Published: 28 March
Words and Pictures: Matt Beckett
Under 10’s braved the hail storm! But the Sun shone on the rest.
The 1st event of a packed day of racing was the under 8’s, and it was great to see enough riders to have a separate and competitive race. As they left the start line Charlie Beckett took off like a mad man, with the others in hot pursuit, Oliver Burgoyne, Tilly Hastings, Lllia Wood and Ilan Dafydd (age 5). By the end of the 1st full lap of Llandow Charlie and Oliver were taking turns to lead the others, Tilly and Lillia were having a battle for the girls race and youngster Ilan was all smiles into the head wind. By the end of the last lap though Charlie had spent all his pennies, Oliver crossed the line with an impressive sprint for a deserved win and although he was 2nd the young Beckett did punch the air with delight seemingly pleased with his performance. Tilly managed to shake off Lillia to win the girls race and Ilan clearly is one to watch out for in the future.
The wind picked up, the clouds darkened, the under 10’s lined up – tough cookies, brave too…. A lap into the race the hail fell, many senior riders at this point pull out, they stop, they moan worried their carbon may be damaged or dented… Not this bunch however, on they went, like a brutal chaingang in northern conditions.
All of these guys and girls need a mention regardless of who won. But Iolo Dafydd lead in alone to win the boys race and Bethany Bennett lead home the girls.
The U12 race at Llandow is always a close run affair, however lower numbers than usual showed their faces. At the end of a windy 6 laps Guto Dafydd beat Joe Nethall for the win in the boys race and Eluned King beat Dani Parker in the girls event.
The Under 14 boys were pleased to have another week off racing against the U16’s. And like last time the mini Tank Matt Burke attacked the race from the gun, Initially Oscar Mingay and Sam Beckett were the only two in the field who stayed with him but by mid distance Sam had dropped off the pace by 50 metres leaving only climber Oscar left to battle it out with sprinter Burke. Things remained like this with Burke and Oscar sharing the front, Sam chasing alone and although not loosing anymore ground he wasn’t making any either. In the end though it was a sprinters course with a sprinter to win, Oscar conceded defeat as the final corner came, Sam rolled across alone for another 3rd place. Joe Rees and Ryan Pike lead in the rest in 4th and 5th respectively.
The U14 girls was a close affair, with three clearly coming out on top – Niamh Jones winning from Fran Story and Ellie Shaw.
The under 16 race was the final kids race of the morning before the senior events started. The pace as with previous weeks races looked fast, especially past the mums and dads…. One senior rider was overheard saying he wasn’t looking forward to them boys and girls getting enough points to ride up in the summer! - Brett Nethell again taking the victory with Rhys Britton and Will Roberts close behind, Oli, Elliot and James were all in it to win it.
The U16 girls race was run off in a similar manner, the favourites tearing around lap after lap at what appeared to be a vicious pace, in the end it was Jessica Roberts who took the sprint form Sophie Williams and Emily Tillet, with Georgia Bailey and Catlin Shaw also within a stones throw of the win.
All the youth riders again only paying £1.50 entry fee, which is a very generous gesture by the promoting Cardiff JIF cycling club and event organiser Sam Beckett.
3rd and 4th Cat
Next up was the 3rd and 4th Cat riders, with a smaller than usual 51 lined up on the start it was looking like a very exciting race. 18 year old Dan Colman Forza Cycles took both primes as he did two weeks ago, however unlike the previous event he didn’t have it all his own way. Many tried including 1st year vet rider Stuart Meek, who took off on a 2 lap lone attack early one, next off the front was his Cardiff JIF club mate Tom Ashford but again after a short amount of freedom he was reeled back in by the bunch. Speeds remained high with Cardiff Ajax and others consistently nullifying attacks. With a lap and a half remaining Cardiff Cyclocross legend Adam King found himself alone off the front, it wasn’t much of a lead bunch as the bell rang the bunch hesitated and King sensing the opportunity pushed on. As the field came down the back of the course one rider broke out from the bunch, was King going to be caught? Coming into the finishing straight King was up and sprinting for all he was worth, Ioan Smallwood was gaining fast… with Dan Coleman leading the bunch. This was how it stayed as King Cardiff JIF supporters screamed at him he crossed the line a victor – his 1st win on the road and a tough way to do it to. Coleman 3rd held off Andrew Parry 4th, Rhys Williams 5th and Jordan Wade Swansea Uni 6th – Josh Burns 7th, Jonathan Gates 8th, Zac Minto 9th, Gareth Hodgson 10th and Rhodi Evans 11th just missing out on the ranking points.
This year has seen Ladies only racing finally come to Llandow and again a very positive response, nearly 20 riders lined up on the start line!
