Pursuits Kick off Season in SW

Pursuits Kick off Season in SW

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Pursuits Kick off Season in SW

Story posted February 22, 2010; by Jack Baker

The junior riders ruled supreme in the opening Mid-Devon Cycling Club/Colin Lewis Cycles’ promoted Springtime Pursuit. One Junior in particular - Matthew Hill (Mid Devon CC), produced possibly the best ride of his career so far by leading the juniors to victory ahead of the main scratch team by several minutes. Remarkably, the winning rider, Paul Barrat (Chard Wheelers) and runner up, Andrew Hitchens (Mid Devon Cycling Club) of the race when this last happened 30 years previously, were racing today!

The race was fast. "We'd shed a couple of riders by the first turn" states Tom Dracup (Mid Devon CC), another junior who gained 4th overall in the race." They were soon joined by two more riders who couldn't take the pace. The remaining septet continued to maintain their frantic progress, sharing the workload and trying desperately to stay ahead of the scratch team.

At the end of lap one, it was Hill who held off the challenge of team mate Brennan Townshend and Sean Wheddon, Bristol Cycle Development Squad to take the lap prize. One rider, Michael Raven of Extreme Sports left the second group and made a brave effort to haul back the youngsters. The gap hovered at around the minute mark till Raven was eventually swept up on the final lap.

The final prime, with 13 miles to go proved to open up a bold move for Hill, as he took the spoils for the prime winner. "On the last premier, I attacked and got it. I looked back and had a large gap. So did a solo breakaway to the finish line." The nearest chasers were Nick Avery (Mid-Devon Cycling Club/Colin Lewis Cycles) and Sam Deakin (Somerset Road Club). They were about 50 yards behind.

Hill decided to go for broke relying on his team mates to squash any serious attempts to bridge the gap. It was on the second lap that groups two and three  merged and groups four and five did likewise. Shortly afterwards, the two larger groups came together too. The scratch group had dropped a few of the less in form riders but with 10 miles left, were breathing down the neck of all those in front except the juniors.

It was not long before there was Hill at the front followed by only two groups, the six juniors and the rest of the race still some 90 seconds behind. It was not long before Hill had the wind on his back for the final five miles. Once he had finished and celebrated a great victory, Hill had over a minute’s lead on runner up Sam Deakin, who left the others on the final mile long hill to the finish.

Seven seconds later in a close sprint for the line, Tom Dracup (Mid-Devon Cycling Club/Colin Lewis Cycles) held off team mate Brennan Townshend. Nick Avery (Mid-Devon Cycling Club/Colin Lewis Cycles) was fifth and 13 seconds clear of Sam Wheddon. Just over two minutes after Hill had won, the first rider from the scratch group took seventh place.

Gary Chambers had left the main bunch at about the same place as Hill had gone clear. On finishing, Chambers (South Fork Racing) criticised his fellow scratch men for not working hard enough to bring back the juniors. Of the duo who did so well in 1980, and to show there is still life left in the older legs, Andrew Hitchens was tenth with Barratt a number of places further back.

The exceptional effort put in by the juniors seems to forecast a very fruitful year for them. Jake Durant, previous winner of the final pursuit last year, has taken up the mantle of offering coaching and support to the juniors within Mid Devon Cycling Club this year. He is taking this job very seriously, with regular training rides and turbo sessions being held already. The successes of today seem to give evidence that his work is certainly paying off, as is Matthew Hill's himself. Can the Juniors pull it off again in the second pursuit next week?

1. Matt Hill  (0.00) Mid-Devon Cycling Club/Colin Lewis Cycles  51kms in 1hr 14mins 59 secs
2. Sam Deakin (0.00) Somerset Road Club/Bicycle Chain   @ 1min 8 secs
3. Tom Dracup (0.00) Mid-Devon Cycling Club/Colin Lewis Cycles  @ 1min 15 secs
4. Brennan Townshend (0) Mid-Devon Cycling Club/Colin Lewis Cycles  same time
5. Nick Avery (0.00) Mid-Devon Cycling Club/Colin Lewis Cycles  @ 1 min 36 secs
6. Sam Wheddon (0.00) Bristol Cycle Development Squad   @ 1min 49secs
7. Gary Chambers (7.00) South Fork Racing    @ 2mins 4 secs
8. Jake Durant (7.00) Mid-Devon Cycling Club/Colin Lewis Cycles  @ 2 mins 54 secs
9. Andrew Parker (7.00) Mid-Devon Cycling Club/Colin Lewis Cycles 
10. Andrew Hitchens (7.00) Mid-Devon Cycling Club/Colin Lewis Cycles
11. David Gorton (7.00 Team Tor 2000  
12. Ian Fensome 1.00) Exeter Wheelers CC    all same time
13. Ashley Watts (5.00) Mid-Devon Cycling Club/Colin Lewis Cycles  @ 3mins 32secs
14. Peter Wheddon (5.00) BAD-Tri/Fred Baker Cycles
15. Darren Moore (7.00) Le Col
16. Craig Bellew (5.00) Team Certini
17. Gary Pike (5.00) Shred Racing
18. Michael Raven (1.00) Extreme Sports Therapy/City College Norwich all same time

The First Ladies Road Race on the open road for many a long year was a formality for Alli Holland of Shred Racing. Riding very conservatorily for the first lap as most of the riders stayed together 'til they approach the lap end prime. It was here that Holland made her intentions clear by breaking away to take the lap prize from Miriam Freemantle, Team Tor 2000. Holland maintained her solo effort to the finish line where she had 23 seconds on Freemantle and a further 24 seconds on first time racer Holly Russell, YOGi Cycling.

1. Alli Holland  Shred Racing  38 kms in 1hr 13 mins 37 secs
2. Miriam Freemantle  Team Tor 2000 @ 23 secs
3. Holly Russell  YOGi Cycling  @ 47 secs
4. Claire Fraser  Army Cycling Union @ 1 min 10 secs
5. Joanna Edwards Mid-Devon CC @ 1 min 39 secs
6. Cathy Clifford  Kingstone Wheelers @ 3 mins 42 secs


Preview of the Springtime Pursuits