Rapha Condor Sharp's Graham Briggs is the 2011 national circuit race champion after he and team-mate Dean Downing got away in a near race long break of seven riders. Using their numerical advantage in the break, this season's most successful domestic team added the individual title to their impressive list of wins this year.
The National Circuit Race championships took place on a perfect summer evening in the beautiful surrounds of Beverley town centre, in East Yorkshire.
The start was delayed and the race slightly shortened after a crash in the support race which led to its abandonment.
With the sun slowly sinking towards the horizon the big field of almost 80 riders rolled out onto the circuit for 60 minutes plus five laps, with the barriers lined with fans craning to catch sight of the early laps.
And the riders didn't disappoint, beginning at a furious pace, with the odd crash thrown in to get the race off to an adrenaline-pumping start.
After a few early forays off the front, a break formed with six riders, led by Endura's Ian Wilkinson. They were soon pulling clear of the field, with Dean Downing swelling their ranks to seven: Wilkinson (Endura), Tom Murray (Sigma Sport Specialized), Marcel Six (Twenty3c-Orbea), Will Bjergfelt (Motorpoint), Graham Briggs (Rapha Condor Sharp), Dean Downing (Rapha Condor Sharp) and Matt Jones (Raleigh).
After twenty minutes or so of racing, the break had a lead of 20 seconds and this rapidly doubled in the next 2 or three laps.
Inevitably the main field began to get twitchy and although the chase was in no way concerted to start with, no doubt a result of so many of the bigger teams having representatives in the break, Cyclepremier.com - Metaltek, who didn't, began to organise a response with Dale Appleby, Tom Barras and Stephen Gallagher.
These three did their best to pull things back, marked all the time by the big guns of Rapha Condor Sharp, Endura and Motorpoint. Defending champion Ed Clancy, in particular did a lot of work keeping tabs on the front of the main field and marking attacks. Indeed, the only significant attempts to break free came from Adam Duggleby and Tom Moses (100% ME), but both were soon snuffed out.
Team UK Youth helped the Metaltek boys where they could, but the break was clearly flying.
With thoughts of the finish clearly beginning to weigh upon the leaders, their lead fell steadily for 3 or 4 laps, until it stood at perhaps 25 seconds, and with three laps to go it was down to just 18 seconds. However, it wasn't falling fast enough and it dawned on everyone that the winner was going to come from the break.
In the break itself, Marcel Six was the first rider to try his luck, attacking hard off the front, but he was soon pulled back.
Dean Downing then attacked with 2 laps to go, beautifully setting up the counter-punch from his team mate, Briggs, who took the win by perhaps a bike length from Ian Wilkinson, with Tom Murray third. The main bunch came in some seven seconds down having never quite got back on terms with the leaders.
VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH RACE WINNER
For circuit race specialist Briggs, it was a great way to celebrate returning home from his honeymoon (spent watching the Tour in France), two weeks after being married. His experience of racing the cobbles in France and Belgium, picked up earlier in his career, helped him to cope with the cobbled sections of the Beverley circuit and his win was clearly extremely popular amongst the huge crowd at the finish.
1. Graham Briggs (Rapha Condor Sharp) 1:10.25
2. Ian Wilkinson (Endura)
3. Tom Murray (Sigma Sport Specialized)
4. Marcel Six (Twenty3c-Orbea)
5. Will Bjergfelt (Motorpoint) @ 2s
6. Matt Jones (Raleigh) @ 7s
7. Ed Clancy (Rapha Condor Sharp) @ 8s
8. Scott Thwaites (Endura)
9. Jonny McEvoy (Motorpoint)
10. Steven Adams (Sigma Sport Specialized)
11 Tobyn Horton Motorpoint
12 Pete Williams Motorpoint
13 Jason White CyclePremier.com - Metaltek @ 9s
14 Steven Burke Team UK Youth
15 Adam Duggleby Science In Sport.com
16 Russell Hampton Sigma Sport Specialized Cycling Team
17 Simon Gaywood Team Corley Cycles/Cervelo/Alpha R.C
18 Jake Hales Team Corley Cycles/Cervelo/Alpha R.C
19 Tom Barras Cyclepremier.com - Metaltek
20 Simon Wilson CyclePremier.com - Metaltek
21 Dean Shannon Twenty3c-Orbea
22 Dale Appleby Cyclepremier.com - Metaltek @ 10s
23 James Stewart Team UK Youth
24 Tom Last Sigma Sport Specialized Cycling Team
25 Richard Hepworth CyclePremier.com - Metaltek @ 11s
26 Stuart Reid Herbalife/Wheelbase.co.uk
27 Simon Richardson Sigma Sport Specialized Cycling Team
28 Steve Lampier Sigma Sport Specialized Cycling Team @ 14s
29 Gary Adamson Science In Sport.com @ 15s
30 David Clarke Endura Racing @ 16s
31 Robert Hayles Endura Racing
32 Andrew Hawdon Herbalife/Wheelbase.co.uk
33 James McCallum Rapha Condor Sharp
34 James Sampson Motorpoint @ 17s
35 Dean Downing Rapha Condor Sharp