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Repeat winners dominate as the howling wind dictates the racing

The fight for the overall podium gets closer

Illi Gardner (Veloflow), Ed Gray (Uni of Bath) and Sean Townsend (VC Equipe/FlixOralHygiene/Propulse) all followed up wins in their previous Winter Series outings with commanding wins in Round Eight. The gusting wind was blowing strongly from the South West and this affected the racing on the twists and turns of Odd Down, with the racing becoming highly tactical in all three races.

Townsend had taken advantage of hesitation in the bunch to escape solo last week, but this week the main breakaway came early on, with Rob Hardyman (Forever Pedalling) forging 24 seconds ahead on his own. The bunch was always active, despite the breakaway establishing such a large lead, with the main favourites using the crosswind up the finish straight to put the whole field into the gutter. In the end, this pressure took its toll, with Townsend following up a surge from series leader Charlie Revell (Team Tor 2000 Kalas) to split the field into three groups with an effort that took a full two laps to pry open the gaps.

It was Townsend and Revell, along with Andrew Edwards (Bristol RC) and the diminutive Morgan Curle (Giant Halo) who made the front group, with Andrew White (Okehampton CC), John Russell (Bristol RC) and Adrian Reynolds (Somerset RC) trying to get across to the leaders as the bunch swung across the road, unable to hold the wheels. The chasing group got some support as Jared Linden (Royal Dean Forest CC), Tim Southcombe (Somerset RC) and Colin Smith (Army Cycling Union) bridged as well as Edwards who dropped back from the front to support second-overall Russell.

However, this support was not enough and even as more riders came across to join them, it was the group ahead that had begun building a lead. Hardyman was still up the road at this point, and he immediately sat up to tuck in with Revell, Townsend and Curle. As the finish approached, those who had missed out on the split started to make a last desperate charge into the wind to get across. First White and then Edwards burst away to try and rescue a high placing as the bunch ran out of firepower.

However, chasing four leaders was always going to be a tall order, and the spoils went to the front group, with Townsend taking the win by a clear margin from Hardyman who held on from his early escape to pip Revell by a wheel length. Curle had been towered over by the bigger riders throughout the escape and was not surprised to be outmuscled in the finale. Edwards and White held their positions in the gap between the groups and it was Southcombe who took the bunch kick ahead of Rob Borek (Forever Pedalling).

Revell’s presence in the winning move means that he pads out his advantage in the overall standings ahead of Russell to 37 points, with 100 remaining to be won. If Revell wins at Round 9 then Russell must finish on the podium or he will be unable to deny the Team Tor 2000 Kalas rider the overall victory at the final round. Hardyman was also a main beneficiary, climbing above White and into third place overall. Townsend has also climbed into the top 10 overall with his two wins in the last two rounds.

The women’s race has been brutally aggressive throughout the series, with the riders exploiting any opportunity to split the group. And with the wind howling, this race saw the toughest of the conditions, there was the potential for the same to happen this week. The racers were certainly up for it, once Meg Dickerson (Forever Pedalling) had launched the first dig early on, not a lap went by that one of the group tried to split the race.

The jumps typically came as the group passed the finish line, where there was a cross-headwind or with the cross-tailwind on the back straight. However, with the circuit turning into a headwind following these straights, attackers were immediately punished and reeled in at short order by the rest of the group.

Gardner has been at the very front of the races in the past four rounds, only being denied by Liv-Halo’s Lucy Gadd in Round 6. And with series leader Lauren Johnston (Avid Sport) not racing this week, this pair were the riders to watch. Neither of them was giving the other any room, and when Gardner put the rest of the race in the gutter midway though the race, Gadd did not hesitate in covering the move along with Dickerson and Molly Hodges (Avid Sport). With the front four all wary of their rivals, none would contribute to keeping this group clear, and this was the opportunity Lucy Driver (Forever Pedalling) and Emily Slavin (IRIS Race Team) needed to work their way back to the front of the race.

Perhaps this was Gardner’s opportunity to test the water, as with one lap to go she put the same move in again with no intention of slowing down this time. Gadd was the only rider able to respond to this move at first, but Dickerson dug in and got across, to make it a leading group of three. She tried to carry her momentum from the catch to immediately go clear of the other two, but the leading pair were alert to her attack.

