Will Bjergfelt (Cycle Premier-Kovert), Kimberley Ashton (Abergavenny RC) and Will Stephenson (Primera Specialized) were crowned South Region Champions for 2012 after a tough day in the saddle. Will was winning for the first time this season having run into a rich vein of form just at the right time.
The race centred on the town of Stockbridge in the west of North West of Hampshire is a very tough course with a long climb which for the senior men was climbed seven times and the junior and women four times. The day was overcast, dry but on the exposed Winchester road was very windy.
On the first lap it was Henry Newbury (Team GWR) setting the pace up the first climb and on through the finish line for the first time. In the junior race it was Andy Shackel (VC St Raphael) at the front of the bunch.
Once the race had settled down in the Village of Crawley they headed out on the downs and into the wind for the first time. The bunch was looking for a wheel to follow and they soon started to split into small groups. In the supporting 3rd/4th cat race Simon Healey (Andover Wheelers) had taken the race by the scruff and had opened up a minute lead and they hadn’t even completed three quarters of a lap.
On lap two Tom Stockdale (Primal Europe) and Chris Spence (Felt Colbornes) have a small lead over Alec Baskaya (Dream Cycling) and Toby Eichler (Wilier/Live2Ride)with the bunch all together, although Harry Bulstrode (Peter Hansford Racing) did appear behind the neutral service vehicle after a puncture. In the supporting races Simon Healey was still in the lead but his lead had been pulled back by his team mate Mitchell Webber and Will Stephenson, and the rest of the bunch were now over two minutes adrift.
The third lap sees the first break proper go away as Martin Smith (Primal Europe), Alex Baskaya, Jason Flooks (Velo Club Bristol) and Toby Eichler open up a 50sec gap over a chasing group of Will Bjergfelt, George Harper (Felt Colbornes) and Tom Stockdale, who in turn have a few seconds gap over the remainder of the bunch with Mark Perry (Wilier/Live2Ride) trying to pull the three chasers back to stop them making the junction with the leaders.
The support race leaders Mitchell, Will and Simon are now all together with the bunch containing the leaders in the women’s race Adel Tyson Bloor (VC St Raphael) and Kimberley Ashton.
Lap four sees the senior men’s race all come back together as the wind starts to take its toll and they roll around towards the start of the fifth lap. There was no change in the leaders of the support race only the time gap gets even bigger and is now at over four minutes.
The finish of the supporting races sees Will Stephenson solo away from the two Andover riders to win the junior title for the second year running by a margin of 3mins 30secs from Simon Healey who wins the third/fourth cat race easily with the third riders across the line was Mitchell back at 4mins 5secs. In the women’s race Kimberley is first with Adel a distant second and Anna Fischer (Wilier/Live2Ride) third.
As the senior men start their fifth lap its Chris Spence (Felt Colbornes) who holds a 50sec lead over Phillip Peters (Cannondale Racing), Wayne Coombs (Primal Europe) and Michael Serafin (Guernsey Velo Club) with Toby Eichler on the front of the chasing bunch.
The race changes again at the start of lap six with Luke Dunbar clear of team mate Conor Ryan, Tom Stockdale and Thomas Marshall (Cadence Cannondale RT), with the bunch now beginning to split into small groups but without any significant gaps after what must have been a fast and furious lap.
With the leaders cresting the hill outside of Stockbridge and the bell it’s a group of five away now and have a good lead of 1min 40secs. The leading group contained Will Bjergfelt, Luke Dunbar, Mark Perry, Jack Adams and Conor Ryan (Performance Cycles CMI) and their lead is 20seconds to the chasing bunch.
On the back of the circuit and on the way back towards Stockbridge sees Ben Stockdale and Colin Parry get across to the leaders and they rode straight past them and on towards the final climb of the day.
As the leaders come into view Will out sprints Colin to an ecstatic victory by a couple of seconds with Conor a handful of seconds back taking third. Fourth place goes to Luke Dunbar and Tom Stockdale is firth ahead of a tiring Mark Perry.
1 Will Bjergfelt Cycle Premier- Kovert
2 Colin Parry Wilier/Live2Ride
3 Conor Ryan Performance Cycles CMI
4 Luke Dunbar Performance Cycles CMI
5 Tom Stockdale Primal Europe/RU Training today
6 Jack Adams Zappi’s Pro Cycling
7 Mark Perry Wilier/Live2Ride
8 Toby Eichler Wilier/Live2Ride
9 George Harper Felt Colbornes RT
10 Tom Marshall Cadence Cannondale
1 Kimberley Ashton Abergavenny RC
2 Adel Tyson Bloor VC St Raphael
3 Anna Fischer Wilier /Live2Ride
4 Ellie Gilham Bournemouth Arrow CC
5 Miriam Fremantle Team Hope Factory RT
1 Will Stephenson Primera Specialized
2 Mitchell Webber Andover Wheelers
3 Daniel Marshall BCDS
1 Simon Healey Andover Wheelers
2 Alan Spurdan Andover Wheelers
3 Nick Walmsley Corinium CC
4 Roland Tilley Ridebike.co.uk
5 Berni Charlick CC Basingstoke
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.