WXCRL Sotonia Heath Race 2010 Three
Sunday 19th September | by Graham Robins
Win for Thomas
Thomas Knowlton from the promoting club, Sotonia, won the third running of the Heath race this year. The race was also the finale of a season long league which went done to the line, literally. At the start of the race, Roland Tilley (Ride Team) held a slender two point lead over Andy Rivett (VC St Raphael), and these two rivals were not particularly interested in the race win today but just watching each other. There were other lower places in the league to fight for and there was a good entry for the local riders.
The morning was dry but across the open heath land it was very windy with the only rest bit being in the shaded section of the course. Forty four riders rolled away from the start on a race of six laps and a total of 72km, on a mainly flat course. There was a very lively start to the race with riders jumping all over the place and loads of little attacks on the first lap and a half.
First to the front was Andy Rivett deciding to stay out of trouble during the early stages of the race. The pace at the front was fast and soon riders were being shelled out the back of the race. There were 17 riders dropped on the first two laps and soon they were all across the Heath in little groups. One of the early attacks saw six riders trying to pull away but the bunch, now in one line across the heath, soon pulled it back. The early stages of the race saw Andy Rivett very active at the front with Roland Tilley just back in the bunch in about tenth place.
As they went through the finish area on the third lap, Jay Eastwood (VC St Raphael) attacked and soon had a good gap of about 30secs. Jay managed to stay away for almost a whole lap before being caught. Jay was then joined by Thomas, Michael Leech (Team Tor 2000), Steven Bradbury (AW Cycles) and Rob Edgell (Somer Valley).
These five riders were now beginning to pull away and they soon had a very good lead of almost one minute, but the pace was high and we soon lost Steven Bradbury who was struggling to stay with the others and he slipped back and was collected by the bunch. As the leaders went across the line on the bell lap, they had a good lead of 1 minute 20 seconds with two riders, Richard Horton (Bournemouth Jubilee Wheelers) yesterday's race winner and Phillip Peters (Cannondale Racing) trying to get away from the bunch and they had 10 seconds over the chasers.
Out of sight over the Heath is where Thomas decided to make his attack. He got to the front before the turn at the Beaulieu road junction and then made his move up the only real climb on the course and once over the crest of it, got away for a ride to the finish. Thomas came into view alone and rode to the finish to collect the win, his second out of the three races. We had to wait a further 45secs before Jay Eastwood coming in second place ahead of Michael Leech and Rob Edgell.
The bunch came in at 2 minutes with the two league leaders on the front, and it was Andy Rivett who beat Roland Tilley by the width of a tyre, causing some frantic discussion on the line as to who had won the league. The organisers from the league announced that Andy had won the league title by the fact he had won at least one race over the six month long season.
1. Thomas Knowlton Sotonia CC
2. Jay Eastwood VC St Raphael @45secs
3. Michael Leech Team Tor 2000
4. Rob Edgell Somer Valley
5. Andy Rivett VC St Raphael @2mins
6. Roland Tilley Ride Team @st