Mark Cotton (Ellmore Factory Racing) edged out Chris Metcalfe (Charge Bikes) in a sprint finish at the end of a pulsating race at round three of the Lincolnshire Championships at Quibell Park in Lincolnshire on Sunday.
From the start six riders formed the main group which would contest the race, led by Jon Wells (VC Lincoln) along with Cotton, Metcalfe, Rick Lister (RWD Brakes), George Thompson (Sleaford Wheelers) and Graham Briggs (Raleigh).
After the start loop and first route of the woods the group were led back around the field by Briggs, fresh from his efforts at the Tour of Britain. The Raleigh road pro had a nightmare first lap and a mechanical ended his race with the loss of his rear mech leaving five riders clear out in front.
Over the first two laps Cotton and Metcalfe were the main protagonists trying to forge a gap but Lister, Thompson and Wells were hot on their wheels and formed a leading group of five who would give a great entertaining show at the head of proceedings.
The main attacks came up the climb in the woods and over a log which some riders could bunny hop enabling them to put the pressure on, gaps were created but nothing serious enough to create a winning move.
For the first five laps the group were back together skirting around the field outside the velodrome watching each closely for a big move and being careful not to do too much in the increasingly windy conditions.
The speed increased each lap as the riders jockeyed for position to be one of the leading two or three into the woods where the tracks were thin and position could be vital. The first break would come in the woods as the group ascended a tricky drag with very few good lines due to the roots and rocks.
As Cotton and Metcalfe managed to squeeze past a few lapped riders the others were not so lucky and were briefly held up. With Metcalfe and Cotton bunny hopping the log and putting a big effort in they had created the first small gap.
Cotton led around the field while Thompson came out of the woods half way between them and Wells/Lister. Thompson managed to get across to form a lead trio with 5 laps remaining. Metcalfe and Cotton applied the pressure with big efforts up the hill at the front each lap and kept the pace high around the field.
Thompson was dangling off the back but fought hard each lap to get on. Behind, Lister (Leading Vet) and Wells were riding cautiously watching each other and looked like they were settling down to battle for fourth place.
With three laps to go and with Metcalfe on the front through the woods the elastic to Thompson finally snapped and the lead group was down to two. The gap hovered at 5 to 10 seconds with Thompson still giving his all to get back. Cotton led to take the bell and kept the speed high looking to ensure they stayed away from Thompson.
Metcalfe seemed happy to keep Cotton at the front and make a surprise move from behind, but Cotton hit the field hard and ensured the pace was kept high enough to stop any counter attacks. The duo swept off the banking of the field to line up a long and hard effort to the line into the wind.
Cotton sprinted out of the corner with 250 meters to go trying to get to the all important final corner first, knowing that to come from behind from there would be a big ask with the finish less than 50 meters after the corner.
Metcalfe was quick to follow onto this wheel but Cotton made the final left hander first. Metcalfe put in a big final effort, creeping up alongside his rival, but Cotton had just enough to hold it to the line to take a hard fought victory by inches.
Thompson crossed the line for third while Lister got the better of Wells in the woods, maintaining a gap around the field to take fourth place and first Vet ahead of Wells in fifth. Former Youth National Champion Lee Allen (RVO Racing) came home in sixth place just ahead of Graham Clark (Time RT) who was second Vet.
1 Mark Cotton (Ellmore Factory Racing)
2 Chris Metcalf (Charge Bikes) @ same time
3 George Thompson (Sleaford Wheelers)
4 Richard Lister (RWD Brakes)
5 Jon Wells (VC Lincoln)
Veterans: Richard Lister (RWD Brakes).
Please credit www.britishcycling.org.uk and link back if you use any of our race results.
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.