Rory Townsend took top honours by half a wheel from Brian Stokes in a high-speed, nine-up, sprint finish to the men’s fourth cat race at Hillingdon in a second display the young talent who also won the under-16 race.
The Cycling Nuts series of races enjoyed wonderful autumn heat from start to finish and with a modest tailwind and flat run-in to the finish the sprints generated in all the races were whirlwind affairs.
The men’s race was fast from the off and every charge along the home straight was full-on as stronger riders took the opportunity to open up gaps from the weaker riders, while slipstreaming advantages were absent.
It was mid-race when one of the series of attacks looked like sticking as two riders inched ahead and after two laps had a decent gap of 100m.
Rory bridged across and made it a three-man break and that in turn triggered a serious response.
For the next three laps, six of the strongest riders in the bunch got clear and started to reel in the break. Once that all came together the nine played a cagey game of holding the following bunch at bay but saving something for the sprint, Townsend leading it home and Andy Wright heading the bunch to take the final remaining point.
1 Rory Townsend Prestige
2 Brian Stokes Inverse Cycling RT
3 Alan Jones private member
4 Michael Williams Dulwich Paragon
5 Peter Owen Norwood Paragon
6 Dan Mitchell Redhill CC
7 Carl Adams Aylesbury CC
8 Warren Hannington I-Team CC
9 Conrad Addo London Dynamo
10 Andy Wright Sigma Sport
Suzetta Guerrini London Dynamo) won by the narrowest of margins from Karla Boddy (High Wycombe CC) as a mass of riders powered over the line in the best sprint finish seen in the women’s race at Hillingdon at any of the annual Cycling Nuts events.
With the women’s race being open to all categories of riders, it has been the format in the past that someone with a belief in their ability to solo to the line has made off in a lone break: Jayne Paine (Willesden CC) managed just that last year while in 2008 Emma Trott (Halfords Bikehut) shot off right from the gun and was never seen again throughout the entire race.
The start-sheet suggested Saturday’s race might be fought out by two separate groups as there were almost as many second cat riders as fourth cats and no-one in between.
The reality was very different however, as the stronger group failed to make it tough enough for the newcomers and for the first 30 minutes the bunch came down the home straight with a tailwind in the opposite mode to the men, riders using this section to recover rather than take advantage of their greater strength to hit top speeds.
The second half of the race was much tougher though and various riders took the opportunity to open a gap.
“The most impressive thing was the fourth cats and what they achieved. We had more competing than in the past and today they were all staying with the bunch rather than getting shelled out one by one,” said John Leitch, event organiser.
“These newer racers should all go home very satisfied with that as the second cats certainly turned on the gas in the last 40 minutes of the race.”
1 Suzetta Guerrini London Dynamo
2 Karla Boddy High Wycombe CC
3 Joe Haley Southampton RC
4 Natasha Barry Bikelux/Progression
5 Dyanne Holland Inverse Cyclaim RT
6 Jo-Anne Perry San Fairy Ann
7 Charmaine Brown Pearson CC
8 Leanne Rogers ToInfinity
9 Tracy Corbett London Dynamo
10 Victoria Collins London Dynamo
Palmer Park Velo was once again the top club in the Cycling Nuts event at Hillingdon on Saturday, scooping the £150 top prize for the club whose riders ran up the highest total points tally in the three youngest age-related races – the ones for Under-8, Under-10 and Under-12 riders.
PPV was competing against 11 other clubs from as far away as Chippenham, Portsmouth and Southend.
After turning out 19 spirited youngsters last year, the Reading-based junior cycling club went one better this time with a tally of 23.
And the plan worked - having been top dogs for the past five years now, which is when the competition first started, then ran out and the top of the pile once again
“They treat it as a big, end-of-season day out,” said John Leitch, organiser of the Cycling Nuts at Hillingdon event on the 0.9mile tarmaced circuit which is cycling-specific and gloriously car-free.
“There’s always a mad scramble of kids, often queuing to sign on in the wrong queue as a result of their excitement,” said John. “The weather made for a carnival atmosphere with parents and followers spread out all over the place."
Meica, a mechanical and electrical construction group based in west London, signed up as main sponsors for the third year running so the prize list again ran to a total of £300.
PPV were untouchable with 194 points, representing a rise of 41 points.
Hillingdon Slipstreams, now having got their act together, snapped up the £40 prize for second team with a score of 65 points, representing a fall of 34 points.
VC Londres, based at Herne Hill, took the third place last time but it was new club Redhill Raiders who inched into the final podium position this year with 28 points.
Individual prizes in the Under-14 race went to George Moore (i-Team) and Maddy Davy (Redhill Raiders), each taking home £20 as winner of their section (boy and girl).
Tanveer Mann had ruled the boys’ Under-16 race for each of the past two years but the Hillingdon rider has now moved up into Junior racing, paving the way for Rory Townsend (Prestige) to take the top spot. He was chased home this time by George Withers (PPV)
Laura Cheesman (Preston Park Youth Cycling Club from Brighton) collected £20 for her afternoon’s efforts, proving to be the best in the section for Under-16 girls.
Emily Conn (PPV) was the first girl in the Under 10 event and in the Under 8 race it was a clean sweep for the PPV club as Scott Richardson and Alexa Hawkins took top honours.
Under 16 winner – boy Rory Townsend Prestige
Under 16 winner – girl Laura Cheesman PPYCC
Under 14 winner – boy Louis Modell ELV
Under 14 winner – girl Maddy Davy Redhill CC
British Cycling would like to thank the organising team, officials and everyone else who helped promote this event. Our sport could not exist without the hundreds of people, many of them unpaid volunteers, who put in many hours of hard work running events, activities and clubs.