Last time they raced together, Gadd got the better of Gardner at the finish, but Gardner’s jump was too powerful this time. She hugged the far right of the finish straight to provide no shelter for her rival and took another win to make it three wins from four races. With the top three overall not racing, this was Gardner’s opportunity to move up into joint second overall with Uni of Bristol’s Rebekah Nash. Gadd and Dickerson climb into the top ten overall whilst Hodges and Slavin closed in on fourth place overall.

The men’s 4th cat race started in cagey fashion, with the riders looking to avoid working in the wind. Chris Downham (Bristol RC) made the first move, pursued by Mark Hardyman (VC Walcot), but the pair were brought back before Ed Gray made a move. This was a surprise, as Gray had won at round 5 by playing a patient and tactical game, instead of showing his hand early as he was doing now. Despite the challenging conditions for soloists, Gray persevered, holding a steady gap of 14 seconds ahead of the group for the middle phase of the race.

It was an escape by Theo Brumhead (Bristol South CC) that triggered the peloton into life and brought Gray back into the fold as the race approached the final few laps. As the catch was made, Downham and Hardyman again tried to get clear by putting the pressure on into the crosswind on the finish straight and Nicholas Barks was the next to try this one lap later. However, this close to the finish, the bunch were not going to miss the opportunity for a sprint.

As the riders scrambled for shelter up the finish straight, Hardyman found himself sandwiched in the sprint and came down along with Ben Keenan (Veloton). Fortunately, both riders were able to pick themselves up and cross the finish line on foot. This all happened well behind Gray, who had again shown his powerful move late in the race to finish well clear of the rest of the group. David Cullen (Bristol South CC) was also well clear of the crash, coming in second ahead of Daniel Riggs (Corsley CC). His win takes Gray into an impressive 8th place in the overall standings, the highest placed 4th cat in the series.

Thanks to Jon Curle for the photos.

Round 8 Result:

Women E/1/2/3/4

Pos No. Forename Surname
1 2 Illi Gardner
2 1 Lucy Gadd
3 6 Megan Dickerson
4 5 Lucy Driver
5 3 Molly Hodges
6 4 Emily Slavin
7 7 Karen Spiteri

Men 4th Cat

Pos No. Forename Surname
1 6 Edward Gray
2 18 David Cullen
3 101 Daniel Riggs
4 5 Chris Downham
5 3 Theo Brumhead
6 14 David Bucknall
7 1 Nicholas Barks
8 16 Francis Eddells
9 17 Will Clarke
10 4 Matthew Carey
11 20 Ben Keenan
12 13 Matthew Skeats
13 15 Craig Buffry
14 21 Will Acworth
15 102 John Roberts
16 8 Mark Hardyman
17 19 James Saunders
18 10 Mark Reed
DNF 9 Winfield Harvey

Men 2/3

Pos No. Forename Surname
1 21 Sean Townsend
2 7 Rob Hardyman
3 14 Charlie Revell
4 5 Morgan Curle
5 6 Andrew Edwards
6 20 Andrew White
7 23 Tim Southcombe
8 3 Robert Borek
9 107 Colin Smith
10 16 John Russell
11 9 Mark Herbert
12 2 Oliver Beresford
13 25 Adrian Reynolds
14 101 Julian Lockwood
15 18 Benjamin Wainwright
16 10 Jared Linden
17 26 Jamie Atkins
18 19 Harry Tucker
19 22 Sam Gaskin
20 24 Kristian Bond
21 4 Steven Cottington
22 13 Will Perrin
23 8 William Hayes
24 15 Graeme Rout
DNF 1 Thomas Bass
DNF 12 David Mixell
DNF 27 Elliott Barratt

Overall Standings:

