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Wheelers Club Road Race Championships

Thanks to Adrian Cartwright for organising the Club Road Races at Colchester on Sunday 26 June. There were 24 club riders altogether.

The Women’s Champion is Katie-Ann Elliston (for the 5th time). She and Jan Harvey-Burns were the main protagonists in the women's race, making a decisive early break, and staying together for most of the race; Jan, though, did not quite have an answer for her opponent's final acceleration, and the title went to Katie-Ann.

A strong entry of 18 riders lined up for the main club championship one-hour race. A group of seven broke away early on and stayed together for over half an hour; behind them, there were gutsy solo rides - into a strong headwind for half the lap - by Martin Sutton, Adam Jones, and Martin Harris. The rest of the field formed a larger group further back, sensibly sharing the work. Katie-Ann retired from the lead group at half-distance, and then, as the pace increased over the last twenty minutes, other riders fell away: first Dan Jenkins, then Jonathan Rouse, and finally Neil Dobson. This left Richard McKinney, Barry Simpson and Bob Barber to contest the win.

Close into the last corner, Bob led out as they faced a long drag into the wind to the finish line and he arrived third, Barry second, and our 2022 Club Road Race Champion is Richard McKinney. Richard also takes the Veterans title, and Barry takes the Over 50’s title. Richard becomes the 22nd member to win the title in the 45 years it’s been held (Barry was the first winner in 1976.

The Devils (or elimination races) were rather a contrast. Just four women lined up for the She-Devil, and there was only ever going to be another win for Katie-Ann, from Carol Cartwright and Julie Kane. The Men's Devil was a more dramatic affair; as the group turned through a corner after the first few eliminations, things got a bit fraught, leaving Chris Smith and Neil Dobson on the ground with some grazes and, no doubt, some bruises which are still coming out today. Amazingly, Neil hopped back on and finished the event in 3rd place. Bob Barber was 2nd, and that man McKinney took his second win of the day.

The team relay finished the day on a more-lighted hearted note; Katie-Ann, Neil and John Gretton combined speed and dexterity with safety pins to win by quite a margin.

Although no club hand-cyclists were present, two invitation riders turned up and we ran two events for them on a separate circuit; both were novices on newly acquired hand cycles. Lily Green approached her first racing corner with such enthusiasm that she tipped it right over but came back strong. We may see her, and Doug Beckwith, at our TT's in the future.

Lastly, a big thank you to all the individual event organisers, who take care of their own parts of the meeting so efficiently: Carol Cartwright, the Kane family, Arthur and Chris Knowler, Les Bantock, Peter Swanwick and Jane and Martin Harris.

Paul Hughes gave up his place on the start line to take some great action shots, so thanks to him as well! It might have been a different race if Paul, Steve Sach, Louis Digance, Dan Pugh, Dave Pennington and last year’s Champion Oliver Pidgeon had been on the start line!

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