Today was the first race of the year for the VSCC race team. We had two new faces turn out for the cat 4 race at Croft, Ben Webster and Chris Johnson along with me (Alec). The weather conditions were pretty good for the time of year, hardly any wind, dry, but cold. The track was OK apart from being muddy in a few of the corners.
The race started and the three of us got rolling, there was quite a big turn out because of the good conditions, which made the first few corners interesting :-/ The second lap brought an end to the race for me when I got stuck behind a crash and lost a lot of ground on the peloton. Fortunately, Chris and Ben weren’t held up and kept going. I watched the reminder of the race unfold from the pit lane, and it was clear Ben and Chris were holding their own, staying in the thick of things whilst following advice about how to stay safe. The final lap came up and Chris and Ben remained right up there in the bunch; Ben finished in around 15th and Chris close behind in about 20th. Excellent results for their first races, and with the learning and experience that they have gained I expect they will both be up in the points very soon.
Following the successful performances from our first timers in the 4th Cat race, Danny Murray and Chris Wilson lined up at the start of the E1234 race along with around 60 other riders. Both were eager to get going, although Danny was coming into the race with a sense of trepidation as to how his fitness was going to hold up following a Xmas and New Year spent in warmer climates, not riding his bike! A few tips on some slippery sections of the track from the riders in the earlier race and a track inspection during their warm up gave them a good idea of the lines to take when the race got going.
A brisk start to the race had the 3rd Cat riders catch the 4th Cats within a few laps. After that the race stayed together, only splitting briefly when a few riders sprinted off the front to contest the five lap prime. There were attacks here and there but attacking riders didn’t get any more than a few meters ahead of the bunch before being reeled in. With a couple of laps to go the 3rd and 4th Cats were joined by the stronger chasing E12 riders to toughen the competition in the closing stages. Still, the bunch stayed together and it came down to a quick final lap and sprint finish.
Chris came into the long home straight in about 20th place, holding the wheel of a couple of riders ahead before finding some space to the walled side of the track and opening up a full sprint to take 7th place. Danny’s fitness held up well and he crossed the line comfortably in the bunch. A successful start to the season all round.