Women

First Name Surname Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7 Round 8 Total
Lauren Johnston 30 50 30 50 45 40 45 290
Rebekah Nash 25 45 25 35 30 35 195
Illi Gardner 50 45 50 50 195
Jenny Bolsom 50 15 40 25 25 14 169
Molly Hodges 15 35 20 45 20 30 165
Emily Slavin 13 45 30 15 25 25 153
Maria Powell 45 35 30 30 140
Lucy Gadd 50 50 100
Stephie Prince 25 1 30 35 91
Megan Dickerson 40 40 80
Elizabeth Pressage 20 50 70
Aimee Parsons 8 5 25 30 68
Elinor Spencer 40 25 65
Frances Bromley 20 40 60
Karen Spiteri 15 15 9 20 59
Olive Holliday 6 20 25 51
Kate Millard 3 6 20 20 49
Emily Walton 8 35 43
Charlotte Berry 40 40
Katherine Moore 9 15 13 37
Lucy Driver 35 35
Lucy Austin 30 30
Sally Crocker 4 4 15 23
Joanna Goodhead 5 2 15 22
Clare Hofmann 20 20
Sophie Barnes 9 8 17
Heidi Blunden 7 10 17
Deborah Sterling 1 14 15
Rebecca Gregson 14 14
Laura Pittard 13 13
Vanessa Royals 12 12
Charlotte Brass 12 12
Jo Edwards 11 11
Claire Lawrence 10 10
Claire Nott 10 10
Amy Dunwell 10 10
Laura Fenwick 10 10
Georgie Little 9 9
Sarah Crowther 1 1 7 9
Sue Allen 9 9
Sarah Durrant 8 8
Janet Horton 7 7
Sorrel Williams 7 7
Taegan Pomeroy 3 3
Victoria Jones 2 2
Hannah Cockerill 1 1
Emily Harford 1 1
Janet Horton 1 1

