On Saturday the 10th, Neil Wass hit the deck after only 3km of the Spring Chicken Road Race in Buckinghamshire. "We were a little apprehensive this year," he recounts. "We've all done this race before. The roads aren't exactly in top condition and the riders are all that bit more nervous and excited in the early races, but even I didn't expect to go down that quickly!"
In the opening kilometres, Wass had positioned himself with safety in mind : "I'd got myself into the front 10 - not on the front but I thought that was safest so as to avoid any bunch incidents, at least for the first lap." Unfortunately, one of the handful of riders in front lost control on the first bend. "Hi front wheel just seemed to go from under him." says Wass. John Lacey continues: "It was pretty greasy, but we managed OK on subsequent laps, so I suspect he may have been a touch nervous.
"All I could do was scrub off some speed and try to hit the ground as slowly as possible," concludes Wass. "I avoided anything more than a bit of road rash, and it is the first time in 8 years of racing that I've collided with another rider, so I guess my good luck was well overdue to run out!"
Eugene Rack dropped back to check on his team mate: "I saw him go down and I wanted to make sure he was OK. It could have been a lot more serious and I didn't want to continue racing not knowing." Having checked things over, the duo retired. Says Rack: "There's the rest of the season to come - better to be safe than sorry."
|John Lacey - last man standing back in the bunch at the Spring Chicken|
Sunday brought even warmer weather. Paul Caton tackled the LVRC road race in Towcester. "It took me a few minutes to get my race head on, " he says. "Unfortunately, by the time I did, a break had gone up the road!" He wasn't the only one to be ruing lost opportunities though, and a group of 4 formed to chase on to the break. "In terms of positioning, in a small group like that, I thought I was in a good position," he continues. "But it clearly wasn't my day." One of the four riders took a bend far too fast and crashed right in front of Caton, leaving him no option: "I hit the guy who came down and went over the bars."
Jumping straight back on, the four now down to three, Caton was slowing "I'd lost a bit of time and the impact had winded me a bit, so we were swallowed up again by the bunch but I sat in for a bit and tried to recover." Recover he did, and sprinted for 10th overall. "Not a great morning out, but at least I got something out of it." he concludes.
Nick Walker: "It was one of those weekends you'd rather forget. The guys seemed to be doing the right things though. Let's hope we got the bad luck out of the way. There's plenty of time for results later."