Saturday, 13 December 2014

Win for Neil as Imperial Winter Series "Kicks off"

Should we be racing in December? From the traditionalists, it's a resounding no. And yet, the Imperial Winter Series goes from strength to strength each year. Yes, OK we agree it is a technical infringement.

It does however seem to appeal to people with busy lives who enjoy the reliability of a regular weekly slot. There's also a relaxed, friendly feel to it which is helped massively by the fact that the organisers are extraordinarily pleasant folk. And then the fact that some people just can't wait until spring to charge around a circuit shouting 'hold yer line' at each other whilst 'living the dream'. Lastly, would you rather do an hour and a half of turbo intervals in the garage?

No-one seems to take it too seriously [well we try not to], although the push to the front for the obligatory sprint finish remains as nervy as any Hillingdon race. And that's without the crash which gained international notoriety on race two and seemed to justify Neil's policy of being either off the front...

This break made it to the finish. Unusually. Neil holding Paul McGrath's wheel tightly with winner Graham Crow pulling
or off the back...

ah yes, the crash, thanks Dave Hayward. No-one has yet fathomed the cause of this crash; even the spectators. Neil claims he could see this coming. That'll be why he's out of shot off the back again, then.

Now [remembering the headline] amidst all this excitement, we should point out that in race one of the series, Neil won the 3rd Category race. Sadly for him, he wasn't first over the line, so no hands in the air. But, as a great man once said, a win's a win. And Neil reckons he was robbed [as usual], and he was pulling harder than anyone else in the break, and he didn't really care about the sprint and....

Michael Skipsey gave us his farewell testimonial in race three before he departed for Saddle Drunk. Seriously. Almost overcome by emotion, Neil gave his best lead out to Mick which netted him 4th. That's Mick, not Neil, although sheer terror kept Neil in the front half of the field. Pretty impressive by Mick when you consider that Neil's leadout ended with half a lap still to go. Good luck at the new gruppo from all of us Skippy.

Baynesy [still 'on the cusp' form-wise] has attended twice, raced once (don't ask) and is entered for more in 2015 along with newcomer Jason Baran. "Who knows, we may even get some team strategy in operation," Neil says hopefully.

Monday, 27 October 2014

The Cog TTT - an apology

We 'won' the 2nd Cog TTT yesterday. Yes, those are inverted commas, because we had a Servizio Corse scooter, unlike [as far as we know] the other teams. It was an 'unfair' advantage, but we thought in a 'just for fun' event, it would be just that - fun. Spare wheels were used, junctions were confirmed clear, gates were pre-opened and we clearly gained a decent amount of time.

So we took the advantages and 'beat' CC Luton by 2 seconds, and then were presented with a significant sum of money, which came as a bit of a surprise. By that point, the 'winning' riders had parted their ways and there was no opportunity to discuss the ill gotten gains. So our remaining representatives took the winnings amid one or two voices of concern. Having originally assumed we'd be disqualified, we were simply going to go with the organiser's decision; not least as a pic of the offending vehicle was already on the twitter feed!

outside the unwritten rules - the offending vehicle
Over the afternoon, it became clear that we'd upset one or two people and after a very short discussion between the offenders last night, we agreed a disqualification with Richard of Arbis Colbert. Internal debate continues over the details and format of a non-sanctioned 'just for fun' event, but the team is in complete agreement that we misinterpreted the concept of a Gentlemens' Time Trial and therefore shouldn't take home any money!

Particular apologies go to the superior athletes of CC Luton /  CC Ashwell / Arbis - Colbert who obviously are the rightful winners and were denied the presentation on the day. It really wasn't the intention chaps and we're sorry for any upset caused.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Redbourn fête du vélo 2014

Eugene bosses the Vets

top team finisher - 2nd for Eug

Neil & Eugene rolled down to Redbourn yesterday for the 2nd Fête du Vélo on the common. It's the idea of Simon Barnes from The Hub and, despite late permission to close the roads for the criterium circuit, there was a great turnout which created a fantastic atmosphere.

Following a morning of family and challenge events, there were a few crits later in the day, which was handy as the weather turned out to be rather pleasant.

Eugene's Vets race was run as a handicap. Having sat tight for a while, he worked in a small group with Mark Booth of Corley Cycles to reach Paul Cackett at the head of the race. 

Once they caught Paul, however, Mark countered and Eug quickly realised he wouldn't be able to follow on his own. Doing his fair share of work in an eventual group of three, he attacked out of the final corner and came in 2nd.

elimination consternation - Neil

Neil was racing with the seniors and made top ten in the first race which qualified him for a start in the elimination race A. For many riders, it was their first experience of the 'devil' style of racing. 

