Every time we go racing at Croft it is different; it’s the same circuit but it is very exposed so the direction and strength of the wind make a big difference to the character of the race. Today the Category 4 race was first when the wind was strongest. No one wanted to do the work at the front, so the peloton stayed pretty close together using each other to shelter from the wind. This close proximity combined with lack of sufficient attention caused a couple of crashes; none of our team were involved but the first crash did cause me (and quite a few others) to have to slow down that much that we were never going to be able to regain contact with the peloton in that wind. Nick, Chris Johnson and Michael kept going until the next crash where Michael suffered a similar fate to me. There was then a rare event in a cat 4 race, a successful escape was made by six riders, which stuck until the end. Chris and Nick were still in it though to challenge for the minor places. Out of the main peloton, Nick came over the line 5th, making him 11th overall. Although it may have been disappointing to be so close to the points it was a fantastic effort for a first go at racing. With a bit more experience I think we will be seeing a lot more from Nick.
Liz has posted a separate account of the ladies race on the Facebook page, so I will move on to the E1234 race which featured Danny Murray and Chris Wilson. This had fewer entrants today than usual which made for fewer hiding places against the wind. With fewer hiding places, the wind played a massive part in the race, the cat 3’s quickly caught the much smaller group of cat 4’s, and then the main group quickly fragmented into several smaller groups. Eventually it ended up with two riders out in front on their own, followed by a group of eight who in turn were followed by a group of five which included the in from Chris Wilson. These groups stayed together until the end, and although Chris annihilated the other riders in his group on the sprint into the wind to the line, he too finished up in 11th place.
As ever, it was a great day out. Well done to the debutantes for having a go, and congratulations to Chris and Nick for very creditable performances.
Love the photo of Richard Sharpe (the event photographer) with Danny and Chris.