Exeter teenager George Pym won round two of the Springtime Pursuits Series to boost his hopes of taking the overall victory in the three-race series at Willand Village Hall in Devon.
His win on Saturday puts the 17-year-old Exeter Wheelers rider top of the table following second spot in the opening round of the series the previous week.
After junior riders dominated the opening round of the handicapped series, organiser Ken Robertson split the youngsters throughout the four groups, and his plan worked with a good mix of juniors and seniors finishing in the top ten of an entertaining race.
Pym had begun four minutes behind the first group to hit the road, but two minutes ahead of the scratch group on the 4.2-mile circuit which was used to create a 29.4-mile race.
And although the front group was swallowed up quite soon after the start, it was not until the final lap that the scratch group managed to latch on to the early starters, making for a thrilling finish.
Pym managed to hold off Mid-Devon CC’s Jake Durant for the win, while Durant’s Mid-Devon team-mate in the scratch group took third.
Just four of the top ten riders were from the scratch group, while the majority of the rest had made up a four minute handicap.
While Pym is now leading the overall with one round remaining, Cadence Cannondale rider Jack Plummer looks set to be second after finishing sixth in Saturday’s race and fourth in the opening round.
Mid-Devon CC’s Andy Pepperell took the first prime from the front group, while Sid Valley CC’s Neil Hitt claimed the second one before Pym’s group had reached the front and the Exeter Wheeler took the third prime as well as the finish.
Paignton’s Ella Hopkins (unattached) won the women’s 21-mile race at Willand, which this week was run off as a straight road race instead of a handicap, with the 16-strong bunch all fairly well matched this week.
The field stayed together for much of the race with Abergavenny’s Lowri Bunn taking the primes on lap two and four.
A bunch sprint finish looked on the cards, but with around a mile and a half remaining 21-year-old Ella Hopkins attacked at a small ride on a rough road, pulling away with alarming pace on an S-bend and showing the benefits of a winter of training in Australia.
She got clear and looked to be holding it to the line, but she had just inches to spare in the end as Strada Cycles’ Gillian Taylor and last week’s winner Miriam Freemantle (Hope Factory Racing) bore down on her.
Overall, Freemantle leads the series following a first and third.
1 George Pym (Exeter Wheelers) 1:07:26
2 Jake Durant (Mid-Devon CC)
3 Peter Vincent (Mid-Devon CC)
4 Jason Kettle (Mid-Devon CC)
5 Colin Parry (Wilier-Live2Ride)
6 Jack Plummer (Cadence Cannondale)
7 Steve Thomas (Bristol RC)
8 Andrew Perkins (Mid-Devon CC)
9 Daniel McKinn (Bristol Cycling Development Squad)
10 Toby Eichler (Wilier-Live2Ride)
Overall: George Pym.
1 Ella Hopkins (unattached) 59:09
2 Gillian Taylor (Strada Cycles)
3 Miriam Freemantle (Hope Factory Racing)
4 Adele Martin (GB Cycles)
5 Carla Haines (WXC World Racing)
6 Becky Aicheler (Abergavenny RC)
7 Lyndsey Glazier (Shred Racing)
8 Sarah Austin (YOGi Cycling)
9 Wibke Reitz (1st Chard Wheelers)
10 Robyn Golding (Bristol RC)
Overall: Miriam Freemantle.
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.