"Definitely not my favourite format," joked Neil after being eliminated early on. "But a great idea from the organisers, it was all about entertaining the crowd and it was a fantastic race to watch!"

Monday, 30 June 2014

Report – TMG Horizon Trophy National B Road Race June 29th 2014

TMG Horizon Cycling Team staged their 4th annual Road Race on Sunday. Upgraded to National B Status for 2014, organiser Neil Wass explained that the team wanted to help higher categories of rider develop; particularly the younger riders who often struggle with travel to find sufficient fixtures.

The pace was high from the off and within half a lap, a break developed which looked like it could well succeed. Crossing the line for the The Plough Amersham Prime with 5 to go, last year’s 2nd place Danny Axford looked comfortable, although it was James Phillips of Dream Cycling who took the spoils. Locals Mike Jackson and Jonny Shuster were also in attendance and when they were joined by Mark Baines of Spirit Racing who put in a massive acceleration to bridge and one other, things looked good for the break with a one minute gap.

With 4 to go, Jackson had been joined by team mate Ashley Cox but the pace of the break had clearly taken its toll as many of the original group had been dropped. Baines and Axford were driving hard as Jack Beezer of Arbis Colbert and Ben Stockdale of Metaltek Kuota started a huge 2up effort to bridge with the bunch strung out just 10 seconds behind them.

Stockdale led the break over the line with 3 laps to go for the Redbourn Physiotherapy Prime and the strain was beginning to show, with gaps opening up in the break and an advancing peloton eating into the 40 seconds advantage. Things were looking ominous and it was this situation which led Danny Axford of Arctic Tacx to attack off the front of the break shortly afterwards.

In characteristic style, Axford backed up the attack with a measured effort and carved out a gap of 26 seconds to the original break which was holding steady with 2 to go. A lone effort was always going to be tough on such an exposed course though and he was caught by the widely fancied Beezer of Arbis, once again on the offensive as the front of the bunch started to explode with Mike Debney of Cadence pushing over the line in 3rd.

 It all came back together for the finale though. With many of the bunch struggling, it was looking like a possible bunch sprint up the finish hill but Ben Stockdale and Kieran Brady of City Centre Cycles opened up a gap of 5 seconds over the bunch as Stockdale took the win, clearly having conserved his resources judiciously.
“I was delighted with the win,” he said afterwards. “It’s a great, well organised event with a testing course that’s clearly going from strength to strength and we thoroughly enjoyed it.”

a ferocious acceleration nets Ben Stockdale the win
Junior Winner Oliver Maxwell,Windmill Wheels
James Phillips, Ben Stockdale, Kieran Brady,
lots more pictures in our flickr album
1st Ben Stockdale - Metaltek Kuota 142km 3h25m22s
2nd Kieran Brady – City Centre Cycle
3rd James Phillips – Dream CC at 5”
4th Tom Neale – Corley Cycles
5th Tony Gibb - CSE Racing
6th Oliver Maxwell – Windmill Wheels
7th Peter Cocker – Pedal Pushers RT
8th Mark Baines – Spirit Bikes RT
9th Rob Yeatman – BH-Soulidor-WAM
10th Ed Palfreeman – Corley Cycles
11th Jake Hales – WyndyMilla
12th Malcolm Smith – St Ives CC
13th Ben Allen – Dulwich Paragon
14th Gareth Jones – Mammoth Lifestyle
15th Jack Beezer – Arbis Colbert RT
16th Ben Rowe – Wyndymilla
17th Colin Bailey – North Road CC
18th Craig Wallduck – Dream CC
19th Mike Jackson – CC Luton
20th Phil Peters – CSE Racing

Junior Winner - Oliver Maxwell – Windmill Wheels
The Plough Amersham Prime - James Phillips – Dream CC

Redbourn Physiotherapy Prime - Ben Stockdale - Metaltek Kuota

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Win for Skipsey at Hillingdon

Mick lined up at Hillingdon last night for another round of the fortnightly Masters Series. With him this time were Chris & Neil, who, after an early discussion, decided it would be fun to 'animate' the race a little. The pace was a bit stop-start to begin with but the team ensured they generally had someone in each move while the others recovered and about 20 minutes in, a move with Mick in it

"We were thinking this could be good," recalls Neil. "But you never know what the reaction of the bunch will be. There were plenty of strong riders left in the main group." As the break accelerated away, the bunch didn't seem too concerned and the gap stretched to about 30 seconds, but there was generally enough impetus to hold it there; a widely used tactic with the aim of wearing out the break whilst keeping them close enough to pull back.

