Racing correspondent Jez Hewitt writes…
Let’s be frank: May was a fantastic month. Our men’s and ladies’ teams landed some super results, had tons of fun and are developing great team mentalities with riders looking out for each other in the bunch.
Starting with our Cat 4 men, Harri James secured 3rd in the VC Ventana cat 4 crit. A week later, he went one better, landing 2nd in Thruxton crit, chased home closely by James Pittard in 4th, with both timing their sprint finishes beautifully and securing promotion to cat 3 for their efforts. The following week at Thruxton, Grant Goodall rode a typically solid race, placing 6th and putting himself on the verge of promotion to cat 3 too.
Jared Jedynowicz and Simon Kelly also secured top 15 finishes in cat 4 crits. It won’t be long until they’re in the top 10 in their first seasons of road racing.
Turning to Cat 3/4 men’s races, James Pittard finished 7th in the DPCC ORRL road race with notable rides by Dan Atkins (chasing back on after unluckily getting caught behind a crash) and Rob Dyke (quick thinking on the run-in, after spending a LOT of time controlling the pack’s pace, to give James an impromptu lead-out).
In the next ORRL race at Arncott, James got in the early break and spent most of the race off the front before being caught in the closing stages. This allowed Martin Stanley to conserve his energy in the bunch and then bag an impressive 4th place, the club’s best result in a men’s Cat 3 race for a few years; this strategy was straight out of club legend Nick Druce’s playbook and was ‘coincidentally’ deployed just after he kindly agreed to be the team’s directeur sportif…
Stan also recorded bunch finishes two cat 2/3 races a Thruxton at average speeds of 27 mph and 28 mph! Racing against cat 2s is a big step-up, so these were cracking rides.
Not to be outdone by the men, Olivia Bentley bagged a podium (3rd) in the Bovington Bomber cat 3/4 crit with Clare Hoffman finishing 11th in her first ever race. Lucy Austin then maintained her 100% podium strike rate with a 2nd place in the Verulam ReallyMoving RR. My sources tell me that Lucy was finishing faster than the winner (who has recently seen the light and now rides 2nd claim for DPCC) and could have gone one better had the line not come a little too soon!
Back at Thruxton, Olivia, Clare and Laura Pittard recorded strong finishes in a couple of all-category crits: that’s right, they were mixing it with elite, cat 1 and 2 riders! In the process, they displayed some fine team work, including stints riding as a 3-up to chase a break. These were really strong rides as ladies’ racing can be more aggressive than men’s; smaller field sizes mean fewer opportunities to gain shelter/hide in the bunch, particularly when the pace is hell for leather from the outset!
So, well done to all our road racers. I can’t wait to see what June has in store…
*DPCC wish to remain politically neutral at this charged time.
A message from our Club President – Tim Davies…
A big thanks to Simon Evans and David Emms for organising two great races this weekend. Thanks also to the comms, the motorbike squad, the accredited marshals, including a big group from Mickey Cranks and the rest of the marshals. Finally thanks to the riders for coming – we hope you enjoyed the racing.
Well done Phoenix – we can be proud of ourselves today. Next up TTs and audax – get involved.
Oxfordshire Road Racing League Rd 2 – Organised by David Emms
Photos by Richard Gildea:
DPCC Ridgeway Spring Classic – Organised by Simon Evans
Photos by Richard Gildea:
Racing correspondent Jez Hewitt writes…
Some people describe road racing as “chess on wheels” because you face a plethora of potential moves by your opponents and need to think several moves ahead to cover all eventualities. At the same time, you must constantly reassess your strategy, sometimes in a split-second, depending on what your opponents throw at you. This combination of mind and body is what makes road racing so alluring to so many, even when the best laid plans don’t work out…
Well our Grandmasters’ plans are generally working out, so much so that this time last month DPCC was one of the top 10 clubs nationally!*
Starting with our 4th cats, Martin Stanley “captured” his 3rd cat licence with another podium – a 2nd place in a Milton Keynes crit – after deploying his fave top-secret strategy very nicely. Grant Goodall and James Pittard also “checked” in with further top 10 finishes, carrying through their good form from February.
Turning to our 3rd cats, Anthony Atkin recorded a strong finish in the Spring Chicken RR and was unluckily caught behind a crash after doing everything right in the Lovello RR; sometimes bad luck trumps even the best-laid plans!
Jez Hewitt knows this, having punctured 10 minutes into in the Spring Chicken. He then finished 18th in the Cat 3 Karbona Circuit Race, ruing a poor split-second decision in the final kilometre which cost him a certain top-10 finish. Next time…
Our racers are now building towards the DPCC road race on Saturday 13 May, and the rest of the ORRL series, with Anthony and Martin contesting their final prep race – the Thames Velo RR – this weekend.
*at the time of writing, this had changed a little
Racing Correspondent Jez Hewitt writes…
In road racing, sometimes you’re the hammer and sometimes you’re the nail. The early season results are in and DPCC certainly has more hammers than it does nails.
Eleven club members raced in one/more of the OTRT Winter Series at Dalton Barracks. Notable successes were: a winner (Martin Stanley) and a fifth (Grant Goodall in his first ever road race) in the cat 4 men and a 2nd place (Lucy Austin – in her maiden race) in the cat 2/3/4 women.
Top 10 finishes beckon for Harri “3 puncture” James and Simon Kelly after strong rides in cat 4 races.
In the cat 2/3/4 men’s races, despite being surrounded by 2nd cats, including several ex-1st and elite cat riders, Anthony Atkin and Jez Hewitt recorded solid bunch finishes and an unlucky late crash robbed Paul Solerti of a bunch placing after a similarly strong ride. Thankfully, Paul and his VERY flashy bike are both OK.
Lastly, James Pittard continued his good form, dodged several crashes and secured an excellent 8th in a 4th cat crit at Milton Keynes this Saturday. This came a week after the Dalton peloton thwarted his brave, late solo attack and caught him in the final 100m so again, more points are in the post.
Watch this space for updates: in upcoming weeks members are racing in Buckingham and Milton Keynes (and probably a few others) before the ORRL series starts – with the DPCC race – on 13 May.
Congratulations to Martin ‘Stan’ Stanley,
who has just won the gentlemen’s 4th cat race at Dalton Barracks. Yay! Social media suggests that he might be about to fritter his winnings away on a crafty half or two: and why not?
Lucy, who only started cycling ‘properly’ six months ago, stormed to second place in the OTRT women’s cat 234 crit race on 11 February. Credit also to her trusty domestiques, Karla (Corley Cycles) and Olivia (Twickenham CC) – particularly to Olivia, who raced even though she’s been suffering from goo on the lungs.
Entries are still open for the remaining two events in the series (ladies, any takers?), and a quick skim of the entry lists reveals that Anthony, Grant, Harri, James, Neil, Simon K and Stan will be in action in the men’s races on the 25th.
Meanwhile, Annabel is putting in the miles in preparation for another long-haul adventure. She’ll be spending March 9th – 14th riding 1,452km from London to Cannes. Turns out you can also get there in 2 hours on easyjet, but this way, Annabel saves herself the massive faff of airport security AND confirms her status as a legend.
On Saturday 14th May, DPCC will be hosting 2 road races:
First off is the Oxfordshire Road Race League (ORRL) round 1 starting at 09:30
Followed by the Ridgeway Spring Classic at 13:30
Both races will utilise the Great Shefford course (see here for a map of the race circuit), with many DPCC members volunteering their time to help host these prestigious events. Even if you are not helping on the day it would be great for club members, and friends of DPCC to come and show their support for what is planned to be a great day of racing.