It was during lap 4 of 7 when the winning break went. A group of 6 riders getting clear. Owen missed the break and with the bunch refusing to chase he bided his time before bridging across to the lead group at the start of lap 6. The pressure was on in the front group and on the final lap this pressure told as 3 riders went clear including Owen. Cheered home by the watching ladies team Owen came across the line in 3rd place gaining sufficient points to obtain his 3rd Cat licence.
James Anderson was one of a number of riders unfortunate to puncture and Mark Smart who continues to improve and learn about racing had his best Elveden performance to date.
It was lap 3 before the first action happened with the bunch splitting on the small climb. Beth and Erica were the right side of the split with Lou and Jen in the second group. Despite a big effort from Lou to get across to the front group that was the way it was to remain for the rest of the race.
Once the two groups had formed the gap grew as Lou and Jen disrupted any chase to ensure Beth and Erica’s group of eight stayed away. The front group remained together until 2 laps to go when Tanya Griffiths (Ipswich) who has been racing the womens tour series attacked and went clear to take a solo victory. Behind her the remaining riders sprinted for second place. Beth and Erica worked together and positioned themselves well with Beth opening up the sprint. In a very tight and exciting finish Beth held on by about 10cm to beat the Cat 2 Wyndymilla rider to take 2nd place. Erica came in 7th.
With the top 8 places taken the second group were fighting for the last two remaining points positions. Both Lou and Jen put in good sprints but unfortunately were just outside the points in 11th and 12th.
The results for Beth and Erica both mean they have achieved one of their seasons goals and have been promoted to 3rd Cat.
The 12 lap race started typically enough with some cagey riding on the first lap – riders mostly watching each other to see who would try to make a break happen. A couple of attempts were made, but nothing came of them.
On the back straight of the second lap Glyn successfully attempted a chip off the front of the group and created a gap of a hundred yards before being joined by Hugo Robinson of Ipswich. The pair kept a reasonable gap off the front of the bunch for the next couple of laps without ever looking like they would really get away.
But when 2 additional riders bridged across, the fresh impetus from the additional riders meant that the gap back to the main bunch now grew to something more significant. This group of 4 worked well together as they sought to increase their advantage.
With about 4 laps to go, a further 4 riders joined the group of escapees swelling the numbers to 8. Now the dynamic changed with 2 riders from Ipswich and 2 from St. Ives. The pace was kept high, but work wasn’t being shared out as evenly. This was exacerbated the closer the finish line got and in the final lap, the breakaway riders were confident that the gap back to the bunch was sufficient to start missing turns.
Despite a couple of failed attacks to separate the group on the last lap, the group of 8 turned the last corner onto the finishing drag as one group. Ipswich rider Phil Hetzel started to wind the sprint up for his team-mate Hugo; but with 150m to go Tom Neale and Jamie Caldwell got the jump on the rest of the bunch and slipped up the right hand side of the track to bag 1st and 2nd place respectively. Meanwhile, Glyn had cannily (his choice of word) followed Jamie’s wheel and managed to outsprint the rest of the breakaway bunch for a creditable 3rd place.