Betteshanger Country Park was the venue for the BMCR promotion for Masters riders. Sally Smith was the first Velo to line up in the E,F,G,H race which was contested over an hour plus 3 laps for the 2 mile circuit. As usual the wind blew across the circuit adding to the challenge or racing in a field predominantly made up of men on a day where temperatures passed the 30c mark. For 3/4 of the race Sal managed to hold a good position towards the front, but eventually the difficulty of responding to a flurry of attacks became too much and the field split. Not to be downhearted Sally dug in to keep on chasing with one of the men, eventually taking a fantastic 9th place overall and second woman.
In the A,B,C,D race, which took the same format, Velo was represented by a strong trio of Mike Stanley, Jonny Graciano and Rob Kennison. The first attack came straight off the line and the pattern of the race was established, attack after attack was thrown down but each and every time the peloton clawed their way back. Jonny was very active at the front whilst Rob patrolled the back of the group in the hope of a bunch sprint. Unfortunately Mike found the pace a little too hot and dropped back from the group. After 45 minutes of racing a moment’s inattention resulted in a nasty crash which nearly claimed Rob who used his cyclocross skills to ride right over a fallen rider’s back wheel. Everything looked set for Rob’s preferred sprint finish when with 3 laps to go Jonny struck out for glory and miraculously began to draw away from the peloton, 5 seconds soon became 10 and still the bunch did not react. Unfortunately at 2 laps to go Jonny and the rest of the chasing peloton were stopped by a red flag and the race was abandoned to allow the Air Ambulance to land and treat one of the fallen riders.
The Velo riders were philosophical about losing the likely win and the club and all involved wish the rider involved a speedy recovery.
Big thanks to Ollie McPherson and his band of helpers for putting on such a well organised event.
Rob had already had the opportunity to exercise his cyclocross skills on Friday evening at round 2 of the Beastway London Summer Cross Series at Herne Hill. Despite a strong start Rob punctured after two laps and withdrew from the race.