Road Racing Round-Up: The Month Between April and June*
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.