West Midland Regional Road Race Championships
Sunday 31st May 2009
Report and pictures: Richard Robotham (http://www.rhodopsin.co.uk)
It was going to be tough on the 51 riders taking to the start of the second race of the day as the sun blazed down on them hitting near 30 deg C on some points of the course. D Watson (Coventry RC) tried an early break right at the start of the race, but he was soon caught on the downhill section. Two riders, Matt Clinton (Mike Vaughan Cycles) and Matt Higgins (Team Corley Cycles) made a successful counter attack and broke away from the front of the field as a counter attack having caught the earlier attempt by Watson.
Keeping cool heads under that hot sun, the leaders, Clinton and Higgins, successfully maintained a 40 second advantage over the remainder of the field. However working hard together J Kirk (Wyre Forest CRC) and Richard Cartland (Team Corley Cycles) broke away from the bunch and eventually managed to bridge the gap to the leaders after a further two laps.
The new leading group couldn’t rest as they were now being chased down by a group of four riders. The fast pace set by the leaders had started to take its toll and the decimated field was now strung out over the course. Eventually, the race settled down having split into three distinct groups, the leaders had grown to a group of eight riders, who were chased by a group of nine riders with the remaining field a good 5 minutes behind them.
As the leaders headed up the final hill to the finish line, K Frend (Sabbath/Claytan) found his sprinting legs and took the 2009 West Midlands Regional Road Race Championship from Matt Higgins (Team Corley Cycles) in second place and Martin Ford (Private Member) in third. Only 27 of the original starters finished the race.
1. K Frend, Sabbath/Clayton's
2. M Higgins, Team Corley Cycles
3. M Ford, Private Member
4. R Cartland, Team Corley Cycles
5. O Graham, Artic Premier RT
6. S Gaywood, Team Corley Cycles
7. J Kirk
8. M Cuming
9. D Griffiths
10. D Jelfs
11. D Kirby
12. D Lowe
13. I Thomas
14. L Moseley
15. A Clay
16. R Watson
17. G Birch
18. E Corbett
19. E Puttock
20. L Cowley
The early morning sunshine was very welcome at the start of the West Midlands Regional Road Race Championships, held around the country lanes Sheriffhales in Shropshire, near to the National Sports Centre at Lilleshall. With 73 riders taking to the start, the fast race tempo at the beginning claimed some early casualties during the first lap.
At half distance the race had fragmented dramatically with the loss of approximately half the field all being dropped out of the back of the Bunch. This was the turning point of the race as two riders, S Fidler (Crewe Clarion Wheelers) and D Bill (Team Echelon) attacked to gain a maximum advantage of 48 seconds over the next two and half laps.
The heat and the increased pace of the bunch eventually curtailed the leaders opportunity and where caught with only three quarters of a lap to go. This left a bunch of 35 to contest the uphill sprint finish which was won by 3rd Category Rider Phil Blacker (Wyre Forest) from Junior Riders J Charley (Stourbridge Velo) in 2nd place, and Perry Bowater (CC Giro) taking 3rd place.
1. P Blacker, Wyre Forest
2. J Charley, Stourbridge Velo (J)
3. P Bowater, CC Giro (J)
4. T Cadd, Leamington C&AC (J)
5. S Fidler, Crewe Clarion Wheelers
6. M Bailey, Halesowen A&CC (J)