John Whittington (Team Diabetes UK), Celia Davis-Hayes (Stan’s No Tubes) and Tristan Robbins (Cardiff JIF) were crowned South Region Champions after some good riding over the Wiltshire country side.
The Army Cycling Union promoted the event on a tough rolling course on the edge of Salisbury Plain Military training ground. The men completed six laps (90 miles) while the women and juniors did three (45 miles).
The event started in the army Garrison town of Tidworth on the Hampshire Wiltshire border and looped North toward Pewsey and then back to Upavon and then past the Army Air station, before turning again towards Everleigh. The weather was dry and there was very little wind, so a good day for racing.
The two groups were separated by a ten minute gap as the rode away from the HQ on a six mile drive onto the course proper. Once clear of the junction the flag drops and racing gets underway.
On the first lap a group of five forms on the front and they are soon joined by another three who bridge across as the race passes the feed station on the climb up towards the air station. The peloton splits on the climb and soon some riders are shelled out the back. There were several probing attacks on this opening lap but there isn’t a firm gap yet.
The second lap sees the first proper break go away as they enter Upavon village with six riders clear by one minute with a chasing group of four. There are a couple of loan riders trying to form up a chase but the bulk of the peloton are now loosing time.
The leaders hold their gap but coming up fast are Tom Stockdale (Spin Rotor- Primal Europe) and Justin Hoy (Felt Colbornes-Hargroves RT). Once these two make the junction the gap to a chase group is now 1min 30secs.
The leading group is then swollen to ten riders as first Ollie Beckingsale (Endura MTB Racing) kick on and then John Whittington follows across and the bunch is now at 2mins. It’s not until lap five when we next see the action intensify as riders attack each other and this succeeds in breaking the rhythm and causes a slit in the leading group.
First two riders are shelled out the back on the climb through the feed station and then the remaining eight split into two groups of four. The leading four are John Whittington, Ollie Beckingsale, Chris Spence (Felt Colbornes-Hargroves RT) and Colin Parry (Spin Rotor-Primal Europe).
As the leaders approached the finish area John buried himself and eased away from Chris as Ollie sat up safe knowing Colin was behind him. John used every bit of energy to pull away and was so exhausted he weaved across the line and promptly jumped of his bike and collapsed into the long grass on the road side.
The women’s race of three laps saw Philadelphian rider Celia Davis-Hayes the,24year old well clear of second place Gillian Taylor (Abergavenny RC) with Marianne Britten (VC St Raphael) third. Celia is over from New York racing for a season and is currently looking for a local team to ride with.
The junior race was a very hard contested event with several strong riders capable of winning. Tristan Robbins (Cardiff JIF), Andy Shackle (Peter Hansford RT) and Adam Beddall (Gloucester City) were the medal winners but Tristan was pushed all the way to the line by Andy only taking the win on the finish line.
What They said
“It was a good last lap," said John Whittington. "Four of us got away up the climb, and we worked well together for a bit. We all tried to attack but nothing would stick, but I got away after a few efforts just before the last corner and slammed it.
“I knew Oli’s joker card and he attacked on the corner on the climb the lap before. He tried it on the last lap and I followed him there. Him and me made a hybrid team between the two of us because we both work in the same shop.”
1st John Whittington Team Diabetes UK
2nd Chris Spence Felt Colbornes- Hargroves RT @4secs
3rd Ollie Beckingsale Endura MTB Racing @5secs
4th Colin Parry Spin Rotor Primal Europe @7secs
1st Celia Davis-Hayes Stan’s No Tubes
2nd Gillian Taylor Abergavenny RC
3rd Marianne Britten VC St Raphael
1st Tristan Robbins Cardiff JIF
2nd Andy Shackle Peter Hansford RT
3rd Adam Beddall Gloucester City RC
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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.