There’s been a lot of coverage (and rightly so) of the antics of our track riding and younger members over the last little while. Seemed only fair to add a short note on how some of the Senior riders have been getting on on the road in the first half of the season.
Jules Birks was the sole VCL rider to line up at the IG Markets London Nocturne support race. A poor start and poor legs made for a hard race, but he chewed on his handbars for 40mins and managed to finish with the peleton and on the lead lap but with no strength/motivation to contest the sprint.
The London Pheonix 2/3 Regional A Surrey League Road Race offered a 6th place for Jules after some aggressive riding saw him bridge to the large break mid-race. James Solly and Phil Glowinski finished strongly at the head of the main field which come the closing stages was hot on the heels of the break.
Despite the is it/isn’t it resurfacing farce of our local criterium circuit Crystal palace (currently schedualed to start on 10th July, check the calendar) VCL have still got some crit racing done. As previously reported, Philip had a third in the Archer RC Spring crits 3rd cat race at Hillingdon in a bunch sprint in which Mark Jary and Mareck also rode and finished in the bunch. He also came 2nd at a Wednesday Eelmore and again on the punishing Cutmill circuit. As well as regularly finishing 1st or 2nd third cat in the E123 Tuesday Hillingdon. Tim Phillips, Phil Wright and Toby Blackman have also been regulars at Hillingdon – as well as Iain and Johnny Cheatle making a few appearences. A good number of the kids have been racing there too so hopefully everyone will be looking forward to more local racing re-starting one things are sorted at Crystal Palace.
Philip, Jules and Andy all went to the Eastbourne crit, alongside a strong team of youth riders in the earlier races. In Philip’s words:
“Eastbourne was a fantastic event, shame there aren’t more “city centre” crits for non Tour Series racers; they’re technical and very high intensity with generally a good crowd. This event was no different with 55 riders lining up for a tight flat circuit on the sea front. It went from the gun and I tried to stay in 3rd or 4th place no matter what until the selection was made and Jules was always just a couple of wheels back. The constant sprinting from corners split the field to pieces and at half distance a lead group of 15 had lapped the second group of around 20 in which Snowball was featuring strongly. More and more riders popped off the back under pressure of attacks from Keith Henderson and James Wakelin and with 15 mins to go there were only 10 up front. Despite the VCL having 2 riders up there, we didn’t really feature in any attacks as I was killing myself to stay with it and Jules didn’t seem much better. Needless to say with 5 laps to go Jules had a couple of digs and then went hard with half a lap to go. Unfortunately it turns out he had been riding with a very soft front tyre for a few laps and so some the others came round him on the corners and even I managed to pip him on the line for 6th. Snowball rode the whole race at or on the front of the 2nd group and in the end must have placed in the top 15. Mummy and Daddy G rode down to support and we managed to fit all 5 in my car for the journey home as the trains weren’t running.”
VCL have supported the Friday evening crits at Hove park for a number of years. As James recalls:
“Over the last couple of years, loading up a raiding party at Glowinski HQ and heading down to what is a brilliant little circuit and a well-run event. This year, at the second event of the season it was Jules, Phil and James taking part. Sadly Phil was not feeling completely on form and dropped out to take the role of Team DS from the sideline. Unfortunately two chancers took advantage of Jules puncturing to attack during his lap out… but in true JB style he simply waited then launched an unassailable lone attack from the peloton. A bit of teamwork from James on the front on the bunch and some clever DS’ing from Phil maintained his gap to take the overall 3rd (and moral victory!!) with James coming in 3rd in the bunch sprint for 6th overall. Fish and chips on the seafront and back to London it was a grat VCL evening out.”
Last week, at the third Hove Park round, Iain took Josh Cole-Hossain and Sam Judd for their first taste of junior crit racing. They found it a tough but enjoyable introduction. Iain, who punctured and slipped off on a corner at his previous race at Hove (though took a lap out and finished with the bunch), had a hard time again, finding the whole contingent of Sussex riders working him over and making sure a breakaway group formed without him. Maybe payback for previous displays of power from VCL riders. Next time we’ll need some more company in the field! Next race there is on 20th July – see the calendar.