“We gave it 100% and came out of it with a really nice result,” said Matt Blue who pilots Carmarthenshire’s very own Simon Thomas. It was certainly a day to remember for Thomas as he and his pilot finished second in the Men’s B1-2 at Pembrey Country Park’s closed road circuit.
When we caught up with Thomas and Blue post-race, both riders were keen to emphasise the high level of competition. The Towy Riders member, Thomas said: “It wasn’t clear for about 90 percent of the race as to where we were going to sit because it was so close.
“Lora Fachie MBE and Corrine Hall MBE were showing signs of strength really late into the race, and so were Chris McDonald and Neil Poulton, so the two of us sort of tapped each other on the top of the last lap and sort of said ‘right, let’s go’” continued Thomas.
Blue added: “I think we would have regretted not going for it. It’s nice to finish and get everything out and we pushed really hard into those technical bends. We got drifted really wide at one point, you could hear the rubber pulling a bit!”
Tactics proved a crucial element to the pair’s success on the first day of the British Para Cycling Road Race Championships. Blue said: “It was surprising how strong the wind was on the back straight, and when you’re out front and you feel the pressure of the wind, you think ‘okay being out front is not so great’, so then the tactics came in and we shared it with the other men’s team. Towards the end, everything became very tactical – everyone was sort of looking at each other.”
When asked about the course, both riders were highly complementary not only in terms of it as a facility, but its quality as a course. Firstly, the Carmarthenshire rider noted: “I think the course is brilliant. We tried it three weeks ago to try out the bends and things and it was wet and today we were really comfortable in the dry, it is very fast”.
Thomas’ pilot, Blue added: “This course is absolutely awesome. We were going full-gas and hardly touching the breaks on every sequence of it towards the end, so it was definitely very fast!”
The pair went onto secure another silver medal the following day in the time trial of the British Para Cycling Road Race Championships which was again based in Carmarthenshire in Coleg Sir Gar’s Gelli Aur campus, making it another chance for Thomas to race on home-turf. It was certainly very profitable and successful weekend for Simon Thomas and his pilot Matt Blue.