Location: Supermarine Rugby Club, Swindon
Event: 18 October 2011
Report: Daniel Smith
The battle to top the standings continued at the seventh round of the GWR Team’s Floodlit Winter Cyclo-Cross League.
Heading into the race, Paul Lloyd was holding a single point advantage over Dan Lewis for the coveted prize of a week’s holiday courtesy of joyriders.com. However with Lloyd taking his third win of the series, his lead is now six points, with just three rounds remaining. A cold autumn evening, with temperatures hovering around eight degrees, saw a very strong field of over 50 riders up on the start line alongside Paul Lloyd and Dan Lewis, including a strong contingent from the Felt road team - Justin Hoy, Lee Smith, Scot Easter and Ian Legg and two local juniors in the shape of Luke Cowely and Matt Woods. The race was run off on a hard packed circuit in the usual darkness with a strong wind and a low temperature.
On the first lap a leading group of five riders pulled out a small gap between themselves and the chasing pack. The first rider to lead through the technical section was the previous round's winner Paul Lloyd closely followed by Dan Lewis, Scot Easter and Luke Cowely.
The chasing group was made up of George Bate, Dan Smith, Matt Woods, Peter Kench, and Scott Chappell, with a third group containing Justin Hoy, Ian Legg and the veteran, Garry Clark.
Arriving at the woods on lap two, Lloyd still led Lewis and Easter, these three went on to pull away from the chasing pack as the race behind began to splinter. Bate and Cowely content to chase the leading three on their own, separated by a few seconds were followed closely by Smith, Woods and Chappell. Kench developed a problem with his bike and even after a swift wheel change he dropped out of the top five for the first time in the series.
It was clear from this point that the battle for victory would be fought out between the leading three riders. Midway through the race, Dan Lewis took a tumble when he misjudged a corner in the woods, allowing Lloyd and Easter to pull away and put Lewis under pressure. Lewis recovered from the fall and worked his way back through the chasers and into third place but could not make contact with the leading two riders.
On lap nine of 10 Lloyd pressed a slight advantage over his Easter which he held to the line, Easter took a very close second with Lewis third. The veteran’s race was won by Gary Clarke, first junior was Luke Cowely and first lady was Caroline Goward. The race for the overall is yet to be decided with Lloyd and Lewis separated by just six points and a 70 point gap to Smith who is still lies third. Lloyd will look to defend his lead at round eight to be held on the 25 October.