Busy racing Saturday for Otley members

Spring won’t be sprung until 20th March – seasonal pedants, see the Met Office website, we’re going with the latter date – but the fact that it’s still winter didn’t deter members from putting on their race faces and donning their racing gear at the weekend in both road races and time trials.

Liam Mealey kicked things off in Wakefield, riding in a circuit race. As well as riding the event, then supporting partner Helen Goldthorpe in a team time trial later in the day – see below – Liam found time to write a report on his event. Road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross and now journalism, Liam’s obviously a man of many talents!

‘It was the very first race at the new Wakefield BKCAT Circuit; indeed the facilities for it are still being built. A 900m circuit with two hairpins, one on a slight bump, connected via a couple of sweeping bends to two longer straights. At a rather unappealing hour of 9.30 a bunch of cat4 racers lined up ready to go, glad at least the rain forecast in the week wasn’t evident and only a couple of slightly slippy patches remained. Bizarrely the race didn’t go off at light-speed, and for a few laps I was embedded in the bunch. After a short while though my lack of bunch sharpness told and I was in a small group a short way behind the main field, eventually getting lapped by the leaders. Though bizarrely this still felt much better than previous races and I improved as the race went on, so positive thoughts and all that, and onto the next race.’

Photographs courtesy of Helen Goldthorpe.


As mentioned, Liam then went to Beverley with Helen to support her and five other Otley CC members who were riding the City RC (Hull) 3-up 25-mile time trial on the V733 course. Helen was joined by Claire Jessop and Liz Hills to form the second of our team’s competing (and the only full women’s team in the event), the first Otley team, off 15 minutes earlier at 2.06 pm, consisting of Christine Bell, Rachel Crowther and Greg Jessop. Christine and Rachel obviously enjoy racing together and the added bonus is that they were able to assist Greg in keeping to the course.

The course was reminiscent of the Pool Triangle with changeable road surfaces and some long drags, the weather fortunately being fairly kind with a slight breeze and temperatures almost reaching double figures. Never having ridden a 3-up team time trial before, both teams acquitted themselves very well. As Liz commented, ‘Really exciting but HARD – whereas normally if you’re flagging you can ease off, when you’re doing it for your team mates you can’t give in’. Christine, Rachel and Greg finished in 1 hour, 16 minutes and 16 seconds, Claire, Liz and Helen almost 3 minutes quicker in 1:13:34. The event was won by Anthony Bromley, Alastair Wareham and Joel Wainman of SSLL Racing Team in 51:53.

Thank you to Liam Mealey for some of the photographs.


Meanwhile, at the Aintree Motor Racing Circuit at the opposite side of the country, the Junior Race Team was mixing it with the big hitters.

The Eddie Soens Memorial Cycle Race is a handicap race held at Aintree early in the season named after former Merseyside cycling coach Eddie Soens who coached many top riders including Olympic and World Champion Chris Board2nd Cateman, Canadian World Champion Gordon Singleton, Olympic and World Championship rider and multi CTT champion Darryl Webster and former TI Raleigh professional Dave Lloyd.  Past winners have included Yorkshire’s Olympic Champion Ed Clancy OBE, Olympic medallist Rob Hayles and local Yorkshire rider Josh Edmundson.  The only woman so far to win the race was Julie Hill of Liverpool Mercury RC in 1991.

This year’s was the 56th edition of the race with almost 170 riders on the start list.  Otley Cycle Club Junior Race Team was represented in the 50-mile, 30 lap race by second category riders Tom Cullen and Robbie Pollard, and third category riders James Coates, Harry Hunt and Toby Kitching.  Held in dry conditions, the event was again won by Ed Clancy (JLT Condor) with teammate Jonathan Mould second and third place taken by Harry Tanfield of BIKE Channel Canyon.

Tom Cullen reported on teams Facebook page on the team’s progress in the race.  Again, a man of many talents!

‘Performance of the day has to go to Harry Hunt, after a years break from racing he’s trained hard over the winter months and impressively finished mid bunch in the 46 mile race which averaged a rapid 27.3mph! Good stuff Harry keep training hard and your results will only get better!

James Coates put in a solid ride to also finish mid bunch, good considering hes just building back from illness and had a minor mechanical mid race.

Tom Cullen also rode well, he sat in for most of the race before attacking out of the bunch to get a break going on 3 separate occasions in the last 7 laps. Unfortunately he couldn’t get anything to stick and was too far back in the 100 rider+ bunch sprint.

Toby Kitching unfortunately was caught up in a high speed crash in the first half of the race, these things happen sadly with the riders at such close proximity. Heal up Toby and you’ll be back strongly before you know it.

Robbie Pollard was top Otley rider on the day, with not perfect positioning going into the sprint he still manged to make up lots of ground and finish towards the front of the bunch. a solid result and a great start to the season for Robbie’.

Robbie was 49th, Tom 71st, Harry 73rd and James 90th.

The team is having fitness tests with Tom Murray to see how they’ve progressed over winter with their next big race being the Seacroft Wheeler’s Road Race on the 26th March

Full race report and results courtesy of velouk.net.

Thanks to Martin Pollard for the photographs.  Please direct any complaints about Tom’s dazzling leg-warmers directly to him!


Well done to all our weekend racers!