The sun shone on a great day of racing for all categories at Llandow Motor Racing Circuit this weekend. Sam’s JIF Princess of Wales Children’s Ward Charity Races saw riders compete from Under 8s through to Vets on the closed-circuit.
The first event of a packed day of racing was the Under 8s and Under 10s. Charlie Beckett Cardiff JIF got the jump on the others from the start of the five lap race, although this was short lived as the Under 10 riders picked the pace up as they hit the head wind section. Josh Tarling West Wales CRT came through as the strongest rider, away on his own after the second lap. Zoe Backstedt and Kyle Jones, both Maindy Flyers took up the chase with Fin Tarling West Wales CRT, Ethan Pratten and Joel Maclean-Howell leading the bunch. Josh soloed to a win and Zoe outsprinted Kyle for 2nd place. Fin won the Under 8s race and managed to stay with some very strong Under 10 riders.
The Under 12s race at Llandow is always a close run affair, as parents looked on there were no clear break-aways formed during the seven lap event, attacks were countered and the bunch stayed together for what was going to be an exciting sprint finish. Rhys Thomas won the Under 12 boys just in front of Ryan Phillips, with Emma Finucane winning the girls event just in front of Eluned King.
The Under 14 boys were pleased to have a week off racing against the Under 16s but this didn’t stop Matt Burke from Newport powering around most of the race alone to win by a lap. Owain Roberts beat his rival Sam Beckett this week for 2nd place with Joe Rees coming in just behind for 4th. In the girls event Niamh Jones sprinted in to win ahead of Fran Story.
The Under 16 race was the final youth race of the morning before the senior events started. From the gun the speeds were nearly as quick as the elite riders; attack after attack took its toll on the younger riders in this category. By lap five a diminished number of riders remained in serious contention for the boys win; Dan Coombe, Scott Pearce, Ethan Derrick, Will Roberts, Oli Postle and Brett Nethall. Georgina Bailey, Lowri Thomas, Megan Chard and Sophie Taylor battled it out for the girls.
Oli Postle grabbed the prime with five laps to go. As the riders came round the final corner into the tailwind section it looked like Oli was going to win, however Brett the stronger on day powered past his right hand side to steal a very well deserved win in a very close race. Lowri Thomas won the Under 16 girls event from Megan Chard after distancing herself from the other female leaders with a lap to go.
Next up was the 3rd and 4th Cat riders, with 70 lined up on the start it was looking like a very exciting race. An early leader was Sam Rees, Cardiff JIF who took off after 2 laps and stayed out on his own for nearly 10 before being slowly moving back to the shrinking bunch. 18 year old Dan Colman Forza Cycles took both primes, the second of which the organiser cruelly put on the bell lap. Dan didn’t bother to look back – Steven Roach and Adam King although chasing hard couldn’t bridge the small gap. Adam later said “He just kept the power on and as the bunch caught Steven and I, it hesitated and the gap grew”.
A lap later and Dan held off the 40 or so remaining field for a very happy win after two weeks of 2nd places. 1st year junior Hefin Evans Bynea CC powered ahead of the bunch for 2nd place and 18 year old Josh Burns Cardiff JIF came across the line in a clear 3rd.
This year has seen Women Only racing finally come to Llandow. Numbers are increasing and we have had a positive response. A wide variety in ability was always going to make for a tough race and it wasn’t long before Lowri Devey and Katie Curtis prized their way off the front of a splintering field. Whilst 1990’s Welsh Commonwealth Games legend Megan Backstedt, Janet Rees, Bethany Taylor and others organised a chase behind. Into the final straight Lowri and Katie were head to head and by the line Katie took a narrow win, the 1st of her season. Youngster Emily Haycox outsprinted Bethany Taylor and Megan for 3rd place. Organiser of the Café Velo Women’s Circuit Series Hannah Pole said “Its turning out to be a great idea and it’s so good to see so many ladies here today supporting the event – It’s Sunny too!”
This week saw the reintroduction of a Vets only event, With a large number of on form Vets this was always going to be a tough race. NFTO Race Team maintained a constant presence on the front and kept the attacks coming from the beginning. Gordon Pack, Mick Ballatyne and Si Cox had the race strung out. Riders were going out the back every time the race hit the head cross wind back straight. John Holt added to the pressure with a series of vicious assaults on a shrinking bunch but each time Richard Harris Cwmcarn Paragaon and the NFTO trio brought him back. Eventually a small break of five went clear, these included John and Richard as well as Welsh Vet Crit Champion Matthew Beckett, team mate Courtney Rowe and Nick Beale but this wasn’t long lived as remnants of the field made their way across. On the bell lap Mick Ballentyne led from Beckett with Rowe glued to his wheel and the others lined out behind. In the head wind Holt attacked and Beckett sensing the danger moved across to him with Rowe the JIF sprinter still on his wheel…Coming into the final bend Beckett hit the front, and it looked like a well planned JIF win for Rowe, but Rowe mis-changed his gears and dropped his chain onto the small chain ring, Beckett hesitated almost waiting for his team mate and Harris and Holt leapt pass. Holt getting the better of the Cwmcarn rider this time for an impressive win, Rowe managed to hang on for 3rd closely followed by Nick Beale, Gordon Pack and Si Cox with Rupert Beale bringing home the rest of the bunch in 7th Place.
E123, Round One of the annual Chopper Trophy last year won by James ‘Tank’ Lewis. A number of elite riders were on team duty at the Jock Wadley, however this didn’t dampen spirits as a beautiful day made for enthusiastic racing.
Ben Simmons Wiggle and Dan Davies were early attackers with the field strung out behind like a stretching rubber band. The elastic however didn’t snap early on and no clear breakaway could get established. On lap six, Matthew Beckett sensing a lull took off alone, the bunch appeared to come to a standstill and Beckett opened up a third of a lap gap very quickly, much to the amusement and shouts of his supporters. After winning the 1st Prime however the Vet rider appeared to sit up and wait, but as Justin Harcourt Urban Cyclery joined him the pace at the front picked up again. Two laps later and 25 minutes into the race it was all back together again. John Holt attacked alone, followed by eight other riders including his son Joe, Andy Hoskins, Steve Williams, Paul Jones, Craig Seaman, Zach May, and 3rd cat race winner Dan Colman. Dan Davies sensing the danger was the last man across. Things remained the same for five laps, ten off the front and various chasers behind, including Beckett alone somewhere between the two. On the bell Ben Simmons put in a vicious attack that only Dan Davies and John Holt could follow, with half a lap remaining the front 10 came back together again. A sprint finish was on the cards, with two team mates in the break Joe was always going to benefit from a good lead out although Andy Hoskins from the promoting club Cardiff JIF ran him very close indeed.
Race promoter Sam Beckett, who broke his femur last summer after a collision with a pothole and a car outside Llandow was pleased with the day: “Everyone enjoyed themselves, we had brilliant weather to match the brilliant racing, and we think we’ve raised £400 for The Princess of Wales Children’s Ward. I’d just like to thank everyone for coming along and supporting my event – including a special mention to my Mum and commissaire Chris Landon who with a little help from some great club mates did most of the hard work today! I hope to see everyone again in two weeks’ time for round two.”