And it it was in this state of equilibrium where Neil & Chris started to weigh up the situation: "We could see Paul Crook of Beyond Mountain Bikes  and Gray Turnock of Finsbury Park CC in our group," says Chris. "And they weren't too chuffed that they's missed the break. I don't think they expected it to stay away so the frustration started to rise after 40 minutes." 

Turnock started to rally other riders in the bunch to ride, getting help from Scott Holmes of Hillingdon CC but Chris & Neil were always in the first 6 riders or so: "We weren't blocking," explains Neil. "But we made sure that whenever there was an acceleration, we were part of it and everyone knew they would have to count us out of any bridging effort. What was great was that we knew Paul & Gray would be the main challengers to Mick in a sprint finish so the possibilities were good if we could keep them back in the main group."

With 5 laps to go, Turnock made a last desperate effort to cross the gap, but Neil was tight on his wheel and he had to sit up and accept the break was going to stay away. And sure enough it did, with Skipsey taking a finely judged Sprint Finish. "I was surprised because it almost felt too easy," he says. "But I've been through this scenario thousands of times in my head and trained for it hundreds of times so I guess that's part of the reason!"

No pic found of his win, so here's the big man at Hillingdon [where else?] in April
Turnock was gracious in defeat: "That was a well deserved victory for Mick. He's always up there in the finale so good for him, but also good for the team because the other two never lost focus in managing us lot in the bunch." Holmes agreed: "I reckon the other two in the bunch made the difference today. So many times we had the break in our sights, but they managed to slow us down. Great teamwork."

Monday, 16 June 2014

Late Entries Available Online

We've now sent the 2014 race programme off to press. Watch out for it at a cafe / bike shop / race HQ near you, or click here to view it online

We had to close entries to get the advance numbers in the programme, but we've now opened a new first-come-first-served list for late entries to make it easy to manage latecomers. There's an entry button on the race page so it really is very simple.

Monday, 9 June 2014

National Bronze for Skippy

Skippy goes flat out, head down for the finish

Rising form for our criterium specialist

Michael Skipsey joined the team last year and from a standing start he's concentrated on crafting a specific approach to closed circuit racing.

Where other team members struggle with the high pace, sharp bends and close spacing, he has applied himself and morphed into something of a specialist. "I hate hills!" he jokes

Nick Abraham - Silver, Martin Smith - Gold, Michael Skipsey, -Bronze

Despite this season's progress with regular top fives at the Fortnightly Masters Series, he went into yesterday's National Masters Criterium Championship with modest ambitions: "I  thought top ten would be enough to aim for," he recalls. "But it did fell like a bit of a home race for me and I suppose that gave me a slight advantage."

Patience is often the key at Hillingdon and, sure enough, the 90 minute race came down to a sprint finish.

"It helps when you know exactly where to go full gas because you can very easily overstretch yourself," he continues. At least I had that clarity and I managed to hold my focus and not get too overawed by the occasion."

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Win at The Eagle

Paul clinches it from a long break

On top form - Paul Caton
Today's Eagle Road Race in Radwinter saw Neil, Paul & Chris take to the start line. 

A fairly steady 1st lap was soon eclipsed by some attacking riding from Neil, who teamed up with John Alderman of GS Vecchi and Tim Davies for a few kms of break until he was brought back by the bunch. 

Wising up to this attention, Paul took off shortly afterwards and, having been chased down, repeated this until he finally got away again with, of all people, John Alderman.

The bunch kept the duo in their sights but, although on occasions it came down to as little as 300m, Chris & Neil stayed near the front of the bunch to follow any moves and managed to drag numerous chase attempts back. 

Up front, Paul managed a 2up time trial for around 50km: "That was extremely hard work," he winced. "I'm normally in a decent sized break or I tend to stay with the bunch until the last lap so it was very good training!"

Training this was not though and he remained attentive and, keeping his head, outsprinted John for the win. "I'm well chuffed," was his conclusion. "And it was a great team effort. I heard afterwards how the other two were keeping moves in check so it feels great to know they were looking out for me."

Caton Canes it at the Nationals

nice day for a National Champs

Paul Caton, as previously mentioned here, is our most experienced racer. He's always looking at new ways of getting faster, but he's pretty old school when it comes to form; that's to say that if you listen to him alone, he never has any.

