45 Road Club



Stu Travis at the Bowl...Thursday 17th Apr '14

Woohoooo!! Thursday night racing at Milton Keynes Bowl is back! 
 
I’ve been waiting impatiently all winter for them to start again. The series of 20 races sponsored by Corley Cycles started again on the 17th March, on a fairly overcast and chilly Thursday evening and in the same style as last year, there was a 4th Category only race that starting 6PM. 45RC riders in that race were Mike Berry and Rob Clapham. I’m unsure as to exactly how their race went as I was busy warming up, but let’s just say Mike had a forced early retirement and Rob finished 12th.
 
Other races that evening were the E/1/2 /3 Race at 7PM with George Fox riding that one, and a 3/4 race that started a few seconds after with Ollie Bates and Myself starting.
 
I had contemplated riding the E/1/2/3 and seeing how I got on, but I decided against it as I’d like to get a few more races under my belt this season before moving up to the faster group.
 
There had been talk of this event being heavily subscribed being the first of the season, however the fields were fairly small with around 25 in the Elite race and probably 35-40 in the 3/4 race. After a quick warm up in the cold wind, 7PM soon rolled around and so did the nervy wait on the start line. Anti-clockwise this week, and then out around the grassed area once the gates had been opened after half an hour on the inside loop.
 
In the 3/4 Race, the pace started quite mild with the pack settling down very quickly. I expected a little more nervousness and twitchiness to be honest but I was pleased that everybody seemed fairly relaxed. During the first half hour, there wasn’t much action with the pace staying fairly comfortable. I hovered around the top 10 and after a while put in a turn on the front and turned it up a notch to try and force a bit of excitement. I think it took a few guys by surprise and I managed to string it out a little bit with a small group of about 6 or 7 breaking away for a bout a lap. Brought back together, the gates were opened and the panic for top slots began as we came around the back ready to go out for the first time.
Everybody got through in one go, no dramas. After the gates had been opened, there were a few small attacks here and there and the pace started to ramp up. About 45 minutes in, another attack went and I managed to get away in a group of about 5 or 6. We started to get a bit organized and were doing really well, keeping the gap manageable until some people didn’t want to work anymore. As I had just rolled around to the back of the group, I didn’t immediately notice a rider simply riding off the front and by the time I realized he was away and I couldn’t bridge to him.
 
That’s how it stayed until the end too with the break being absorbed by the bunch a few laps later. I continued with my quest towards the front of the bunch and decided I’d save myself for the gallop at the end. 5 laps to go, pace increased a bit more. Bell lap came, felt good, felt fresh, so made my way closer to the front.
 
Sitting about 3rd wheel as we came back in to the inner bowl, round the right-hander and along the back straight area I ended up on the front inadvertently. 
 
Couldn’t be bothered to try to drop back in and get a wheel so I stayed where I was and as we rounded the final left for the sprint up the hill, I kicked hard and managed to pull away slightly and ended up actually sprinting alongside an E/1/2 rider that was just coming around to lap us. Made it stick and bagged 2nd. Result smiley
 
Very happy Stoo. More points in the bag.
 
Ollie Bates had an altogether less fortunate race and dropped the chain, retiring early.
 
The rider that won did so with about a 5 or 6 second lead. Matthew Webster of Velo Velocity. A very strong rider who has won 3 out of 3 races this season. 2 x 4th cat races, and now this one too. I can see him moving up very quickly.
 
Finally, George Fox had a good result too, managaing to keep a hold of the bunch in the E/1/2 race to roll in with the pack. Although it’s always advisable to collect your licence before you leave wink
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