The 2nd Oxfordshire Road Race League, which started back in May came to a blistering conclusion on the rain soaked roads of the Great Milton course on Sunday morning.
In the week preceding, Dalton Barracks saw Mike Devaney of the Condors take an unassailable lead in the Mens individual rankings after impressive showings throughout the season, taking a number of top 3 positions. In the Ladies race Laura Cubiss, also of the Condors, jumped ahead of closest rival (and reigning female champion) Lydia Brookes of G.S.Henley, setting up a show down! The men’s overall team prize was still a three way race, with G.S.Henley narrowly holding off OT Race Team and the Cowley Road Condors.
As with most of the league races, we were lucky enough to be commissared by Patrick Kavanagh, who gave a short briefing about the conditions and the course, then the riders were underway. Despite the awful wet and windy conditions (our first league race in heavy rain in 2 years of racing, so we shouldn’t complain…) the riders rode an incredibly safe and highly skilled race with no crashes or incidents throughout. Yet more evidence that regular racing really does upskill riders.
After a few attempts to get away early from a slightly labouring peloton, 3 of the young guns extricated themselves into a break. Tim Allen (RP Racing), Sam Calder (Beeline Bikes) and John Mulvey (Cambridge Uni CC) forged ahead, working up over a minutes lead. Due to the composition of the break, there was no need for the three teams gunning for overall league standings to chase. It was left to Bicester Millennium who had Gavin Howells well placed in the league table to pull, with Tim Beaven taking some huge turns at the front.
The last lap saw the usual upping in pace as riders realised the break had a potentially winning lead. A few more riders were jettisoned over Clare Hill, including Laura Cubiss and Michelle McCarthy (the other 2 ladies riding) but those who made it over were well placed for the turn and run up to the finish. Lots of riders put in big turns to help team mates come to the front, whilst up front, it was clear that the break had survived. With Tim Allen fading over the crest of the finishing climb, Sam Calder bolted from the wheel to take first, John Mulvey taking second and junior rider Tim taking third.
Over the crest of the hill came the bunch, BMCC’s hard work clearly paid off as Gavin Howells lead the bunch home, with Darren Milligan of OTRT and Simon Jones of G.S.H on his wheel. These three riders would slot in this order behind Mike Devaney on the men’s individual rankings, a great effort on the day.
Just behind was the brave Lydia Brookes who stuck it out with the men to finish safely in the pack. With Laura outsprinting Michelle to take second, there was a tie for first overall woman. As per BC guidance, this meant that Lydia winning the last stage had (just) done enough to take the overall.
Round 7 placings
1) Sam Calder (Beeline Bikes)
2) John Mulvey (Cambridge Uni CC)
3) Tim Allen (RP Racing, 1st junior)
1) Lydia Brookes (G.S.Henley)
2) Laura Cubiss (Cowley Road Condors CC)
3) Michelle McCarthy (Bicester Millenium CC)
Photos – http://junaishima.zenfolio.com/