Paul announced he wasn't happy with his form a few weeks ago. He wasn't feeling quite 100%, the legs felt a little hollow and he was struggling with training a bit. Che sorpresa
The best place for sponsor logos? For Paul, on the shoulder - head down, flat back, flat out on the finish hill

Of all our riders though, he was the only one who made it to the National Masters Championships on our home circuit yesterday. Shame on the rest....

A beautiful day saw a fast and furious contest but, canny as ever, Paul resisted the temptation to join in the charges off the front due to his 'form' concerns. Unfortunately, one of those attacks stuck: "I kicked myself for not going with that last break," he said afterwards. "But you have to make these choices and it would have really emptied me out I think."

Having been as expedient as ever in the bunch, he saved his [allegedly limited] effort for the finish and, launching up the finish hill with a full on sprint, he took 7th place. "It was a top quality field so I'm chuffed to be honest." he concluded. Form? We look forward to its arrival...

Monday, 2 June 2014

Win for Luke!

Luke was back in action on Saturday at the Hitchin Nomads 25. Clearly hitting some form now, he was nearly two minutes faster than his nearest rival, Tom Trimble to take an emphatic victory.

Luke - 1st win of the season

Hitchin Nomads CC F14/25

1st  Luke Clarke TMG Horizon Cycling Team 0:55:26
2nd Tom Trimble CC Ashwell  0:57:14
3rd Nigel Hale - Herts Wheelers 0:58:14

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

National Success for TMG

Two Top Tens Again!

The team Juggernaut ferried four of our riders to Hampshire yesterday for the LVRC National Road Race. The Herriard Circuit was billed by the organisers as 'undulating'. Seriously.

about 150m of climbing on each of 6 laps...

all smiles at the start on a super sunny morning

Fortunately, we had a very lean Graeme who left everyone for dead up a nasty ramp to Brill the other week.

So he was our group 'A' numero uno. Neil still had a touch of Easter Egg weight about him; Ian was thinking about survival, but the undulating section looked useful for him. 

Paul, on his own in the 'C's, was quietly confident.

And it went off hard; a bit like a junior race. About half of the field of 60 were off the back on the first time up the climb: "I really didn't expect the pace to be so brutal," recalls Ian. "But I guess it was the Nationals!"

The third time up the hill proved too much for him: "My legs just packed up; the intensity was just too high for me - I guess I need to adapt to the ebb and flow of a Road Race, and this was another learning exercise of how tough even Vets racing can be."

Ian Knight of Corley Cycles Team was discussed in the team car as being the 'man most likely' en route to the start and he didn't disappoint. Neil followed his first major attack in tandem with Steve Golla of High Wycombe on the false flat before the finish hill. However, whilst Neil & Steve were reeling from the effort, Knighty combined his light weight and superior power to launch again over the top of the climb: "I knew I had to follow that move," says Neil. "But I couldn't! Either he'd metered his 1st attack or he has amazing powers of recovery!"

looks painful: Neil gives it everything to go Top 10
So the eventual winner surged ahead with two others to stay away and it was a case of "niente da fare" for what remained of the bunch. Neil came in 10th. Unfortunately, an unshipped chain put paid to Graeme's chances. His flyweight worked against him as he lost contact and tried to chase back on on the  downhill sections of the course.

Paul had been part of a 15 man break in the 'C' race. Although there was an obvious numerical benefit, it was outweighed by a lack of cohesion: "Only about 5 people wanted to do any serious work," he says. "So it was pretty much doomed." Paul did his usual canny thing and relied on his light weight as he kept in the mix up the finish hill. With the clear winner about a minute ahead of the bunch, he took 5th place in what was left of the bunch; "I don't think you could call it a sprint; more of a grovel!"
5th for Paul. He makes it look easier than Neil, but he's still not satisfied!

Big thanks to Pauline Unwin of VC Meudon for the pictures.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Another Team Prize and Podium for Ross

successful morning out for chrono team

deep front wheel - Luke

deeper front wheel - Ross
Luke & Ross joined Tony May for the Norlond 50 mile TT this morning on the F1 course in Bedfordshire. 

Far from ideal conditions made it tough going and it was clear from the off that it would not be a day for PB's!

Battling some rather crazy crosswinds with their deep section front wheels, both Clarkes managed under the 1:55. Tony was not far behind and sealed the team prize to boot.

