Steve James (Hargroves Cycles), the 21-year-old from Crowthorne in Berkshire, soloed to his third successive Southern Regional Championships at the Harwell site near Didcot in Oxfordshire.
Steve, along with John Whittington (Team Diabetes UK), attacked a small group at the start of lap two and when John washed out on two successive corners, Steve found himself alone with what was almost a 30 second lead, and this turned out to be the deciding move of the race.
It was a lovely, warm day and the course was dry. The local club, Didcot Phoenix. that promoted the event had designed a challenging course as befits a championship race.
The laps were about six minutes long with steps to climb, several off camber turns and a steep decent to test the nerve of the riders.
At the start a group of ten riders formed on the front after the first lap. Along with Steve and John was Andy Hargroves (Felt Colbourne Hargroves RT), Adrian Lansley (PedalOn), Matt Hargroves and Matt Macdonald (Hargroves Cycles) and Scott Chalmers (Dream Cycling). These riders were very close together but it wasn’t long before gaps started to appear.
At the start of lap two James watched as Whittington attacked and decided to go with him, Andy Hargroves had Lansley for company with the others already slipping back. As Whittington had problems James was left clear at the front and he soon slipped back into the clutches of Hargroves and Lansley and soon these three riders joined up for a lap.
As the laps ticked away Lansley slipped away from Hargroves by ten seconds as James consolidated his lead to over a minute. Lansley further increased his advantage and at the bell he had 30 second cushion over Hargroves but he was one minutes eight seconds behind James.
At the finish James celebrated his third regional win with Lansley and Hargroves topping out the podium places. Whittington held on for fourth and Chalmers was fifth.
The combined vet junior women’s race was won by Crispin Doyle (Hargroves Cycles) after a tough tussle with Mike Simpson (GS Henley) with Jamie Norfolk (PedalOn) taking third. The leaders were locked together with only a handful of second s between them until the last lap when Doyle made his move and distanced himself making the finish a solo event.
Maddie Horton (Fully Sussed) led the women’s race from the start although she had to fend off a very strong Tamina Oliver (Team CTC). The two ladies were locked at the start of the race for a few laps but when Maddie decided to go Tamina was unable to stay with her.
The junior race was anyone’s race until an unfortunate as four riders vied for the honours until a crash in the sand trap broke up the momentum. Four riders were together for a couple of laps as Cameron Woolsey (CC Ashvile) managed to hold off Joseph Andrews (Fareham Wheelers) who fell of his bike at the bottom of the steep descent. He managed to re mount and hold off Joseph Taylor (Clevedon & District RC).
The youth race was won by Marcus Burnett (Club Corley Cycles) although he had to be patient as the lead was contested for a couple of laps by Edward Gronbech (Oxford City RC) and Christopher Rothwell (SCRA).
1 Steve James Hargroves Cycles 1hr 02mins
2 Adrian Lansley PedalOn @1min 12secs
3 Andrew Hargroves Felt Colbourne Hargroves RT @ 1min 42secs
4 John Whittington Diabetes UK
5 Scott Chalmers Dream Cycling
1 Crispin Doyle Hargroves Cycles
2 Mike Simpson GS Henley
3 Jamie Norfolk PedalOn
4 Keith Sheridan Cotswold Veldrijden
5 Gavin Rumbles CC Newton
1 Maddie Horton Fully Sussed
2 Tamina Oliver Team CTC
3 Claire Smith Cotswold Veldrijden
4 Lucy Allen Fully Sussed
5 Christina White Milton Keynes
1 Cameron Woolsey CC Ashville
2 Joseph Andrews Fareham Wheelers
3 Joseph Taylor Clevedon & District RC
4 Josh Mitchell Bicester Millenium
5 Tom Sefton Palmer Park Velo
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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.