Graham Briggs (JLT Condor) powered to a sprint win in the Colne Grand Prix, while Sebastian Mora Vedri (Raleigh GAC) secured enough points to win the overall title as the British Cycling Elite Circuit Series reached a thrilling conclusion.
33-year-old Briggs, the former National Circuit Race Champion from near Doncaster in South Yorkshire, edged ahead of team-mate Tom Moses while Matt Cronshaw (Madison Genesis) took third and Raleigh GAC’s Sebastian Mora Vedri was fourth, thereby taking enough points to wrap up the overall title.
The first break to go included Series leader Sebastian Mora Vedri and three others, and although it only lasted little more than a lap or two it signalled his intention to preserve his lead in the series.
With 15 minutes of racing gone the bunch was still all together, with Raleigh GAC and JLT Condor on the front. Raleigh had everything to ride for with their man in the lead overall, while JLT Condor’s best-placed rider, seventh-placed Chris Lawless, was not riding at Colne.
The next break included Alex Paton (Pedal Heaven) who had placed second in the Chepstow Grand Prix, as well as Steve Lampier, the JLT Condor man who was third at Chepstow, and Raleigh GAC’s Fraser Martin – the reigning Scottish Madison Champion on the track.
With 45 minutes of racing gone a big break of 11 went clear, with most of the big teams represented. For a time it was down to ten as Tobyn Horton (Madison Genesis) dropped back to help team-mate Matt Cronshaw make the move, and within the space of a lap he was back and the break had grown to 12.
Wheelbase-Altura 22-year-old Peter Barusevicus attacked off the front of the leading group, while behind him the top two in the series, Tanfield and Mora Vedri were watching each other like hawks.
But the bunch wasn’t letting anything get clear for long, and not only did Barusevicus get swallowed back up, but the two groups merged and were strung out with 14 laps left.
Attacks were being launched all the time as riders bid to get away and avoid a bunch sprint, and Alex Paton (Pedal Heaven)’s bid for freedom with nine laps to go looked to have a particular sting in it.
His move made Raleigh GAC chase hard with every man on the front in a bid to preserve Mora Vedri’s overall lead, while JLT Condor were also moving up.
Series leader Mora Vedri was sitting comfortably third in the bunch, while Raleigh dominated the bunch and Paton ploughed on up front with five laps to go.
Paton’s lead grew to 11 seconds with four laps left, and it began to look like he might stay clear until the end. But Raleigh’s pace saw them sweep him up at the bell.
In the charge for the finish it was JLT Condor who wound it up in perfect timing, and Briggs took the win ahead of team-mate Tom Moses, while Matt Cronshaw (Madison Genesis) was third.
“It’s a nice victory!” said Briggs. “We had a bit of a break with about ten laps to go and I wasn’t in it, so the guys rode hard to bring it back. I jumped across to that, and then the last five laps were really fast.
“Raleigh took it up a bit too early, and we countered that and I came into the corner about fifth and just let them wind their sprint up but I had another gear left and came past them with about 50 metres to go.”
1. Graham Briggs (JLT Condor)
2. Tom Moses (JLT Condor)
3. Matt Cronshaw (Madison Genesis)
4. Sebastian Mora Vedri (Raleigh GAC)
5. Harry Tanfield (Pedal Heaven RT)
6. David McGowan (Pedal Heaven RT)
7. Jacob Tipper (Pedal Heaven RT)
8. Jake Hales (Spirit Bikes RT)
9. Steven Roach (Raleigh GAC)
10. Richard Hepworth (Raleigh GAC)
Final Series Overall:
1. Sebastian Mora Vedri (Raleigh GAC) 174 points
2. Harry Tanfield (Pedal Heaven RT) 160
3. Felix English (Madison Genesis) 133