After a long hot morning across the top of Portsdown Hill overlooking Portsmouth the race came down to a little more than the width of a tyre as Steve Calland (South Downs Bikes) outsprinted Ben Davis (Bristol RC).
Fareham Wheelers promoted the 88-kilometre event on a hard course designed for those who like climbing. There were seven passes through the finish line as the riders challenged the course. Once the early morning mist cleared the sun came out and by mid race the temperatures started to climb towards the high twenties.
Soon after the race started Robert Ward (Felt Colbornes-Hargroves RT) attacked and soon he had pulled out a good lead of over 20 seconds, he was the first to appear on the downs and the bunch were chasing him down.
On the second lap Robert was joined by Ian Paine (London Dynamo) and Richard Phillips-Schofield (HantsPol CC), and these three soon had an advantage of 30 seconds.
It took the chasing bunch nearly a whole lap to reel them in and then the whole race split into two groups with 11 seconds between them and then Ian Paine attacked off the front and managed to build himself a lead.
Both Phillip Peters (Peter Hansford Racing) and Phillips-Schofield gave chase along with Robert Ward but Ian soon built a lead of 50 seconds and the chasers drifted back to the bunch content to wait their time.
At the bell Iain’s lead was hovering around the minute mark with the bunch all together keeping a good tempo up the climb and through the finish line for the last time.
Once the bunch had cleared the corner and onto the Down the speed increased and soon the race was all lined out heading downhill and on towards Staple Cross. Iain was beginning to tire and the bunch soon began to reel him in, but it took them to the climb in South Boar Hunt to get him.
Once over the climb the race had little more than a kilometre to go when Steve Calland and Ben Davis took up the race. As they approached the finish line it was so close it might have been a photo finish but Steve just had the extra push of the cranks to win by a narrow margin.
1 Steve Calland South Downs Bikes 2:20:08
2 Ben Davis Bristol RC @ same time
3 Thomas Morris Portsmouth North End CC @ 2sec
4 Michael Lancaster VC Meudon @ 4sec
5 Mike Ward Ride 24/7 @ 8sec
6 Stuart Williams Reading CC @ 10sec
7 Phillip Peters Peter Hansford Racing @ 12sec
8 Oscar Hutchings University of Exeter @ 15sec
9 Gary Turnock Finsbury Park CC @ 16sec
10 Gavin Starling Brighton Mitre @ 17sec
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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.