Leeds rider Jamie Shirlaw secured victory in the Sheffrec CC Road Race in South Yorkshire – and was presented with his prize by newly-crowned World scratch race champion Ben Swift!
Swift, who lives just a few miles from the course, was due to ride the race but a UCI ruling prevented him from taking part, nevertheless, he was happy to hand out the prizes at the end.
66 riders departed the Ruddle Centre for 18 laps of the Stainton circuit near Braithwell in bright but very windy conditions. The annual Sheffrec CC spring road race formed the second round of the newly formed Yorkshire Road Race League.
The bunch remained as one until the third lap, when a group of seven riders broke clear and quickly established a lead of 35 seconds over the main bunch. The breakaway riders which included 2011 winner Jamie Shirlaw with team mate Tom Bustard of Herbalife Leisure Bikes, Tom Barras, Metaltek – Scott, Dillon Byrne and Alistair Rutherford of Vanillabikes.com, Colin Humprey, Sportscover Altura RT and William Haynes of Blackhawk Bikes soon forged a 52 second lead over the main peloton.
Not content with watching their rivals ride away, local rider Graham Briggs of Raleigh–GAC, Tom Murray of IG Sigma Sport, RST riders Matt Sumpton and Gunnar Gronlund along with Sportscover Altura Riders Colin Humphrey and Rob Sharman all gave chase and split the peloton into 3 groups.
The main bunch were now suffering from the pace and would never see the front of the race again. The wind increased to make for a tough race and the main finishing straight was where the wind really blew hard. The reaction from the chasing group of 10 riders ate into the lead of the breakaway riders and the gap was soon down from 52 seconds to just 31 seconds. With 5 laps to go.
The lead group of riders, who had been working very well together sensed their lead was dropping and attacks came. Vanilla Bikes rider, Dillon Byrne was always first up the windy drag to the finish on several occasions but this constant attacking looked to be threatening the precious gap. With two laps to go, the chasing bunch were closing in and were now trailing by 22 seconds.
The question amongst the ever increasing crowd at the finish was would they catch the riders who had been away for 15 laps? Sadly for local supporters of Graham Briggs they failed in an attempt to bridge the gap. The winner would come from the original breakaway.
A large crowd gathered and witnessed Alistair Rutherford of Vanillabikes.com lead the charge for the line but was soon swamped by Barras, team mate Byrne and Shirlaw. The three up battle for honours was won by Jamie Shirlaw, Herbalife Leisure Bikes.com, completing the 62 mile race in just under 2 hours 20 minutes.
Dillon Byrne pushed hard and claimed second over Barras who had to settle for third place. Alistair Rutherford made it a good day for Vanillabikes.com placing 4th with Colin Humphrey, Sportscover Altura RT, 4 seconds back with Tommy Bustard, Herbalife Leisure Bikes.com claiming sixth place.
William Haynes, Blackhawk Bikes who was also from the original breakaway lost ground on the last lap and came home a creditable 7th. Matt Sumpton, RST Trigon RT and Jack Cutsforth, Herbalife Leisure Bikes.com broke clear of the chase group on the last lap to claim 8th and 9th, 44 seconds behind. A frustrated Briggs claimed 10th place in the group gallop 58 seconds in arrears.
Event organiser, Marc Etches of Sheffrec CC would like to thank all the marshals, car drivers, the National Escort Group and Commissaires Dave Stewart and Robert Bunting for making the race a great success.
1 Jamie Shirlaw, Herbalife Leisure Bikes.com 62.5 miles in 2:20:54
2 Dillon Byrne, Vanillabikes.com
3 Tom Barras, Metaltek – Scott
4 Alistair Rutherford, Vanillabikes.com
5 Colin Humphrey, Sportscover Altura RT @ 4 secs
6 Tommy Bustard, Herbalife Leisure Bikes.com
7 William Haynes, Blackhawk Bikes @ 15 secs
8 Matt Sumpton, RST Trigon RT @ 44 secs
9 Jack Cutsforth, Herbalife Leisure Bikes.com @ 50 secs
10 Graham Briggs, Team Raleigh – GAC @ 58 secs
11 Tom Murray, Team IG - Sigma Sport
12 John Tanner, Sportscover Altura RT
13 Gunnar Gronlund, RST Trigon RT
14 Rob Sharman, Sportscover Altura RT
15 Jaime Burgan, Langsett Cycles RT
16 Richard Hepworth, Cycle Premier – Kovert @ 1:07
17 Christopher Daddy, Squadra RT @ 1:45
18 Steve Ellis, Out of the Saddle CC @ 5:05
19 Simon Maudsley, RVO Racing @ 5:08
20 Tom Stewart, RST Trigon RT
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.