Racing Round Up

The club’s road racers have started their seasons in some tough conditions, with Matt Elmore and George Radcliffe racing at Middlesborough, and Harry Hunt racing in the Eddie Soen’s at Aintree.  I’ll let them tell more in their own words.

Matt Elmore, 7th Place U14.
The visibility was good but there was a bit of a strong wind on the 
finishing straight. There was a big field today as there was also the 
under 16 girls and boys. Before the race I was really nervous and tense 
because it was my first race this year and I didn’t know how it would 
pan out. When the race started a group of under 16s broke away and some 
of the under 14s tried to catch on but the main group (which I was in) 
soon caught  them up. Most of the race I was trying to make a breakaway 
because I knew that on the last lap I can get edgy and I mess up my 
sprints.  I  tried several attacks but when they didn’t work I should 
have dropped to the back to recover like Chris had said, instead of 
staying at the front. Overall I felt really strong today and found it 
quite easy coping with attacks and the winter training and the team 
rides helped with that.

George Radcliffe, 3rd Place U16.
Strong winds meant the race was blown to pieces right from the start 
with a split forming within the first half a lap.  After a brief chase, 
as I’d been boxed in when the split occurred, I joined four other riders 
in the break.  We worked together for several laps taking short turns on 
the front before Matty Wells (one of my break away companions from last 
week) attacked and got a brief gap before I closed it around a lap 
later.  That left only three of us in the break; Matty, team-mate Dexter 
Leaming-Sykes and myself.  With four laps to go Matty attacked again, 
this time with success and managed to solo to victory whilst me and 
Dexter continued to work together in a failed attempt to reel him in.  
As we received the bell I made an attempt to shake Dexter off my tail 
but we ended up coming round the final corner together where I was just 
out sprinted and took a very close third.  An Otley two, three and my 
second podium as many weeks; it’s shaping up to be a good season.

Harry Hunt, 37th overall

The 58th edition of the Eddie Soens Memorial Cycle Race held at Aintree Racecourse is an early season classic for the North West attended by a few British Continental teams.  

This year the weather was a bitter sweet with 40mph winds for the entire race but luckily the forecasted rain missed us completely. My target for the race was top 50 based on previous years results (2017-73rd and 2018-84th). 

The wind caused carnage within the peloton as each lap turning into it caused an almost standstill in which it was a struggle to do 15mph. I spent the first half of the race trying to stay nearer the front and out of trouble. Then after around 30 miles of racing fatigue was showing and a few strong groups managed to ride away, a HMT rider and I tried to chase one of them but the gap was already to big. 

I decided to save myself and try get a good position from the bunch sprint. Then with 1 lap to go a rider tried to get away from the bunch and I went with them but I soon gave up in the headwind and slotted back into the group to position myself for the sprint. I was on the inside coming to the last corner which is a long right hander and a lot of riders moved up on the outside but coming into the finishing straight I sprinted past most of them for a top 10 in the bunch kick and 37th overall. 
After a slightly more aggressive race then I’d planned (especially in that wind) I came away with a result much better than I was expecting. 
Big thanks to my soigneur and sister Eleanor for coming along to help and all the support from the team. It’s looking like a great year already.