Men

First Name Surname Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7 Round 8 Total
Charlie Revell 50 50 50 30 40 40 260
John Russell 50 45 45 35 10 25 13 223
Rob Hardyman 15 35 14 20 25 35 45 189
Andrew White 30 30 45 25 15 25 170
Will Page 40 40 15 50 145
David Mixell 40 20 35 45 1 141
Tim Southcombe 15 15 12 40 14 20 116
Edward Gray 20 7 15 30 30 102
Sean Townsend 50 50 100
Jared Linden 30 25 30 7 92
Jamie Atkins 25 20 25 1 14 6 91
Colin Smith 25 20 30 14 89
Will Perrin 40 1 10 30 1 82
Thomas Bass 20 14 11 4 2 15 12 1 79
Jack Salvidge 14 30 11 13 68
Daniel Martin 30 25 8 63
Robert Borek 45 15 60
Samuel Gaskin 14 9 9 1 1 6 8 4 52
Elliot Barratt 8 2 15 25 1 51
James Phillips 50 50
James Dudden 35 13 48
Scott Fryer 35 6 7 48
Ben Osborne 20 25 1 46
Joe Peatson 11 35 46
Steve Beal 1 30 15 46
Daniel Riggs 1 1 1 5 9 1 8 20 46
Joe Twelvetrees 25 20 45
Nathan Hallett 45 45
Tavis Walker 45 45
Theo Brumhead 3 7 25 10 45
Steven Cottington 13 8 1 1 5 9 4 2 43
Seb Bernaert 20 20 40
Steve Brown 15 25 40
Corey Bale 40 40
Spencer Hardman 6 15 8 9 1 39
Marlin Barea 4 10 25 39
William Hayes 10 8 20 1 39
Andrew Edwards 8 30 38
Morgan Curle 35 35
Steven Whitehurst 14 20 34
Dave Cullen 5 4 25 34
Thomas Collins 30 30
Kyle Dovey 30 30
David Guy 30 30
Jamie Bray 12 6 11 29
Alex Ficke 9 10 10 29
Iain Duggan 25 1 1 27
Liam Cahill 5 13 7 25
Daniel Carr 13 12 25
Josh Griffiths 9 8 1 1 6 25
Adrian Reynolds 12 1 1 1 10 25
Will Clarke 8 1 9 6 24
Oliver Beresford 13 11 24
William Acworth 10 5 7 1 23
Benjamin Wainwright 1 3 10 8 22
Julian Lockwood 12 9 21
Chris Downham 6 15 21
Adam Robertson 13 7 20
Charlie Shields 20 20
Steven Curran 3 8 8 19
Simon Bishop 4 15 19
Harry Tucker 1 1 3 9 5 19
Richard Smith 8 3 6 17
Anthony Corke 15 1 1 17
Simon Starling 15 15
Peter Smith 1 1 6 7 15
Tom Allport 9 4 1 14
Thomas Grigson 10 4 14
Nicholas Barks 1 5 8 14
Ben Keenan 9 4 13
Nick Anderson 12 12
Daniel Soltys 11 1 12
Felix Young 11 1 12
Christopher Hill 9 3 12
Mark Hardyman 1 3 1 3 3 1 12
Mark Herbert 12 12
Thomas Ellis 11 11
Matthew Carey 6 5 11
George Creasey 10 10
Daniel Tyrie 9 1 10
Johnny Arcg 5 5 10
Steve Martin 10 10
George Bazeley 10 10
James McGough 10 10
Thomas Barlow 10 10
Daniel Maclean-Howell 9 9
Graeme Rout 6 1 1 1 9
David Bucknall 9 9
Stefan Barnett 4 3 1 8
Jamie Crump 8 8
Noel Charlton 3 5 8
Tom Moffat 1 7 8
Guy Tucker 7 1 8
Kristian Bond 5 3 8
Luke Churchus 7 7
Edward Jackson 7 7
Phil Walter 7 7
Christopher Owram 7 7
Thom Hayward 7 7
Matthew Skeats 1 1 1 1 3 7
Francis Eddells 7 7
Joel Thomas 6 6
Ian Hicks 6 6
Thomas Southey 5 1 6
Christopher Wright 6 6
James Pittard 1 5 6
Paul Culmstock 6 6
Si Potter 4 1 5
Thomas Price 1 4 5
Francis Eddolls 5 5
Mark Reed 1 1 1 1 1 5
Andy Butler 4 4
John Carter 4 4
Jonathan Oakley 3 1 4
Adrian Warren 3 1 4
Nigel Burton 1 1 1 1 4
James Saunders 1 1 1 1 4
Graham Townsend 1 2 3
James Kay 2 1 3
Chris Brennan 2 1 3
Paul Ashman 1 2 3
Richard Franklin 1 1 1 3
Luke Tregidgo 3 3
Michael Parkin-White 1 1 1 3
Winfield Harvey 1 1 1 3
Craig Buffry 1 2 3
David Gwynne 1 1 2
Jonathan Ashby 1 1 2
Luke Craddock 2 2
Charlie Kelly 1 1 2
Rowan Ellis 2 2
Alexander Atkins 1 1 2
Tom Turner 2 2
Jacques Coates 1 1 2
Thomas Harrington 1 1 2
George Beck 1 1 2
Peter Geaves 1 1 2
Thomas Parsons 1 1 2
Jonathan Oakey 2 2
David Stoyle 2 2
Robert Francis 1 1 2
Alex Joy 1 1 2
David Spreadbridge 1 1 2
Luke Tregipgo 2 2
Thomas Batchelor 2 2
Martin Andrews 1 1
Jack Enright 1 1
Jeremy Bigg 1 1
Alan Adams 1 1
Paul Watkins 1 1
Joanathan Ashby 1 1
Chris Parry 1 1
Michael Banfield 1 1
Alex Williams 1 1
Joel Thomas 1 1
James Barber 1 1
Saxon Ridley 1 1
Dareen Hayter 1 1
Jason Holder 1 1
Christopher Chapman 1 1
Robert McEwen 1 1
Charlie Peach 1 1
Hamilton Palmer 1 1
Tom Coombe 1 1
Luke Rogers 1 1
Thomas King 1 1
Alex Faux 1 1
Jordan Wintle 1 1
Sam Whitehead 1 1
Ross Mahoney 1 1
Luke Justin 1 1
Chris Deane 1 1
Andy Duggan 1 1
Harvey Winfield 1 1
Joe Colley 1 1
Rhys Flint 1 1
Andrew Kirby 1 1
Peter Burrows 1 1
David Pleming 1 1
Wayne Reeks 1 1
George Edwards 1 1
Andrew Kennard 1 1
Peter Smith 1 1
Robert McEwan 1 1
Harry Chamberlain 1 1
Andrew Lockwood 1 1
Owen Burgess 1 1
Martin MacDonald 1 1
Aaron McGough 1 1
Samuel Holder 1 1
John Roberts 1 1