Location: Stockbridge, Hampshire
Event: 5 May 2013
After a brutal 80 miles of racing it all came down to the last few hundred metres to decide this race with George Harper (Felt Colbornes-Hargroves RT) out-sprinting Ben Stockdale (Metaltek- Knights of Old Racing Team) to the line by a second.
Harper was in all the major breaks of the race and was at the front as the race arrived at the bottom of the final climb and it was there where he made his attack.
A change of date from September to May was a good move by the promoting club Andover Wheelers as they had a full entry of eighty riders and not only numbers but a quality field to boot.
The course was very hilly as it rolled around the market town of Stockbridge in Hampshire.
The riders had little rest between climbs as they came one after another for the six complete laps and seven climbs through the finish line. The day was warm and sunny with little wind even on the exposed Stockbridge Down road.
The event was supported by J. Shearer Roofing to which the club are very happy to continue with his involvement in cycle racing in Hampshire.
Once the race got underway the first break came half way around the opening lap when Felt Colbornes-Hargroves RT sent Alex Higham up the road to control the race which was the teams plan from the outset.
Each attack on the opening laps saw team members on or near the front. This seemed to work as when the final move went away they had a couple of riders in there.
By mid distance there were two groups of eight on the road way ahead of the bunch and there were some big names that missed this break and they were let nearly a minute down in the bunch.
At one point these two leading groups had fifty seconds gap between them but with two laps to go they all joined up again.
This stayed that way for a bit before it split again and this was the deciding break as along with George and Ben were Andrew Hastings (Finchley Racing Team), Roy Chamberlain (Team Corley Cycles), Chris McNamara and David Creeggan (Pedal Heaven RT) and James Stewart (Kuota-Spinergy-GSG).
With the second group now slipping back and the remainder of the peloton back at over three minutes the leaders were clear to sort it all out of the final lap.
The final lap saw every one of the seven try and attack and each time he was caught, They all came into to Stockbridge to climb towards the finish all together and as George made his move Ben was the only one with any legs to stay with him.
As the road levelled off George was clear enough of Ben although Ben did continue to sprint all the way to the line but George had it and celebrated well before the line.
1 George Harper Felt Colbornes-Hargroves RT 3hrs 12mins 58secs
2 Ben Stockdale Metaltek Knights of Old RT @1sec
3 Roy Chamberlain Team Corley Cycles @14secs
4 Chris McNamara Pedal Heaven RT @31secs
5 Andrew Hastings Finchley Racing Team
6 James Stewart Kuota-Spingergy-GSG
7 Alex Higham Felt Colbornes-Hargroves RT
8 Lawrence Carpenter AW Cycles
9 David Creeggan Pedal Heaven
10 Phillip Peters Peter Hansford Racing
Third cat: Cameron Campbell Army Cycling Union
Second cat: Rob Yeatman Dream CC
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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.