Torrential downpours failed to dampen spirits at the finale of the Tameside circuit race series - a fantastic day of cycle races and activities for all ages.
The day started with Go-Ride skills activities for absurdly small kids, practising negotiating cones, riding under barriers and handing up bottles. If I'd seen a four year old festooned with bottles, heading up to re-hydrate their team leader I wouldn't have been surprised!
The junior race that kicked off the racing was the first hit by serious rain, the drops bouncing off the tarmac and leaving the circuit slick and treacherous. Not that that seemed to matter to the juniors and a close sprint between Andy Leigh and Levi Moody saw the latter take another win.
The weather cleared enough for the junior relay to be run in something approaching sunshine. Fifteen minutes of pure insanity followed, with three teams sprinting round the circuit on the disability tricycles. Amazingly no-one was hurt in the chaos! Team Mossley took the win.
'Proper' racing resumed after lunch, and pause for another torrential downpour and the presentation of awards to the junior series and event winners. This was supposed to be done later, and outside, but the rain was so heavy that the tent itself began to flood, driving a lot of people into the club house and bike store.
The cat 3-4 race was fast, on a slippery course. Attack after attack failed to make an impression and the bunch was together until a touch of wheels brought down three or four riders, including the always dangerous Rob Ormerod amongst other. With a heavily reduced group attacks began to stick, Martin Harney pulling Jon Crellin and a rider from the Warrington Road Club away. Although they were caught eventually, the latter two attacked again and forged a winning lead, Warrington RC pipping the Manchester Wheeler to the win. Jon's second place giving him the points for a 1st cat in the last event of the season.
The Wills Wheels Senior Relay was a hard fought affair. Only three teams contested for the £250 prize, but competition was stiff with Team SiS (including Alistair Rutherford and Andy Tinsley) and the Manchester Wheelers neck and neck. Unfortunately a couple of bad changeovers gave SIS a winning lead. The Wills Wheels team were some way off the pace for most of the race, only several 'miraculously' fast laps got them back into contention; unfortunately it wasn't enough and SIS walked away with the prize.
After the energy put into the relay it was no surprise the E/1/2 race started slowly, with the riders toying with each other and playing cat and mouse. Things started to hot up as the race got going with the odd lone attack going clear only to be pulled back. It was only when Rob Smail (Cycle Premier MetalTek) attacked and managed to gain a gap that there was any progress at all. He quickly gained 20 seconds, then 30, and despite a last ditch chase he was well clear, finishing with his arms above his head, his team mate winning the bunch sprint.