Down among the reserve riders, George Harper (Felt Colbornes RT-Hargroves Cycles) made the most of his opportunity on the day to win the 54th version of Dulwich Paragon CC’s early-season race on the Tenterden circuit.
Harper, a first category rider from near Andover, celebrated his biggest victory so far in what is only his second season of racing.
The race was shortened by a lap, from seven to six, in deference to the freezing conditions, making a distance of 74 miles.
An early break of eight riders on the second lap got a good break – minus Harper, who helped chase them down and swell the leading break up to around 12 riders.
But with a big presence in the break, Rapha Condor-JLT and IG Sigma Sport tried several times to fore a split, attacking off the front in search of victory.
One rider from each of Rapha Condor-JLT and IG Sigma Sport eventually did manage to break free, but were hunted down by Harper who was aided by Felt Colbornes-Hargroves team-mate Andy Betts.
Having caught the leaders, Harper proved strongest on the rising run to the finish to win from Colin Parry (Spin Rotor Primal C-Originals RT) and Joe Perrett (IG Sigma Sport).
Looking forward to taking his good form into the Ras Mumhan in Ireland next weekend, Harper said after the race: “This is easily my biggest win so far.
“I missed the first break but got across later, and then when the two guys got up the road with a couple of Ks to go, I knew I was going to have to jump across to them to stand any chance.
“They only had about ten second’s lead, and I got a great slingshot from Andy [Betts] and caught them. They looked tired so I kept it going and got the win.
“It’s great to win. Last season was my first, but I broke my collar bone in May and had complications so didn’t really race again for the rest of that year.”
1 George Harper (Felt Colbornes RT-Hargroves Cycles)
2 Colin Parry (Spin Rotor Primal C-Originals RT)
3 Joe Perrett (IG Sigma Sport)
4 Andy Betts (Felt Colbornes RT-Hargroves Cycles)
5 Felix English (Rapha Condor JLT)
6 Ryan Mullen (IG Sigma Sport)
7 Hugh Carthy (Rapha Condor JLT)
8 James McCullum (Rapha Condor JLT)
9 Matt Jones (IG Sigma Sport)
10 Alex Peters (Madison-Genesis)
11 Chris McNamara (Pedal Heaven RT)
12 Antoine Guadillat (Spin Rotor Primal C-Originals RT)
13 Jake Martin (Kingsnorth International Wheelers)
14 David Creggan (Pedal Heaven RT)
15 Andrew Griffiths (IG Sigma sport)
16 Harry Godding (PM Racing)
17 Mark Perry (Dirtwheels Cycles)
18 Stephen Swindley (PM Racing)
19 Robert Moore (London Phoenix)
20 Oliver Rossi (Twenty3c.co.uk-Focus)
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