1st Matt Smith - Team VeloVelocity 1:49:29
2nd Brett Hardwood - Terry Wright Cycles RT 1:49:58
3rd Ross Clarke - TMG Horizon CT  1:51:51
4th Luke Clarke - TMG Horizon CT 1:54:00

Tony May 2:00:40

Thanks to Dave Jones for the pictures.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Two Top Tens again

Finchley RT Paul Simon Homes LVRC Road Race

Paul, Neil and Ian nipped over to Essex this morning. It was Baynesy's first LVRC race having recently graduated to the club of a 'certain age'.  Following one of Neil's long rambling monologues about how great, relaxed, civilised and friendly an LVRC race was compared to the BC variety, the break blasted away after half a lap. And stayed away for the duration.

Fortunately, Neil had taken no notice of his own 'overview' and he was alert as Vince Divine, last year's winner, took off. This was quite an achievement following a rather late night involving red wine, cheese and easter eggs, but he held on and put in some big efforts with half a lap to go when Vince put in a pretty nasty attack: "I couldn't go with him though," he admitted. Rather than sit in and wait for the sprint, he seemingly decided to burn himself out a bit more: "I suppose I just wanted to see what I could manage," but the efforts were fruitless. Leading out the sprint for 2nd place, he launched a touch early, but took 4th.

attempts to cheer Ian up were not going well

Paul, meanwhile, was playing a typically canny game and, having saved himself, took the bunch sprint and 9th place.

Ian was disappointed last week at Hog Hill, having had to pull out after 5 laps due to gear trouble. Unfortunately, the ill fortune continued today with a pinch flat on one of the many potholes on an otherwise good circuit. "Surely, I must be due some good luck next week," he sighed.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Welwyn Hilly 2014

Podium for Ross and 2nd in team competition

Ross empties the tank

Having been beaten by Richard Wood at the Sid Latchford TT in March, Ross and Luke returned to more familiar roads this morning.

With clear but chilly conditions, they hit back to take 3rd and 4th respectively; tucked just in in front of Richard.

Tony came in a  bit further down, but was grateful for the dry weather after his slippery corner incident in Essex a couple of weeks ago.

"The form seems to be coming," said Ross. "No doubt that week training in Spain last week helped." 

1. Ashley Cox CC Luton 01:10:57
2. Danny Axford Arctic Tacx RT 01:15:19
3. Ross Clarke TMG Horizon Cycling Team 01:16:09
4. Luke Clarke TMG Horizon Cycling Team 01:16:37
5. Richard Wood Arbis/Colbert Cycles RT 01:16:48
6. Douglas Coleman CC Luton 01:17:35
7. Tim Davies Icknield RC 01:19:17
8. Adam Laycock Team Trisports 01:20:21
9. Anthony Morris CC Ashwell 01:20:32
10. Mike Wragg Arbis-Colbert Cycles RT 01:20:39

26. Tony May TMG Horizon 01:26:17

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Icknield Hilly - Podium & Team Prize

A quick note to report on today's local crono around Cheddington, Mentmore and Wingrave. We had 8 entries, but unfortunately only 5 starters. Maybe the wet & windy weather didn't help Tony, Matt and Steve...

Local Strongmen Roy Chamberlain and Richard Wood crashed the party for Ross & Luke but that still meant that that Ross made it to the podium with 45:19, and with Neil making a mini comeback on his 12 year old TT bike, the trio took the team prize by a comfortable margin.

Icknield Hilly Result 29km

1st Roy Chamberlain, Corley Cycles
2nd Richard Wood, Arbis Racing Team
3rd Ross Clarke 45:19
5th Luke Clarke 45:48
Neil Wass 47:55
Steve Clarke 50:09
Darren Powell 51:03

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Sid Latchford Memorial TT

The Weather. Always a topic for discussion at any bike race, but TTs have a particular dependence on the weather. There's nowhere to hide. Some might say at least you don't eat the whatsit off a load of back wheels, but for most that seems to be a relatively minor consideration. It's all about what time you can post and when you're in the wind all the way round, it feels a darn sight worse than a road race. More on that later.

Our riders. And a bloke who nipped down the road for 10 minutes to see what happened

So, to this morning. Two degrees as dawn broke with a brisk Northerly Wind. Not exactly appetising, but we can report with pride that an unprecedented seven TMG riders took to the start line to face the first 4 miles straight into that very headwind.