As with previous Café Velo rounds a wide variety in ability and windy conditions was always going to make for a tough race and it wasn’t long before the race split into smaller groups. 1st category riders Amy Hill and Lowri Devey made the front group, as did U16 rider Jessica Roberts and previous rounds winner Katie Curtis riding for her new team. A small distance behind followed another talented group including promoting clubs Janet Rees, Emily Haycox, Megan Backstedt, Alex Willey and Steph Post amongst others. The 4 leaders working well but their gap never grew to a comfortable margin. Into the final lap the gap had actually closed, it appeared almost breachable. Down the back straight for a moment it looked like it was coming back together. An exciting sprint was on the cards.. Into the headwind led Amy Hill, but the others came past, Lowri on the right, Jess on the left and as they faded to the finishing line Katie Curtis squeezed herself through the middle for another well timed win! Jess held onto to 2nd place and Lowri found herself in the unusual position of 3rd.
This week saw the 2nd Vets only event of the season, With a large number of on form Vets this was always going to be a tough race. NFTO race team having the strength in numbers were looking a tough team to beat. World Master Track Champion Gerry Bowditch though wasn’t keen to let them have it all their way and with the Beale brothers, John Holt, Richard Harris and a slimmed down JIF Squad it look made for interesting racing. After 2 laps of being strung out by Forza Cycles Mark Hier Graeme Boswell Cardiff Ajax decided to attack, taking with him Bowditch and one of the NFTO riders. A lap later Matt Beckett had bought the 3 back, a canny counter attack from an in form Jon Holt upped the pace further and split the field. But as the pace again settled at the front things can back together again. Bowditch took both primes before going clear with Jon Wood (NFTO Race Boss). Two laps later Beckett bridged the gap alone and the three were off, Beckett and Bowditch doing the longer turns.
Wood was clearly playing clever and let the two younger Vets get on with trying to out do each other… On the bell lap Beckett attacked but Bowditch clearly wanting a result went straight after him, Beckett went again and this time Wood got his wheel. Down the back straight it looked like Bowditch was in the perfect position, as Beckett eased and swung up Wood took his chance and put in a big attack, both Beckett and Bowditch hesitated, Beckett then jumped but unshipped his chain and Bowditch gave chase as the remains of the bunch led by Holt got very close. As Wood took the final corner he knew he had his 1st win of the season in the bag. Bowditch came in 2nd and Beckett passed by the remains of the field ended up in a frustrated 11th place.
Round Two of the annual Chopper Trophy. With Joe Holt absent at the National Junior Cadence Race it was left to his father to attempt the win with a smaller County Cycles Team, Other riders including an inform Andy Hoskins Cardiff JIF, Ben Simmons Wiggle/Tan salon racing team, Ed Laverack Rapha Condor, Huw Wilson NFTO UCI team, Welsh Cyclocross Legend Lee Williams and World Master Track Champion Gerry Bowditch weren’t going to allow Holt much room for escape. The 1st major move of the race saw Wilson NFTO disappear with Twickenhams Iain Palmer, 2 laps later they were bought back before Laverack, Hoskins and Harcourt broke clear. Lee Williams very active with chipping away at the gaps created.
The pace continued to rise, and the field stretched out lap after lap like a rubber band at yield point. Elite Riders Laverack and Wilson continually upped the pace in the cross tailwind back straight as many who came to conquer failed packed and went home – the 1st major surprise being youngster Zach May - Metaltec, others followed soon after including experienced and canny Vet Rider Ritchie Harris also finding the pace too much. As the pace lifted gaps appeared and two small groups left the others behind. The front quartet compromising of Laverack, Wilson, Holt and Beckett Cardiff JIF.. Behind these were Williams, Simmons, Palmer and Andy Hoskins also Cardiff JIF. Things stayed the same for lap after lap, the front four pulling away as they worked well together from the other four. However as the lap board showed three to go there was a slow down, Beckett suffering from cramp stopped working, Laverack watching Wlison like a hawk, Holt like Beckett clearly tired after already competing in the Vets race before hand. On the bell lap things looked like they were coming back together for an eight rider sprint finish, however Wilson had other ideas, as Laverack changed his focus to Beckett and Holt Wilson took off, Laverack hesitated, almost waiting to see what the others had. Holt shrugged as a sign of being spent – Beckett tried to go across the gap but Laverack was on him, behind the bunch had closed in on the chase four, the chase four were a hairs breadth from Holt, Beckett cramping was passed by first Laverack and then Holt, Wilson hung on out there to take a well deserved win, Laverack was noticeably annoyed at himself for waiting and marking riders twice his age. Simmons also passed Beckett taking 4th followed by Hoskins 5th Williams 6th and Palmer 7th. Experienced rider Jason Streather said afterwards “That was way harder than Castle Coombe – I’ll be back for more – A great circuit and seriously aggressive riding from some very decent competition”
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 hope we’ve raised another good wedge for The Princess of Wales Childrens Ward… I’d just like to thank everyone for coming along and supporting my event – including a special mention to my Mum, Andy Jeanes, Andy Hoskins, Janet Rees and commissaries Kay Ball and Anne Russell who with a little help from Stuart Meek did most of the hard work today! It was great to see some fantastic local elite riders turning up to support the event.