A Day for the breakaways at Odd Down

Ashcroft and Dunwell show their class to take wins at Odd Down Winter Series round two.

Amy Dunwell put in a classy ride to take a solo victory and run in the women’s 2nd/3rd category race winner. James Ashcroft was at his most aggressive best to take not only the win but also the prime in a race by attacking solo two times and still having enough in the legs to take the sprint from the break away.

In the men’s fourth cat race Matthew Clayton was able to repeat his trick from last week to take another solo victory in clinical fashion. In the women’s fourth cat race Keisha Michael was unable to follow on from last week coming up just short as she was unable to come round a forceful ride from Rachel Breslin in the Sprint.

Ashcroft was the first rider to get away in the early laps of the men’s 2/3 race. He picked up the prime and then was joined by two riders at the front of the race: Connor McGoldrick of University of Bath CC and Charlie Shields of SixtySix RSN. The three riders began to cooperate and built a healthy advantage over the main pack. Last week’s winner Rob Pears was not to be denied and he launched a counter move featuring Adam Robertson and Callum Deakin and started to bridge the gap. With the lead just outside their grasp Deakin was able to hold the wheel heading into the headwind on the finish straight and so was only Robertson and Pears that were able to close the final metres and join the leaders to make a lead a group of five. With the group behind struggling to get the chase organised it was clear that the five riders in the lead would be contesting the victory and with a secure lead the opportunity for cat and mouse tactics emerged. First Ashcroft tried to get away followed by Robertson with his teammate McGoldrick sitting in the group. However, the impetus that the group was carrying did not allow anyone clear and they were all back together going into the finish.

As the leaders went into the final lap Charlie Shields hit the front and strung the group out however with 200m to go on the final straight he was doomed to fail as he was swamped by his breakaway companions. Ashcroft jumped to the left of the circuit and held off a charge from Connor McGoldrick take the win. Pears was able to mop up for the third place on the podium whilst Robertson and Shields paid for their efforts off the front in the final laps before the finish.

The woman’s 3rd cat race started defensively with the riders saving their legs for the prime sprint after five laps. Having misjudged her effort for the prime last week Karen Spiteri made no mistake this time and took the win. The group then settled again with the strongest headwind of the day on the home straight meaning the riders who were wary of investing too much effort early on for fear of being caught out late on in the race. It fell to Dunwell, third last week, to make a clinical move with three and a half laps to go and hit out in order to reach for the win.

Dunwell immediately got a gap with Kuhlman and Jaskowska hesitating about organising the response and despite the two riders working together to try bring back the BCR rider there was no catching Dunwell who extended her lead all the way to the line. Kuhlman was too strong for Jaskowska and powered clear of her companion in the final lap to ride in for second solo with Jaskowska finishing in third place.

Matthew Clayton’s win in the 4th cat men’s race was almost carbon copy of last week’s victory. This time he waited for the prime lap to make his escape and as he mopped up the prize of the road.cc socks and Studio XXVI class he was joined by Jacob Vink. This duo worked together for a short while but Vink could not hold Clayton’s wheel and the fourth cat series leader was away solo again. There were a number of moves behind in attempt to try and take second place ahead of the bunch sprint and the nearest of this to succeeding came from Nigel Burton who made his move in the final laps. He had a small gap heading into the final bend but look like it was going to be enough to hold off the chasing sprinters. However, as he turned into the headwind on the final straight the legs did not have quite enough and he was picked off by Jake Godfrey who was able to overhaul him and take second place as well as Junda Niu who crossed the line 3rd. Burton was rewarded for his move with fourth place but had the finish line come 20 m earlier it would have been second.

Keisha Michael appeared to be setting up her own repeat win in the women’s fourth category race however she had to contend with a powerful ride from Rachel Breslin who snatched victory from the series leader. Michael had taken the sprints for the prime in the early laps and then looked content to sit back with her rivals and trust relative experience to rely on her sprint in the finish. It was all going to plan for the VC Walcot rider with Breslin leading on the final lap. However, a powerful performance from the first time race meant that even though Michael jumped off the wheel with 100 m to go she could not come past and ended up having to settle for second place behind the Round Two race winner. Nicole Corin who took second place in her first race last week had to settle for third but solidifies her position in the overall standing behind Michael.