Matt Rushton had the worst of it, setting off just after 8, followed shortly by Darren Powell. Matt clearly wasn't thinking of anything more than a hard hour of training as he decided to use his winter bike. Darren's a powerhouse, but no mountain goat, and he suffered more than most on the climbs over Bison Hill and Ivinghoe Beacon. Hilly TTs like this are particularly demanding, mainly because just when you settle into that somewhere-around-threshold-on-the-limit zone, the gradient sends you into overload and screws the whole thing up.

For Michael Skipsey and Stuart Auger, this was their first open TT and something of a shock to the system: "I'm not used to pushing that hard for extended periods," said Mick afterwards. "On the plus side, I'm sure I can get a lot better at it, not that I'm desperate to have another go at this precise moment. It's just such ****** hard work!"

Luke and Ross, on the other hand, are masters at the Chrono business and, whilst it was a pretty nasty morning for everyone in the cold and wet, they seemed to enjoy the challenge, coming home with 5th and 8th. "It's nice to have an event close to home," said Ross. "And a lot of decent riders came out to test themselves, which added the local derby feel."

Chris Grange stepped up to the challenge and got nicely under the hour, despite not having tribars, which netted TMG the team prize: "Pleased with that," he grinned afterwards. "Makes it a bit more worthwhile!"

Luke, Ross & Chris - winners of the team prize

 Our thanks go to the organiser Sam Williamson and the team from Hemel Hempstead CC for making such a success of a new [resurrected] event and doing it right on our doorstep. Maybe the weather will be kinder next year...


1. Michael Broadwith  Arctic Tacx 50:03
2. Danny Axford Arctic Tacx 51:23
3. Richard Wood Arbis-Colbert Cycles RT 51:55
4. Douglas Coleman CC Luton 52:07
5. Ross Clarke TMG Horizon CT 52:43
6. Roy Chamberlain Team Corley Cycles 52:45
7. Jack Steven East London Velo 52:50
8. Luke Clarke TMG Horizon CT 53:02
9. Jason Gurney Arbis-Colbert Cycles RT 53:20
10. Tim Davies Icknield RC 54:56
21. Chris Grange TMG Horizon CT 57:48
36. Darren Powell TMG Horizon CT 1:01:37
38. Michael Skipsey TMG Horizon CT 1:01:59
43. Stuart Auger TMG Horizon CT 1:03:45
51. Matt Rushton TMG Horizon CT 1:07:01

Monday, 6 January 2014

Spluttery Start to Winter

We're almost half way through the Imperial Winter Series, and things have not exactly gone swimmingly, although with the amount of water around at the moment, that might be quite an apt word.

Canny Chris Grange, smooth in the bunch; no reintroduction needed

Neil has been joined by Chris, Ian and Mick, so in terms of numbers, we've had a much stronger presence than last year. Sadly, the new format of one peloton, two races seems to have created a touch of added tension, which in turn could have made our riders a bit more cautious.

Chris has managed two races so far. His round one was notable for the way in which, having not raced since summer, he slipped back in to the heart of the bunch seamlessly and coolly made the top 20 in a packed field.
Skippy - committed, determined and only one hungover withdrawal

Mick continued where he left off in the summer, having found form and regular placings at Hillingdon in the Masters Series. Generally always up there and having made it every round so far, he had only one withdrawal which is believed to be hangover - related. Worth noting also that he was coming back from a knee op

Baynesy (far left) our highest placing. Fearless.

Baynesy made his debut at pre-christmas round 4 and proved to be the exception to the 'cautious' approach. A post-race conversation was overheard - Neil explaining how nervous he was getting, especially in the last few laps. Baynesy replied "that's my favourite bit." Probably helps to explain why he took 5th place. Nutter. Although, to be fair, he does seem to have found a clear run down the windy side in this pic.

Wasser. Nice new Bike, Off the Front. Or Back
Neil, thus far, is a bit of a damp squib. Happy to burn a few muscle fibres in a break; not so comfortable in the bunch finale. Especially as he doesn't want to scratch his new bike. He says he hasn't got time to clean it [he has yet to show on a wet day], but we all know he would probably cry if it got dirty. A baptism of dirt required there.

He didn't see the Jan 4th race either. A serious crash on the 4th lap meant the race had to be cancelled. It generally takes a lot for a cancellation, but when an Air Ambulance has to land on the track, well...

A note of thanks to the Organisers at who turn out for 11 events over the winter in some of the worst weather of the year. They deserve better competitors and fewer crashes!

So we'll go for the 'game of two halves' theory. Put the Air Ambulance from last week out of mind, hope the weather improves and reboot for the Winter Series Part 2. To be continued.