The latest round of the British Cycling National Junior Road Race Series – the Bikeline Tom Simpson Memorial Junior Road Race – was won by Team Elite rider Harry Shackleton near Harworth in North Nottinghamshire on Sunday.
Now in its fifth year, the event used a new extended course on the outskirts of the village but with the traditional finish on the final lap.
Without the climb of Wright’s Hill until the finish, the new course is even quicker and the bunch pulled back any attempt to get away in the first three laps. The first dangerous break consisted of Scotland’s Fraser Martin, Jacob Scott of Team Sportscover and Mark Stewart of Team ASL 360 who managed to get 20 seconds ahead of the peloton before being pulled back.
On lap five, Jamie Dudley or Team Isle of Man, James Shaw of Forme Bikes UK and Hamish Carrick of Team ASL360 took over at the front but Dudley and Carrick couldn’t stand the pace and slipped back to the bunch. Shaw persisted, though and pulled out 20 seconds.
Shortly afterwards, Callum Ferguson of Halesowen A&CC and Jake Cowen of BikeTreks Racing Academy were the first of almost a dozen riders to be disqualified for overtaking over the white line. Shaw was still and was joined by Scott Auld of Dirtwheels Cycles and Joe Kirkham Hargroves Cycles-Specialized but they couldn’t make it stick and the race came back together.
On lap seven Auld, Ben Chapman of Corley Cycles and Tristan Robbins of Cardiff JIF made the most promising move of the race so far but they only stayed away for just over one lap before James King of Team Sportscover made a solo move.
In his first lap away, King opened up a 12 second gap on a group of three chasers – Peter Cocker of Forme Bikes, Gavin Shuttleworth of Team ASL360 and Jake Womerlsey of Team Sporstcover – who had 23 seconds on the bunch behind.
The chase stalled and was pulled back but King was still holding on. Lap by lap, though, the gap came down – to first to 25 seconds and then to 8 – before Andy Leigh of Velocity WD-40, Jake Kelly of Isle of Man and his team mate Womerlsey joined him in the lead group.
As the group came out of the industrial estate at the top of the climb Chapman and Christian Braybrooke of Velocity WD40 crashed. Chapman chased back on, but Braybrooke was taken to hospital with a bruised chest and a suspected broken ribs.
The race had come back together with four to go when Ferguson – still in the race despite his DQ – James Knox of Champion Systems, Jacob Scott of Sportscover and Stephen Williams of Ystwyth Cycling Club slipped away. They built a steady lead – peaking at 41 seconds to go, now minus Ferguson.
With two laps to go the gap was down to 11 seconds and as it all came together, two riders jumped clear - Harry Shackleton of Elite Cycles and Elliot Pike of Zipvit Lichfield City CC – and pulled out a gap of 26 seconds by the base of the finish on Wrights Hill. Shackleton was simply stronger on the final climb and rode away to take a comfortable solo win.
With the bunch bearing down on him, Pike – who, it turned out, had been disqualified in any case - couldn’t quite hold off the charging bunch, crossing the line behind James King of Sportscover Altura and Tom Arnstein of ASL360.
Shackleton was delighted - and surprised - with the result.
“For most of the race I stayed in the bunch and just focused on eating and drinking – I get cramps quite easily – and then on the last lap, with about two miles to go I broke away with another rider and we stayed together until the final climb.
“I was just a little stronger on the final climb – and after 60 miles it hurts. Half way up the climb I look back and I knew they weren’t gaining on me fast enough, I knew I had enough in the bag.”
“It was a huge surprise to win this one because I’m usually better on the climbs. I wasn’t thinking about doing the Tour of Wales because I didn’t think I was good enough, but…”
Jake Kelly’s fourth place was enough to keep him at the top of the overall standings as the Series moves to Hatherleigh in Devon in July.
1 Harry Shackleton Team Elite/Paul Bethell Electrical
2 James King Team Sportscover
3 Tom Arnstein Team ASL360
4 Jake Kelly Team Isle of Man
5 Jacob Kelly Lichfield City CC
6 Owen James County Cycles Racing Team
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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.