Andy Betts secured his first win in the Imperial Winter Series when he sprinted to victory in the E/1/2/3 race in round ten of the series at the Hillingdon Circuit in London on Saturday.
The 35-year-old Felt Colbornes rider from Surbiton edged to victory just inches ahead of breakaway rival Chris Moores (Norwood Paragon) after coming round his rival in the last few inches of the uphill finish.
Inside the first kilometre Betts and Jason Edwards (GB MS Tina) attacked, and although that initial effort was doomed, it proved as a warning of things to come. There were many more attacks which all went the same way, until the 30-kilometre mark when Betts attacked alone and made it stick.
Moores was the only rider that seemed capable of crossing the gap to join Betts, and the pair worked well together, distancing themselves from the peloton with the contenders for the overall series content to watch each other as the leading duo powered their way 50 seconds clear.
With the headwind uphill finish it was a day for the strongest of riders. In the run in Betts led Moores out, but Moores went round him and looked a likely winner. However, Betts dug really deep and re-took the lead in the final 25 metres for a brilliant win.
Both men deserved high praise, while Tom Smith (Felt Colbornes) led a frantic chasing bunch to the line, holding off overall leader Jamie Pine (London Dynamo), Vincent Halpern (Handsling Racing) and Steve Golla (High Wycombe RT).
What they said:
“I wasn’t sure how it was going to go,” said elite race winner Andy Betts. “On the ride out I wasn’t feeling particularly sprightly, but things take a bit longer to warm up these days. But I got stuck in from the start to keep warm more than anything.
“There were quite a few attacks going and coming back, and I just kept having a go, and with eight laps left I got away and Chris Moores came across t me shortly afterwards, and we went for it.
“It’s great to win a race but I think it’s probably too late for anyone to challenge the leading two, there aren’t enough races left realistically. And to be honest it will need Jamie Pine to be a non-finisher for Steve Golla to overtake him.
“It’s a great series though and every race is different. It’s great practice for the season and now I’m with Felt Colbornes I’m keen to do well. We’re riding the Perfs Pedal Race next month and the Severn Bridge Road Race after that, and will do a few local elite races and Premier Calendar events as the season goes on.”
In the supporting third category race, James Walker (High Wycombe CC) attacked alone with four kilometres to go and led for the last three kilometres, but was caught very quickly and passed by the bunch.
Durham University CC’s Peter Hudson took the win to boost his hopes of overall victory, while fellow contender for the series, Dominic Clegg (Redhill CC) was second.
1 Andy Betts (Felt Colbornes RT) 1:16:10
2 Chris Moores (Norwood Paragon CC) @ same time
3 Tom Smith (Felt Colbornes RT) @ 50sec
4 Jamie Pine (London Dynamo)
5 Vincent Halpern (Handsling Racing)
6 Steve Golla (High Wycombe CC)
1 Jamie Pine (London Dynamo) 1590 pts
2 Steve Golla (High Wycombe CC) 1280
1 Peter Hudson (Durham University CC) 1:04:00
2 Dominic Clegg (Redhill CC)
3 Ben Wimpory (Sydenham Wheelers)
4 Dan Mitchell (Redhill CC)
5 Daniel Tamplin (Aylesbury CC)
6 Jake Norman (WyndyMilla-UK Youth)
1 Ben Sumner (Beeline Bicycles) 1:00:15
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.