At 1:15pm on Saturday afternoon Jake, Kye, Joel and myself set off from Abbrook, firstly to pick up Tom from Taunton services and then onto Milton Keynes, to ride the Bath road Club national junior series. We arrived at around 5pm and went for an hour’s ride around the course, which was very fast and mainly flat with a half mile drag to the finish. We then went straight to the accommodation which was brilliant and Jake cooked us up some pasta and chicken, before we headed off to bed.
After a good night’s sleep and a decent breakfast we headed off at 9am to the race which was only about 30 minutes away from our accommodation. The race distance of 71 miles was a longer distance than the other nationals we’d done this year. After getting changed and a decent warm up we took to the line for the start. The race started very quick with people eager to get off the front, and at the end of the first lap a strong group of 4 was off the front;
Series leader Jake Kelly (Isle of Man), National champion Chris Lawless (Kuota-Spinergy), Hatherleigh Road Race winner Scott Davies (Liverpool Mercury) and James King (Team Sportscover). However the 2nd lap was very eventful with two big crashes which meant the race had to be stopped for 10 minutes with one rider being hospitalized. The dangerous nature of the course led to riders having to ride over the white line which subsequently led to several disqualifications. However the race was then re-started and during the confusion two breakaways had established; the two leaders were Chris Lawless and Matt Gibson (Velocity WD-40) with 3 chasers 30 seconds behind and the bunch a further 25 seconds behind them.
Unfortunately due to getting stuck behind both of the crashes and having to chase back on, Kye had dropped off the bunch. The pace was very high early on, averaging 27mph, which made it very hard for us to move up. On the third lap 3 more riders had joined the other 3 chasers to make up a group of 6 but they were now a minute and a half behind the leading duo. Tom then made a big effort to bridge across to the chasers and was away on his own for a couple of laps but with just over a lap to go all the chasers were caught by the bunch and with a lap to go there were only two riders away with 43 seconds lead on the bunch. However on the drag up to the finish Lawless had distanced Gibson leaving Lawless on his own. Lawless timed his attack to perfection and stayed away, winning solo by over a minute. With Tom, Joel and myself all finishing in the bunch.
All in all it was a brilliant weekend and a great experience. Thanks to Jake Durant who took us up to Milton Keynes, Helen Baylis for booking the accommodation, Roly at Exeter roof racks for supplying the team with an excellent Race Team THULE roof rack system, Mid Devon CC for their continued support throughout the year and Simon Aske at Colin Lewis Cycles for supplying our Giant TCR bikes.