Brother Patrick Kilcullen (Stockton Wheelers) was equally victorious in the Boys under 8s taking the top spot from Zac Johnstone (Stockton Wheelers) and Roshan Parker-Mian (Hetton Hawks).
Roisin Lally (One Life Racing) showed an early taste for victory winning the Girls Under 8 events, conquering Abigail Slack (Stockton Wheelers) and Hannah Liddel (Stockton Wheelers) in her thirst for glory.
Corrections and apologies:
Matthew Worton (Hetton Hawks) was the actual victor in the round 3 Boys Under 14 race and not as described in the previous report. Worton beat Jake Dobson (Newcastle Phoenix) and Daniel Leng (Stockton Wheelers). Apologies to all concerned.
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.