The 26th edition of the Giles Rée memorial road race finally made it onto the calendar for 2009 after fears of it not going ahead this year. It was held on the super hard Beachy Head course near Eastbourne on the south coast. The race rolled out from the Cumberland Hotel on the beautiful Eastbourne seafront. With the two and a half mile neutralized section having a 11% gradient in places, the riders were made aware early of how hard this race was going to be.
With the climb of Beachy Head to be tackled eleven times, a brave move was made by Dean Shannon, Dan Kogan (both BMC UK) Ian Paine (London Dynamo) and Matt Melville (AW Cycles). The bunch could not be blamed for thinking they were perhaps a little crazy to go so early on such a hard course. Three laps later Dan Staite (Python RT) and last years winner of the 3rd cat Tour of Sussex held on this course, John Heaton-Armstrong (Fit-For) realized that there was now more than a chance that the move may stay clear and started their bid to cross the 90 second gap.
Impressively within just under two laps, they had made contact with the break. Now six strong and the bunch dwindling in numbers as more and more riders lost contact, the gap went out to two and a half minutes. Matt Melville had been battling out the K.O.M points with Dean Shannon on the first three of the five primes, so when the BMC duo stopped contesting the last two, the expectation was that the BMC boys would start their attacks for the win.
As it turned out, as they reached the bell and the last K.O.M, Dan Staite launched a ferocious attack that immediately gained a gap and caused the others to look to each other to do the chasing. Riding the last lap alone, Dan stayed well clear to take a brilliant solo victory. The remainder of the break gradually started to chase and split on the final hill with Matt Melville leading home John Heaton-Armstrong for second place.
Giles Rée was known for his love of racing hard on hard courses. In 2009 the riders paid a massive tribute to Giles the way they raced. The prize presentation was held at the cumberland Hotel, who played host to the race for the day. The organisers would like to thank the sponsors for the event. The Cumberland Hotel, Afton Hotel, Eastbourne, The Tri Store, Eastbourne, Driving Force Logistics and Progressive Cycle Coaching.
1. Dan Staite, Python RT
2. Matthew Melville, AW Cycles.co.uk
3. John Heaton-Armstrong, Fit-For
4. Ian Paine, London Dynamo
5. Dean Shannon, BMC UK RT
6. Daniel Kogan, BMC UK RT
7. Steven Saunders, Kingston Wheelers
8. Tim Wallis, S.U.R.C
9. David Streule, London Dynamo
10. Alex Higham, Windy Milla
11. Cameron Austin, London Dynamo
12. Rob Enslin, AW Cycles.co.uk
13. Luke Wallis, Kingston Wheelers
14. Daniel Felstead, Dulwich Paragon
15. Ishmael Burdeau, Agiskoviner.com
16. Adam Cotterell, Ingear Development Squad
17. Malcolm Davies, Kent Cycles RT
18. Philip Burnett, Mosquito Bikes
19. Ian Jones, Bayeux Landscapes
20. Jason Salter, Ingear Development Squad
K.O.M winner – Matt Melville AW Cycles
1st 3rd cat – Philip Burnett Mosquito Bikes