Location: Ludgershall, Wiltshire
Event: 3 March 2012
Report: Snowdon Sports
Toby Eichler took victory in the final race of the Ludgershall Winter Series at the REME Test Track in Wiltshire on Saturday, out-sprinting breakaway rival David Saunders for the win in round eight.
The 27-year-old Bristol-based rider with Wilier-Live to Ride attacked after about 40 minutes of the 55-minute race, taking David Saunders (NFTO) with him, and the pair opened up a gap of around 30 seconds on the chasing bunch.
In the sprint for the line, Eichler just edged ahead of Saunders, 36 and from Hereford, to take the win by three seconds while the bunch were led in 30 seconds later by third-placed Jamie Streather from Cinderford.
The supporting races were split once again to ease the numbers in this ever-popular series, and in a bid to make the racing more exciting a special prize of £50 was put up by the organisers to anyone who could establish a gap of a minute over the bunch at any point in the race.
This rule certainly galvanised the riders into action in all races, however nobody secured the prize and both supporting races ended in bunch finishes despite several attempted attacks.
The third category race saw the podium dominated by 16-year-old riders, with Matt Hargroves (Hargroves Cycles) taking the win from VC St Raphael’s Andy Shackel from Portsmouth, while Cardiff JIF rider Geraint Manley took third and then went on to finish tenth in the E/1/2 race too.
In the fourth category race older riders came to the fore, with 25-year-old Bristolian Matthew Franklin (Bristol RC) winning from Bath CC’s 34-year-old rider Gary Cannon, while third spot went to 31-year-old Worcester-based Kieran Holdstock (Worcester St Johns CC).
What they said
“There had been several little attacks through the race, but nothing had stuck,” said elite race winner Toby Eichler. “After about 40 minutes I popped off the front and took Saunders with me, and we rode really hard for the first two or three laps and got the gap.
“Spectators were shouting out to us and telling us we had 20 seconds on the bunch, which encouraged us to carry on, and in the finish I clipped him on the finishing straight and won by about 50 metres.
“Whenever we got to the starting straight the race seemed to ease up, so I just capitalised on it and attacked there really hard off the front. Every other time I had attacked I had been marked, so I was surprised to get away.
“It’s always great to get your first win of the year. I rode the Perfs and was tenth in the first the Springtime Pursuit race, so now I’m looking forward to the Severn Bridge Road Race tomorrow.”
1 Toby Eichler (Wilier Live to Ride) 55:37
2 David Saunders (NFTO) @ 3sec
3 Jamie Streather (VC St Raphael) @ 30sec
4 Philip Reynolds (Peter Hanford Racing)
5 Tom Neale (unattached)
6 Chris Snook (Banjo Cycles)
7 Paul Carson (Performance Cycles RT)
8 Jordan Wade (VC St Raphael)
9 Declan Higgins (Twickenham CC)
10 Geraint Manley (Cardiff JIF)
1 Matt Hargroves (Hargroves Cycles)
2 Andy Shackel (VC St Raphael)
3 Geraint Manley (Cardiff JIF)
1 Matthew Franklin (Bristol RC)
2 Gary Cannon (Bath CC)
3 Kieran Holdstock (Worcester St Johns 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.