Sunday, 22 May 2011

Mixed Fortunes at the Divisional Championships

Tough day at the Div's

Paul Caton, Doug Coleman & Neil Wass all took the start line for the Central Region Championships this morning. The battle to be top rider of the region always attracts the best amateur riders plus the odd semi professional or two and they knew they had their work cut out: "Doug & I recce'd the course earlier in the week," says Neil Wass. "We wanted to give ourselves the best possible opportunity."

The promoters, Spirit Racing had chosen a course measuring 88 miles with a total of 24 climbs. "These kind of courses find you out," Wass adds. He, unfortuantely, fell victim to the arduous nature of the course and the stiff competition. Having retired on lap 6 of 9, he shakes his head: "I just didn't have it today."

Doug Coleman rode a textbook race. Always keeping within the front 10 riders of the main bunch, he was comfortable and confident. By lap 8, after a sudden downpour, a break of 5 riders had formed at the front and he formed a chase with a rider from Virgin Active. Then, disaster struck. The Virgin rider lost control on a tight corner with Coleman on his wheel: "There was nowhere to go, no time to do anything," he recalls.

It was Coleman's first racing crash: "I was in shock so it took me a while to put myself back together, but all I need is a new wrap of bar tape actually and  for a bit of road rash to heal. I guess my luck had to run out sometime but it is a pity it was today because I was feeling pretty strong."

Paul Caton - experience pays off again
Paul Caton, was now the team's last remaining rider in a field which had whittled down from 80 to around 30: "I saw Neil had packed and Doug had fallen, so I thought I'd better try to get something for the team!" he jokes. "But it was one of the toughest races I've done in a while. I dangled off the back of the bunch a couple of times and had to really dig deep to get back."

Caton crossed the line in 17th place. A former winner of the Regional Champs, he takes all the excitement in his stride: "I've never worked so hard for three points & a tenner!"

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